It has been more than two years since the University of Toronto’s president, Meric Gertler, pledged publicly to protect Jewish students from bigotry and harassment. Yet, argue Stuart Kamenetsky and Michael Mostyn, the school has little to show for these promises. They explain:
The University of Toronto was the birthplace of the notorious “Israeli Apartheid Week,” which often ends with calls to dispossess the Jews and destroy the state of Israel. . . . In 2012, its Graduate Student Union (GSU) voted to boycott Israel and, in June 2019, its executive questioned whether GSU would support a student-led drive to provide kosher food on campus since doing so would be “pro-Israel.” (The GSU later apologized).
But it wasn’t only student groups. There was a “Jew count” of Jewish faculty held during a class meeting at the Faculty of Social Work. And then there was the professor who refused to meet a Jewish student based on an absurd allegation that he was an Israeli agent. The list goes on and on.
Finally, in June 2020 the university created a “working group on Anti-Semitism.”
The U of T administration said this group would study anti-Semitism at the university, which we found comparable to the Canadian military investigating its own sexual-misconduct charges. Expert groups that study anti-Semitism such as B’nai Brith were not invited to participate. There were no undergraduate students asked to be in this group, either. The recommendations of the group, when finally released, were weak.
Strangely, the report also recommended the rejection of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Definition of Anti-Semitism, which has been adopted by more than 30 countries and more than 1,000 organizations and universities worldwide, including Canada and Ontario.