B'nai Brith slams Toronto school board for ignoring Jew-hatred

Jewish community outraged after reinstatement of staffer who posted "virulently anti-Israel" material that justified suicide bombings.

Dan Verbin ,

Classroom (illustration)
Classroom (illustration)
iStock

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is being harshly criticized by Jewish groups for its reinstatement of an equity advisor who distributed anti-Israel material justifying “martyrdom operations” to teachers.

Javier Davila, a student equity program advisor with the board, circulated two emails to a TDSB educator listserv in May, during the fighting between Israel and Hamas.

The emails were described by B’nai Brith Canada as “virulently anti-Israel teaching material, repeatedly describing Israelis as a whole as ‘colonizers’ in their indigenous homeland.”

According to B’nai Brith, Davila announced on Friday morning that he had been reinstated without discipline.

B'nai Brith said that his emails contain writings by Laila Khaled and Ghassan Kanafani, well known members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which is designated as a terrorist group in Canada.

One of the flyers justifies suicide bombings, terming them “martyrdom operations.” It also accuses Zionists of plotting genocide against Palestinian Arabs.

“If the TDSB has really imposed no discipline in this matter, then it is sending a clear signal that it regards Jewish students, Jewish teachers and the Jewish community as second-class constituents,” said B’nai Brith CEO Michael Mostyn. “There is no way the TDSB would tolerate the glorification of violence against any other minority group.

B’nai Brith pointed out that according to TDSB’s own figures, Jews were the most frequently targeted religious group for hate incidents in its schools between 2018 and 2020.

“It is clear that the TDSB has a serious anti-Semitism problem, and it is questionable whether the institution can fix it alone,” Mostyn said.

Lawyer Robert Karrass told the Toronto Sun that the TDSB could be held “liable” for emotional harm to Jewish students, families and teachers if one of their employees is using their job to “promote hatred.”

Karrass said that a disciplinary hearing was an appropriate measure.

He added that circulating material that promotes negative stereotypes of a group is akin to vilifying that group, thereby promoting hate.

In June, B’nai Brith urged Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce to oversea the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance(IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism in the province’s public school boards, and to set aside money to combat Jew-hatred in the public education system.



top