B’nai Brith Canada is reiterating its call for head of the University of Toronto Faculty Association (UTFA) be forced to resign for controversial comments made during a discussion on the non-hiring of an Israel critic for a law school leadership post.
The Jewish advocacy organization is also asking community members to sign a petition urging the association president's removal, and calling for support for Jewish faculty dealing with an environment of “unchecked anti-Semitism on campus.”
“With the support of B’nai Brith Canada and other Jewish organizations and synagogues, we have repeatedly drawn attention to the untold story of the increasingly hostile environment that Jewish students, faculty, and staff face, evermore overtly, at the University of Toronto. Our community town hall event discussing the situation has been viewed by nearly 4000 people,” said B’nai Brith.
The recent forum brought together over 30 Jewish organizations and synagogue with professors, staff and students to “demand actions from the university.”
They noted that the university’s President Meric Gertler admitted in December 2020 that “anti-Semitism is one of the forms of ‘systemic racism’ that the university bears a responsibility to deal with.”
However, “Recently, a letter by David Matas, B’nai Brith’s Senior Legal Counsel, revealed that a series of disturbing and bigoted comments have been made by the president of the UTFA. These comments were patently and quite frighteningly anti-Semitic.”
They continued, “Speaking at an event on June 15, 2021, the UTFA President engaged in familiar, age-old anti-Semitic conspiracy myths and smears – alleging that an ‘entitled powerful Zionist minority’ is engaging in ‘psychological warfare’ on campus. At the same time, she also dismissed the legitimacy of the Jewish community’s concerns about growing hatred towards them – itself an act of erasive anti-Semitism.”
B’nai Brith lamented the fact that “one of the most highly respected universities in the world is being dragged down into the pit of anti-Semitism, this time by the leader of an organization that should be focused on the well-being of all university faculty and librarians.”
They further pointed out that “many of the members of UTFA are the very targets of her anti-Semitic language and actions and are even paying dues to the very organization (UTFA) that is attacking them.”
Adding that “it is unacceptable for the university to allow blatantly hateful, problematic, and anti-inclusive comments to go without consequence,” B’nai Brith called for the president of the UTFA to be asked to resign and for the university to distance itself from her remarks.