Unlearn Antisemitism Online Platform Launches to Address Jew-Hatred at Schools
Education Resource Hub Now Available to Teachers and Parents across Canada
Toronto, ON – January 11, 2023 – Unlearn Antisemitism (Unlearn It) – an online resource hub to learn about, identify, and take action to address antisemitism – is now available to parents and educators across the country.
With antisemitism on the rise in Canada and around the world, there has been a notable increase in antisemitic incidents where children spend their time – in the classroom, on the playground, at the rink, on social media. Many of these incidents impact children in grades 6-8. To support their parents and teachers in addressing this concerning trend, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), in partnership with the Toronto Holocaust Museum and Facing History & Ourselves Canada, created Unlearn It.
“Last school year, there was an alarming number of antisemitic incidents occurring in grades 6-8, including antisemitic graffiti, “Heil Hitler” salutes, the singling out of Jewish students and teachers, and Holocaust distortion,” said Noah Shack, Vice President, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA). “While, in most cases, school boards responded quickly and appropriately, with these incidents happening repeatedly, it became evident that it is not enough to be reactive; we need a change in approach.”
Supported by Ontario’s Ministry of Education, Unlearn It provides short educational videos and discussion guides to frame constructive, courageous conversations – at home or in the classroom – centred on Canadian grade 6-8 students’ real lived experiences with antisemitism and online hate. These tools can be used proactively, or reactively to turn an otherwise ugly incident into a learning opportunity, supporting students and parents in identifying antisemitism, unlearning it, and standing against it in person and online. Unlearn It is available for use by any teacher, school, or school board from coast to coast to coast.
“It is clear from the incidents taking place that students do not necessarily understand the meaning, severity, or harmful nature of their actions,” said Shack. “In an environment where youth are increasingly consuming information online – through social media memes and in chats on online gaming platforms – and with hate groups actively seeking to radicalize and recruit them, there is an urgent need for proactive education on antisemitism and online hate. Unlearn It is breaking new ground in this endeavour.”
“Unlearn It will allow teachers and parents to have meaningful conversations about anti-Jewish racism and the harm it causes both online and in real life. This will help combat the peer-to-peer hatred seen in classrooms and schools. It should also be viewed as a tool to dispel the mass misinformation online and as a means of teaching youth to discern antisemitic, racist, or hate-filled content when they encounter it online.”
Unlearn It is a free, bilingual resource hub for educators, parents, and all who wish to learn more about antisemitism. It is available at unlearnit.ca. For quick access to resources for educators, click here, and for parents, here.
For more information, or to bring it to your classroom, contact [email protected].
- Statistics Canada police-reported hate crime data for 2021 revealed, once again, Jewish Canadians remain the most targeted religious minority for hate crime and second overall.
- There are ten times more hate crimes against Jews reported than any other religious group across the country.
- In Canada, according to Statistics Canada, more than one hate incident targeted Canada’s Jewish community every single day in 2021, on average. That’s more than nine per week or 40 per month.
- Not all hate crimes or incidents of antisemitism are reported or recorded. Not all incidents meet the threshold of a crime, especially in schools, so national hate-crime stats do not accurately reflect total antisemitic incidents.
- Currently, no comprehensive hate incident data for schools is available nationally.
- Antisemitic events are on the rise in schools across Ontario, with over 50 incidents involving antisemitic hate symbols occurring in the Toronto District School Board alone in the 2021-22 school year. Overall, in GTA schools during the last school year, on average, more than two antisemitic incidents per week were reported.
- The development of Unlearn Antisemitism was funded by an Ontario Ministry of Education grant.
About the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is the advocacy agent of Jewish Federations across Canada. CIJA is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve and protect Jewish life in Canada through advocacy and to advance the public policy interests of Canada’s organized Jewish community.
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