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Toronto District School Board turning a blind eye to increasing antisemitism in its own hallways

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Grassroots Jewish activists loudly told the Toronto District School Board that while some words “mean different things to different people”, the recent words chanted by pro-Palestinian students meant one thing: a call to murder all Jews in Israel. (Photo: Supplied)

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The following is a copy of a speech made by Rabbi Corey Margolese at the Stop the Lies Rally held on Sunday November 21, 2021 on Yonge St. in Toronto.

Despite the cold and rainy weather, 60 members of the Jewish community and their allies were present to show their support. The rally was held in support of Jewish students and families who, in light of a response by the Toronto District school Board (TDSB) to a recent protest using phrases calling for the destruction of Israel and its Jewish population, are feeling unwelcome and unsafe in their own schools. The TDSB, in response to the walkout held by some students at Marc Garneau C.I., claimed that “Free Palestine” and “From the River to the Sea,” phrases popularized by supporter of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority and calling for the elimination of Jews in Israel, “mean different things to different people.”

The only correct part of this statement is that to most Jews and Israelis it means a call for our homeland to be destroyed, and for the supporters of Hamas it means a call to destroy the Jewish homeland. 

I’m here today to talk to you about trust. The trust that we place in our educational institutions to positively affect the developing minds of our future leaders; of our hope for brighter days to come. And it is with great sadness that I stand before you and say that trust has been broken!

The TDSB has been turning a blind eye to the increasing antisemitism taking place in its own hallways. Educators who are responsible for providing our children with the skills to recognize truth in rhetoric and in the media are too busy indoctrinating young minds into their hateful diatribes and false narratives about Israel and the Jewish people. These educators – who are in a position of influence over our students -are taking advantage of the impressionable minds of the youth who trust them, to train them to repeat sentiments and phrases calling for violence and attacks under the veil of what they call Human Rights.

Instead of teaching students the curriculum, they are teaching them to hate the Jewish people and the Jewish homeland. 

Just last week (November 12, 2021), there was a protest at Marc Garneau C.I. where teachers in the TDSB influenced and praised students for getting involved in a political protest to “Free Palestine.” How is it that teachers are not allowed to tell students which side they are on in Canadian elections, yet the TDSB and the OCT are ok with teachers duplicitously influencing students on a political situation hallway across the world; to call for the elimination of the Jewish people from our homeland. 

To further add insult to injury, the TDSB does not rebuke these teachers, they do not hold them accountable for the hate that they are spreading, they make excuses for them. They put out a letter stating that “Free Palestine” and “From the River to the Sea” mean different things to different people.

How do you interpret a call to eliminate an entire people from their indigenous lands in any other way? When you hear the chant “Free Palestine,” it makes a nice news byte and is catchy as a headline. It’s something for the uninformed to jump on.

What is missing here is that the chant is not actually “Free Palestine,” but “Free Palestine from Israeli Occupation.” Never mind that this encourages any bandwagoner who wants to appear woke, who does not practice their own due diligence before supporting a cause, to support the occupation lie and call out the Israelis as colonizers.

How exactly can one colonize their own ancestral homeland?

The other phrase that is constantly chanted is an even clearer call for the destruction of the state of Israel and the Jewish Israelis who live there. “From the River to the Sea” which actually includes “Palestine will be free,” is not even disguised as something else. It is a call to wipe out the Jews from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.  

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The leaders of the Palestinian territories are very clear about these mandates. Hamas is a recognized terrorist organization that, from its inception, has sought the destruction of Jews and the Jewish homeland. In the introduction of The Hamas Covenant it states, “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” I ask you how anyone can interpret this as a peaceful call for resolution?

The Palestinian Authority which claims that it is a democratic leadership was voted into power in 2005. Since taking power, the four subsequent elections that were to have taken place were cancelled by the PA leaving them in power for the past 16 years. They continue to attack Israel and Israeli Jews with weapons purchased using funds provided by foreign governments for the purpose of relief for the Palestinian people. Missile attacks on Jewish towns in Israel and tunnels built to allow terrorists to infiltrate Israel, actions which would be considered acts of war by any other country in the world, take priority over aid for their own people.

Refugee status among Palestinian people is perpetuated by Middle Eastern countries who encouraged the Arab peoples to leave Israel in 1948 with the promise of destroying the Jewish state so that they could return. 

Instead of providing their fellow human beings with citizenship and helping them to settle amongst their own populace, they ensure that, save for a small percentage, these immigrants live in abject poverty and are denied equal rights in countries where they have lived for three generations. Denying their own residents suits the narratives that these countries invent vilifying Israel and the Jews. The government of the Palestinian people has done a far greater job of curtailing them than Israel could ever do.

This is made even worse when UN committees, made up primarily of enemy states of Israel, support this carefully constructed narrative. In fact, they have redefined the term refugee to span multiple generations – in order to engender an emotional appeal for claims replete with lies. 

Rav Corey Margolese urged the community to contact “their school Principals, their superintendents, their Directors of Education, and their trustees (to) let the politicians know that this behaviour is unacceptable and that we want action now!” (Photo: Supplied)

To add further insult to injury, a Public Employee union, CUPE, without consultation or consent of its members, held a webinar on Saturday November 20, 2021 in support of the BDS movement. In fact, they are trying to pass an anti-Israel, antisemitic resolution supporting BDS and opposing Israel’s legal rights at their National Convention on November 26, 2021.

BDS is another organization hiding behind  a false claim of seeking Social Justice while attempting to eradicate the Jewish people. Co-founder of the BDS movement, Omar Barghouti, very clearly stated that their purpose is to “oppose a Jewish state.” 

He further stated that “only a sellout Palestinian would accept a Jewish state in Palestine.” As’ad Abukalil, a leading activist of the BDS movement declared that “the real aim of BDS is to bring down the state of Israel.”

How is it, that in a world where so many horrible acts are occurring by governments against their own citizens, we are constantly hearing this false narrative about Israel as colonizers and demands for concessions? How is it that there are those that insist on imposing standards on Israel that they do not on any other nation? How is it that, in this day and age, people allow themselves to be fooled into thinly veiled calls for the destruction of their fellow human beings?

This needs to stop! We are all responsible for providing the next generation with tools of learning devoid of hate, devoid of prejudice, so that they may find their way to a better world. Before we can do so, we must ensure that our institutions of learning return to places where we develop minds, that they not remain the places where antisemitic adults influence their students to act upon the Jewish people in horrible ways.

Where it’s acceptable to profess hatred of Jews. Where the response to attempts to express one’s views are met with violence, lies, or both. Where the institutions fail to hold those guilty of spreading antisemitism accountable for their actions and impose consequences.

We need to take action against the lies, against the hate, against the antisemitism, and we need to ensure that our voices are heard by the institutions perpetuating antisemitism. People need to write to their school Principals, their superintendents, their Directors of Education, and their trustees. They need to let the politicians know that this behaviour is unacceptable and that we want action now! Not in 6, 12, or 24 months. Write to the newspapers, call out the antisemitism on social media, and most importantly, do not stop until you see result

Rav Corey Margolese is the founder of JTeach.ca, a not-for-profit organization that offers training and resources in the dangers of antisemitism, Holocaust education, and in Judaic traditions, culture and religion. He is a public school teacher. Corey is also the Director of Israel and Antisemitism Affairs for NCSY Canada

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Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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