JewishStudents.Ca

We, the undersigned, are Jewish college, undergraduate, and post-graduate students at academic institutions from across Canada who have seen an alarming spike in antisemitic sentiment and discrimination on our campuses.

In order to help administrators better identify and meaningfully combat this trend, we are calling on our universities to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.

In our view, adopting the IHRA definition is the most effective way to combat antisemitism as it exists today. It has already been adopted by the federal government, the Province of Ontario, the University of Manitoba and University of Western Ontario student unions, the Global Imams Council, and other bodies. Zach Banner, the Pittsburgh Steelers star-turned-activist, is campaigning the NFL to adopt the definition. Facebook is considering endorsing it to better combat hate speech on its platform.

So, what is IHRA?

IHRA is an intergovernmental organization founded by former Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson that boasts 34 member countries, including Canada. Its mandate was to craft a definition of antisemitism that was robust and applicable worldwide, centred on these 15 words: Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews.

IHRA supplements this with eleven working examples of what constitutes antisemitism in-action, such as “Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing” or “Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.”

These examples take into account that, as the world’s oldest form of hatred, there are mutations of antisemitism that exist on both sides of the spectrum.

As students involved in the Jewish community on campus, we can corroborate that antisemitism has found an all-too comfortable home at Canadian universities. Using the IHRA definition would help administrators establish when more insidious forms of antisemitism are taking place.

For instance, earlier this year a student group at Queen’s University launched a fundraising campaign in support of an organization with terrorist ties and called for the release of Ahmad Sa’adat, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a designated terror entity in Canada. The PFLP has staged several terror attacks on Jewish places of worship, including a 2014 synagogue massacre that left six dead, including one Canadian.

When Jewish students said the campaign created an unsafe environment, particularly for victims of terrorism on campus, the group claimed their charges of terrorism were rooted in racism and Islamophobia.

At the University of Toronto, its Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) club has invited individuals aligned with the PFLP on several occasions. Last year it was Yafa Jarrar, a known PFLP apologist, and before that it was Issam Al-Yamani, a self-admitted former member and noted security threat by the Canadian government. After pressure from several human rights organizations, the event with Al-Yamani was moved off-campus.

The instances described above led to the targeting and harassment of Jewish students. That is, by definition, antisemitism. Scores of Jewish students at York University have complained that the infamous mural of an individual ready to throw rocks at a Jewish “settler” (a real scenario that has often led to death or serious injury) makes them feel unwelcome. In Montreal, the McGill Daily maintains an editorial policy that results in the ostracism of most of the school’s Jewish population. How are those not antisemitism?

In our view, the culprits who deny Jewish voices on campus continue to get away with it because their antisemitism isn’t being defined as such. Adopting the IHRA definition would provide administrators with guidelines to ensure students are protected in conjunction with formalized anti- hate university policies, as well as provincial and federal law.

There is a movement taking place where students are standing up and owning our identity as Jews. At universities such as Windsor, we have been vocal about adopting IHRA to better protect ourselves from discrimination. However, rather than listening to our concerns, Windsor professors with a clear political bias are actively fighting to undermine our attempts.

As students, we are pleased that the IHRA definition continues to get increased attention in public discourse, as we clearly see it serving as a vital educational tool.

All-too common incidents like swastikas and ‘Heil Hitler’ Zoom bombings, while horrendous, are easy to denounce as antisemitic. But the face of antisemitism has morphed in the 21st century, and our response must pivot commensurately. Advocating for the destruction of the Jewish homeland has been given a pass as political speech. The IHRA definition helps identify the antisemitism that is at the very core of such ideas.

We, as students, recognize that it is instrumental for universities to put a stop to the pervasive antisemitism on campus. We are firmly convinced that adopting the IHRA definition of antisemitism will be a very important first step.

