B’nai Brith Canada is calling for the resignation of the president of the University of Toronto Faculty Association (UTFA) over remarks she made at a panel discussion it termed “bigoted, inappropriate, and harmful to the campus’ Jewish community.”
According to B’nai Brith, at a June 15 panel discussion held at York University’s Osgoode Hall in Toronto, UTFA President Terezia Zoric, alleged that an “entitled powerful Zionist minority” was engaged in “psychological warfare” against critics of the Cromwell Report.
The report was an independent review of the university’s search process for the directorship of its law faculty human rights program conducted by retired Supreme Court of Canada Justice Thomas A. Cromwell. The report was conducted after charges were made that a candidate for the position was not hired due to inappropriate outside pressure. Cromwell concluded that the candidate in question was not hired for other reasons.
“In her remarks, Zoric simultaneously invoked centuries-old anti-Jewish conspiracy myths while also denying the legitimacy of Jewish people’s concerns of anti-Semitism,” said B’nai Brith.
In a letter sent to the University of Toronto’s president Meric Gertler and vice president of human resources and equity Kelly Hannah-Moffat, B’nai Brith Canada senior legal counsel David Matas explained why Zoric’s comments were “bigoted, inappropriate, and harmful to the campus’ Jewish community.”
He noted that “just because the word 'Jew' was substituted with the word 'Zionist' in her remarks does not give her license to spew stereotypes and slurs against broad swaths of Jewish Canadians.”
Matas made three recommendations in his letter: Zoric should resign as president of the UTFA, which should accept her resignation; the University of Toronto should publicly state that her views do not represent the views of the university; and that the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) should reconsider its censure of the university over the law school human rights program controversy in light of Zoric’s comments.
“The Jewish community and other Canadians of good conscience have long since seen through the charade that anti-Israel extremists try to pull in claiming that their fanatical demonization of anything to do with Zionism or Israel can never be anti-Semitic in nature,” said B’nai Brith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn in a statement.
“Jewish Canadians – i.e. the people directly affected by anti-Semitism – do not agree with this blatantly silly claim, and to dismiss and deny our collective experience is itself an act of anti-Semitism.”