CIJA Disappointed by TDSB Failure to Address Antisemitism in Proposed Strategy for Combating Hate and Racism

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|June 11, 2024

Toronto, ON – June 11, 2024 – On June 5, the TDSB Program and School Services Committee met to discuss an update to the TDSB’s Student Learning Strategy for Combatting Hate and Racism and the inclusion of an “anti-Palestinian racism” definition. The discussion ended without conclusion or the opportunity for the organized Jewish community to bring delegates to speak. Although a follow-up meeting is scheduled, Trustees have determined that delegates from the organized Jewish community will not be able to respond.

In response, Jess Burke, Director, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Training, Liaison to 2SLGBTQIA+ Partnerships, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, issued the following statement: 

"The proposed Toronto District School Board (TDSB) strategy for combating hate and racism fails to address antisemitism in the TSDB system, amidst an alarming increase in anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli hate both within the school board and the City of Toronto. While the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism has been adopted by the TDSB, the school board has failed to align IHRA with its equity policy.

"With respect to the adoption of the term "anti-Palestinian racism," any definition that seeks to dispute the identity of Jews and Israeli-Canadians as another minority group undermines any attempt to create a safe and inclusive environment for all. The TDSB is effectively policing the identity of Jewish and Israeli students, educators, and staff in non-equitable ways. Trustees must vote against the proposed strategy and seek to adopt a more inclusive approach for all identities within the TSDB.   

"On June 5, TDSB Trustees met toreview and vote on the proposed Strategy for Combatting Hate and Racism for the 2024-25 academic year. Community members who participated as delegates included a line-up of well-appointed, tokenized Jews who were mobilized in a concerted effort to speak over mainstream Jewish community voices, and who used this opportunity to repeat disinformation and promote a definition of anti-Palestinian racism that is harmful, seeks to redefine a consensus definition of antisemitism, and borders on unconstitutional.   

"For this reason, it is critical that future hearings on the proposed strategy include delegates who represent mainstream Jewish community voices. With a follow-up meeting now scheduled for Tuesday, June 18, we would request that the organized Jewish community, which was not given the same opportunity to address the committee as other groups, be granted a forum to share our perspectives with Trustees."  


Additional Background 

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Le Centre consultatif des relations juives et israéliennes (CIJA) est l'agence de représentation de Fédérations juives du Canada - UIA, représentant les fédérations juives à travers le Canada. En cliquant sur  «  Sign up , »  vous acceptez de recevoir des mises à jour périodiques de CIJA. Vous pouvez vous désabonner à tout moment.
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The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs is the advocacy agent of Jewish Federations of Canada-UIA, representing Jewish Federations across Canada.