Signed,

Eric Addleman, Simon Fraser University (alumni)
Jeremy Addleman, University of Victoria
Aron Amaev, Trent University
Josh Arbess, McMaster University
Daniella Aschaiek, York University
Jake Assouline, Concordia University
Emma Atlas, Queen’s University
Taryn Atlin, Ryerson University (alumni)
Maya Avnj, Carleton University
Joshua Aziza, University of Windsor Faculty of Law
Orly Aziza, York University
Daniel Baum, Queen’s University (alumni)
Diane Bederman, York University (alumni)
Sandrine Bendavid, Seneca College
Chaiel Benlolo, Wilfrid Laurier University
Matthew Benzrihem, Concordia University
Quinn Bernholtz, Brock University
Ken Bernknopf, York University (alumni)
Nelson Bernstein, University of New Brunswick Faculty of Law
David Besprozvanny, Wilfrid Laurier University
Michael Birman, University of Toronto (alumni)
Gideon Blinick, University of Toronto
Yan Bouzaglou, Université de Montreal, Faculté de Droit
Jamie Braudy, Wilfrid Laurier University
Hanita Braun, University of Toronto (alumni)
Ben Buckler, University of Toronto
Hannah Casseres, Simon Fraser University
Sophia Cherniak, University of Guelph
Alexa Cohen, University of Windsor Faculty of Law
Daniel Cohen, University of Windsor Faculty of Law
Emma Cohen, University of Toronto
Robbie Cohen, University of Windsor Faculty of Law
Shoshana Rosa Cohen, Carleton University
Yuval Cohen, George Brown College
Emma Collie, Queen’s University
Omri Daniel, University of Toronto
Elad Dekel, University of Toronto
Naomi Derfel, Queen’s University
Adam Dobrer, University of British Columbia
Ben Dodek, University of Ottawa
Naena Drazman, University of Toronto
Ron East, University of Winnipeg (alumni)
Ariella Eisenberg, University of Toronto
Elisheva Eisenberg, McGill University
Léa Elkaim, Université de Sherbrooke
Shani Elmakias, George Brown College
Talia Erlich, University of Toronto (alumni)
Amanda Eskenasi Hohmann, York University
Jamie Fabian, Concordia University
Sagiv Fadida, University of British Columbia
Arrin Falk-Dotan, McMaster University
Cammy Felds, Queen’s University
Jordan Frankel, Queen’s University
Beata Fourmanovskis, York University
Sam Friedman, University of Western Ontario
Danielle Fuchs, McGill University
Dr. David Futerman, University of Toronto (alumni)
Natalie Gabay, York University
Deena Gangbar, York University
Tyler Garfinkle, York University
Logan Garnet, Queen’s University
Nadav Gasner, McMaster University
Shoshana Gastfreund-Aziza, University of Toronto & York University (alumni)
Caroline Gelber, Western University (alumni)
Jonathan Glasenberg, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University
Madison Gold, McGill University
Robin Goldberg, University of Windsor Faculty of Law
Rafael Goldchain, University of Toronto (alumni)
Chen Goldenberg, York University
Melila Gordis, Queen’s University
Danielle Gottlieb, McGill University
Marcus Gottlieb, University of British Columbia
Stephen Greenberg, University of Toronto (alumni)
Noah Guttmann, Queen’s University
Anael Hadid, McGill University
Shirley Halperin, McGill University
Zachary Halpern, University of Ottawa
Ethan Halpren, University of Toronto
Griffin Hanratty, York University
Adam Hayat, York University (alumni)
Leeran Hayek, Ryerson University
Ysabella Hazan, University of Ottawa Faculty of Law
Meir Hersson-Edery, University of Montreal Faculty of Law
Lauren Higgins, Trent University
Jordan Hochman, University of Windsor Faculty of Law
Turner Hoffman, University of Western Ontario
Dahlia Horlick, University of Toronto Faculty of Law
Avishai Infeld, McGill University
Mettannah Jacobson, McGill University
Shmuel Juni, University of Toronto
Hannah Kalin, Concordia University
Stuart Kamenetsky, University of Toronto (alumni)
Evan Kanter, University of Toronto
Cory Katzman, Wilfrid Laurier University (alumni)
Zev Kline, University of Western Ontario
Noam Kogan, Ryerson University
Shirel Korobkin, Ryerson University (alumni)
Aliza Kraft, Wilfrid Laurier University
Jamie Kreidstein, McGill University
Ron Krell, University of British Columbia (alumni)
Andrew Kupfer, University of Western Ontario Faculty of Law
Remi Kupfer, University of Windsor Faculty of Law
Dean Lavi, University of Windsor Faculty of Law
Emily Lawrence, McGill University
Philip Lerner, University of Waterloo
Jeremy Levett, McGill University
Danielle Levi, McGill University
Lidor Levi, University of Guelph
Joshua Lewis, University of Western Ontario
Noah Lewis, University of Windsor Faculty of Law
Maxwell Librach, University of Toronto
Maxwell Lightstone, McMaster University
Rachel Litvinenko, University of Western Ontario
Michael Litvak, University of Manitoba
Danielle Love, McMaster University
Marlene Lovinsky, University of Toronto (alumni)
Dora Machtinger, Seneca College (alumni)
Noah Maimon, University of Western Ontario
