The following testimonials reveal the ongoing anti-Semitism that exists today at high schools and at Ontario university campuses.

 

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I had an Iranian professor for French last year at Glendon. He overheard me talking about my conversion to a friend. From the first few days, he questioned why I was converting and why I was pro-Israel. Soon, my classmates who associated with me and I noticed our marks dropping for no reason. He went as far as putting me down in front of the class, and remarking after class, “I know you don’t like me because I’m Iranian and you’re Jewish!” I went as far as reporting him and making a petition signed by most of the class asking for something to be done. The only reason he kept his job was because the Union at York didn’t want to fire him, even though the French department and Glendon wanted to.

~  Female  undergraduate, Glendon College, York University, 2014

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We invited a speaker from Israel and printed posters to announce the event. But the pro-Palestinians covered them up and taped their posters over ours claiming it was an apartheid event. We raised hell and went to the VP of Equity and the President of the Student Union. But our complaints fell on deaf ears. They took zero action. So, we ripped down their posters ourselves.  

 ~ Male undergraduate student going into 4th year, U of T Scarborough, 2015

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I went to Israel on sabbatical a couple of years ago. When I came back, I did not share with my students what I’d learned in my content area as I did not feel comfortable. I am sad about it, and I’m frustrated on a personal level that I held back as this does not help either Jews nor Israel. But I guess that I’m scared in some way that I could be targeted on campus. When I’ve conducted research in other countries, though, I had no qualms about sharing that data with my students. I also never overtly demonstrate a pro-Israel attitude in class.

 ~ Female professor at a University in Ontario, Canada, 2015 

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We hear lots of Jewish and Holocaust jokes at school. One of the worst ones is, “What’s the difference between Jews and pizza? The answer: “Pizza doesn’t scream when you put it in the oven.”  This is an insult to the Jewish people and completely undermines the Holocaust. Telling jokes about genocide has to be stopped.   ~Male, Grade 12 high school student 

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Left-wing and anti-Israel professors treat me differently now that they know I am a Zionist. They act weird toward me and cancel meetings last minute. Students in a history course this past year treated me like I was a pariah. A student called me out when we were discussing the Holocaust, as if I was the go-to person on all Jewish issues. I was angry and disgusted. The teaching assistant didn’t speak up for me; I believe he was scared of student and professor backlash. 

~ Male entering 3rd year on an Ontario Campus, 2015

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In my last year of university, a group of Hillel students created a safe place for students to talk about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and how it played out on campus. Cartoons picturing Palestinians as Holocaust survivors and a mock check point with a fake Israeli soldier were just some of the gross mischaracterizations that Jews encountered on campus and the time had come to talk together and raise a spirit of advocacy for our collective wellbeing. With the support of a Chabad Rabbi and several motivated Jewish students, action was taken to eliminate hate speech and talk out the issues with campus administrators. But our impact reached even further.  By affirming the university as space that promotes safety and respect of all people, I personally worked with a fellow Hillel student to implement a discussion on hate crimes and the treatment of Jewish students during Israeli Apartheid Week. My experience taught me that advocacy must function at multiple levels to promote the health of young Jews on campus. Our people have a key role to play in the public discourse of the university and we can do so when we empower students, academics and Jewish community members to enhance its democratic character. By knowing our rights, raising awareness of illegality and uniting in common cause, we can strengthen the content of our academic institutions and the Jewish People of which each Jew is an integral part.

 ~ Female alumni (2012), University of Waterloo, 2015

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At the beginning of the 2014 school year, our President Franco Vaccarino sent out an email notice condemning what he described as “an incident of hateful and racist graffiti” in one of our residences.  Following is a section of his email: “I am gratified that the residence community responded quickly. The offensive and hurtful message was photographed and then quickly removed, an investigation is underway, an educational session will be held in the affected residence hall, and a social media campaign focusing on respect is being launched.”  I was also glad that our president spoke to Guelph as “a community that respects the rights of all its members.” He encouraged us to speak about the importance of respect in our classes, with colleagues or friends, or to post or tweet a message of support to “ensure that the university’s core beliefs and ideals prevailed over closed-minded acts of intolerance.” I felt safe. I knew I was in good company in residence. I liked how our president handled things. 

~Male undergraduate second year student, Guelph university, 2014

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Frosh week at U of T Mississauga was one of the worst experiences of my life. A week that is supposed to create feelings of excitement and belonging brought on feelings of fear and isolation. U of T put together an assembly, where they attempted to pride themselves on being diverse and accepting; however, they lacked a complete understanding of what it is to be a minority and to be identified as one. The school put on a slideshow that had the names of various religions on it; they asked the students to stand up and cheer for their religion when it appeared on the screen. I was terrified when the word “Judaism” showed up, knowing that I would most likely be the only Jew at the assembly. I became embarrassed when my floor mates looked at me in shock for not being proud of who I was, so I felt forced to standup and present myself. Instantly, I became known as the campus “Jew Girl”; students would walk by me and say “You’re the Jew Girl, right?” I couldn’t have felt more isolated and insulted.

Later on in my first year, a couple of students snuck into the common room on my floor in my residence. We were watching the U.S. presidential elections and one of the boys said, “I hope the Muslim guy wins because he’ll kill all of the Jews!” Instantaneously, a German girl on my floor chirped back, “Don’t talk like that, my friend over there is a Jew (pointing at me) and she’s so nice. If there’s anyone in this world she should hate, it should be me, and she doesn’t.”

I was petrified; I had once again been identified as a minority and now in the presence of blatant anti-Semites. I had never in my life experienced racism and now at U of T, I saw it everywhere I went. The guys proceeded to stand up and walk over to me. Once they were in front of me, they told me they were KKK representatives and that they were going to kill me and I belonged in the gas chambers with my grandparents. A bunch of male students on my floor surrounded the two men and told me to run. Once the school had been alerted of the situation and identified the students that had attacked me, they did nothing. These guys new where I lived and they wanted me dead, and my school (U of T) did nothing. They had convinced me not to call the police and that they would be expelling the attackers, but in the end they didn’t. I saw the men a year later in the campus bookstore, where I had to run and hide behind a bookshelf, so that they wouldn’t see me. U of T did not look out for my wellbeing, and made the Mississauga campus a very scary place for me to be!

~ University of Toronto, Mississauga Campus, female Alumni, incident occurred in 2005 during undergrad

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I was taking a history class at York’s Keele campus.  I had decided to convert to Judaism that year, and made a new Jewish friend in my class. We also met a Palestinian girl in that class. We all started off as friends, but when she found out he was Jewish and that I was pro-Israel, she gave us the cold shoulder. One of our chapters was on how Israel became a nation, and the history behind it. During class debates, she lead the class into heated debates, where it was the class against my friend and I. Facts were ignored, and the TA sat back smiling as we were verbally attacked by everyone.

~ Female undergraduate, York University, Main/Keele campus, 2010

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