On Tuesday, May 15, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs held a seminar for the Jewish community in Toronto on the subject of Anti-Zionism/Antisemitism – its definitions, manifestations, and what can be done to combat it. It was held at Beth Tzedec Congregation under the title, “Anti-Zionism and Antisemitism: The Blurry Red Line?”
Our two experts panelists were Catherine Chatterley, the Founding Director of the Canadian Institute for the Study of Antisemitism (CISA) and Adjunct Professor of History, University of Manitoba; and David Hirsh, Lecturer in Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. The panel was moderated by Father Raymond de Souza of the Archdiocese of Kingston, chaplain at Newman House at Queen’s University, prominent columnist with the National Post, and CIJA board member.
Over 200 individuals attended the evening seminar. Murray Rubin, a community member who attended the event, stated: “The idea that I should listen to a scholar talk about antiSemitism, which I assumed I knew well, seemed redundant. I could not have been more wrong. Jews know the concept, they know the results of its practice, but they know very little about the details of this ‘Lethal Obsession’, to borrow a title from a scholarly book on the subject. Dr. Catherine Chatterley, a non-Jew, a history professor from the University of Manitoba, an acknowledged expert on the subject, has made the study of anti-Semitism a life-long passion, and her lecture on the subject literally blew the minds of all in the audience with details. Chatterley has started a foundation called CISA, the Canadian Institute to study Anti-Semitism, and her long-term plan is to promote a course on anti-Semitism in every Canadian university.” Others attendees noted they were overwhelmingly impressed by the engaging presentation by Professor Hirsch and his unique experiences as a British academic encountering, and confronting, both anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.