Cory Maman, Ryerson University (alumni)
Amanda Marciano, Concordia University
Jordana Marciano, Concordia University
Oren Mathews, University of British Columbia
Joshua Matile, Trent University
Gita Margolese, McGill University
Elaine Melamed, Concordia University
Sam Mendelsohn, Carleton University (alumni)
Samuel Mesguich, McGill University
Shira Miller, Wilfrid Laurier University
Jessica Mintz, McGill University
Jesse Muller, University of Ottawa
Gdalit Neuman, York University
Igal Nulman, York University
Eden Ohayon, McGill University
Sarah O’Neill, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University
Bianca Orlan, University of Windsor Faculty of Law
Megan Osler, Queen’s University
Howard Ovens, University of Toronto (alumni)
Tali Oziel, University of Western Ontario
Kass Palter, Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) University
Ella Pekarsky, Ryerson University
Austin Pelizzer, Carleton University
Shloime Perel, McGill University (alumni)
Noa Peretz, Concordia University
Nika Perel, University of British Columbia
Danielle Perlon, University of Toronto
Casey Pechet, University of Victoria (alumni)
Richard Rachlis, University Of Toronto (alumni)
Bryan Reingold, University of Waterloo (alumni)
Jake Reznik, University of British Columbia
Richard Robertson, York University
Noah Robbins, University of Windsor Faculty of Law
Edith Rosemberg, Durham College
Reesa Rosen, Concordia University (alumni)
Gabriela Rosenblum, University of Toronto
Yardena Rosenblum, University of Toronto
Sydney Rouah, McGill University
David I Roytenberg, Carleton University (alumni) 
Noam Saban, University of Toronto
Tara Sabloff, University of Ottawa
Daniel Safran, Ryerson University
Mark J. Sager MD, University of Ottawa (alumni)
Evan Sankar, York University
Luis Saravia Patron, Concordia University (alumni)
Barry Schafer, York University (alumni)
Aaron Schaffer, McMaster University
Amy Schecter, Dawson College
Pamela Schimmer, McMaster University
Danielle Schwarz, Fanshawe College
Stephen Shalinsky, Concordia University
Russell Shalev, McGill University (alumni)
Neilah Shapiro, Wilfrid Laurier University
Ryan Shapiro, Concordia University
Henriette Sherret, University of Toronto (alumni)
Ellie Sherman, University of British Columbia
Melissa Shiff, McMaster University
Melanie Shimov, University of Toronto
Shira Silver, University of Ottawa
Simi Silver, Centennial College, York University, and University of Toronto (alumni)
Harold B. Smith, University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management (alumni)
Meira Snitman, York University (alumni)
Yael Shteyer, University of Western Ontario
Bernie Shuster, University of Montreal
Ariella Sibony, York University (alumni)
Sabrina Silverstone, Wilfrid Laurier University
Julian Sintim, Concordia University
Randi Skurka, University of T Pharmacy (alumni)
Michael Sobol, York University
Beth Solomons, Ryerson University
Michael Snider, Sheridan College (alumni)
Andria Spindel, University of Calgary & University of British Columbia (alumni)
Janna Sternthal, McGill University
Dr. Howard Stevens, University of Toronto (alumni)
Joshua Switzer, University of Victoria
Walid Tamtam, University of Toronto
Shane Verspaandonk, York University
Ariel Weinstein, York University
Nate Weisbrod, Ryerson University
Irving Weisdorf, University of Toronto (alumni)
Sadie-Rae Werner, University of Windsor Faculty of Law
Sheldon H Wiseberg, Ontario Tech University & York University (alumni)
Kinneret Witty, Ryerson University
Rafi Yablonsky, York University (alumni)
Elior Yona, McGill University (alumni)
Zachary Zarnett-Klein, York University
Noah Zatzman, York University (alumni)
Nan J. Zeifman, York University
Lester Zelberg, University of Western Ontario (alumni)
Karen Zelko, York University
Candi Zell, University of Manitoba (alumni)
Taylor Zieper, York University
Cynthia Zimmerman, University of Toronto (alumni)
Vivienne Ziner, York University & McGill University (alumni)
Eton Ziner-Cohen, University of Toronto
Jon Ziner-Cohen, Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) University
Tiphaera Ziner-Cohen, University of Windsor Faculty of Law

Anthony Levy, University of Western Ontario
Evelyn Eisenberg, University of Toronto (alumni)
Michael Teper, University of Toronto Faculty of Law (alumni)
Lionel Ghan, University of Toronto (alumni)
Etta Kaner, University of Toronto (alumni)
Shelley Ross, York University (alumni)
Jerry Levine, University of Toronto (alumni)
J. Barry Gurdin, University of Toronto & University of Montreal (alumni)
David Katz, Carleton University
Jesse Liss, York University (alumni)
Ruthie Rolbin Arnold, Concordia University (alumni)
Michelle Somin, York University
Gerald Tarder, McGill University (alumni)

TO SIGN THIS OPEN LETTER, CLICK HERE.

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.