In Open Letter, Jewish University of Toronto Faculty Call Out Colleagues for ‘Falsehoods, Twister Logic, and Antisemitic Rhetoric’

The University of Toronto.

March 3, 2022

Jewish faculty at the University of Toronto are calling out colleagues for the “falsehoods, twisted logic, and antisemitic rhetoric” used to denounce Jan. 26 remarks by Canadian Special Envoy on Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism Irwin Cotler at a virtual event hosted by the Temerty Faculty of Medicine ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day,

An open letter — organized by Doctors Against Racism and Antisemitism (DARA) and addressed to the Dean of the Temerty Faculty of Medicine — is being circulated for signature by Jewish University of Toronto faculty members.

This letter explains:

“Most prominent among the falsehoods are that the event ‘undermined the important work of the University’s own Anti-Semitism Working Group (ASWG),’ whose recommendations prohibited the adoption of any definition of antisemitism. The other Faculty members are being untruthful. The University which accepted the ASWG report has not banned or prohibited the use, teaching, or discussion of the IHRA working definition.   

The other Faculty members’ letter is also full of warped polemics. The most obvious are:

– They denounce Mr. Cotler for using in his analysis the IHRA working definition (which has been adopted by Canada and dozens of countries and which we support as individuals). Mr. Cotler’s talk fell exactly within university policy. Their denunciation is based on a fabrication.

– They portray Mr. Cotler’s defence of Jews as anti-Palestinian racism, thereby perpetuating an antisemitic tradition of accusing Jews who defend themselves as erasing the voices and suppressing the lives of others.

– They represent this Holocaust Remembrance event as “reinforc(ing) anti-Palestinian racism”, thereby trivializing and demeaning the torment and industrialized murder of Jews in the Holocaust.

These Faculty members do not end there. They rely on noteworthy antisemitic imagery and employ well-worn anti-Jewish contrivances. The most prominent are:

– Their reference to “special interest groups” perpetuates the classic depiction of Jews as dominating and controlling.

– The non-Jewish signatories to the letter utilize the moral cover of a number of Jewish signatories to tell Jews what is antisemitic and what is not, thereby stripping Jews of their last line of existential defence.

– They dismiss the grotesque antisemitism at a UN and NGO conference on racism where delegates witnessed the distribution of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” and placards proclaiming, “If only Hitler had won”.

Taken in its entirety, their letter is an example of the very antisemitism that Mr. Cotler dismantled in his presentation. Naturally the other Faculty members don’t like being exposed. That is why they have attacked Mr. Cotler. Sadly, Jews have had to live with this kind of hostility for centuries.

Jewish University of Toronto faculty members are being asked by DARA to sign the letter here.

Category:On Campus