A Canadian Jewish advocacy organization expressed outrage after learning of reports that students at two Toronto schools staged Friday walkouts calling for the "destruction of Israel."
The Abraham Global Peace Initiative (AGPI) said that the students carried “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” signs.
"This is not a call for freedom. This is a call for the annihilation of the Jewish State of Israel,” AGPI chairman Avi Abraham Benlolo said.
The organization was also critical of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) for failing to support Jewish students and teachers.
AGPI noted that over the last six months, TDSB has “come under fire for their policy flip-flopping around who is included in their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity policies and practices.”
The board has moved to “decolonize” their curriculum, yet has failed to “protect Jewish students and educators from feeling marginalized,” the organization added.
Neil Orlowsky, AGPI director of education and chair of global education, said that in light of similar events happening at other TDSB schools and at schools in the next door Peel District School Board, he wanted answers from education staff and administrators as to “whether students were being provided the opportunity to critically interrogate this movement and whether they were proving students with the truth about the Middle East conflict.”
“After reviewing various TikTok and Instagram posts that were shared with us, students can be seen sloganeering Hamas echoes of ‘From Rive to Sea’ and followed by ‘Free, Free Palestine,’" he added.
Orlowsky urged educators to “question whether they are providing student with the tools to be critical, interrogative, and informed. We cannot use our classrooms as stages for bias and personal agendas.”
AGPI also called on the TDSB to take immediate action against “divisive and hateful rhetoric” and asked them to “condemn the calls for Israel's annihilation.”