Is there antisemitism in Canada? The truth is, even today, both public and private elementary and high schools across Canada often witness antisemitic attacks, attitudes and behaviours.
The impact of antisemitic incidents can be traumatic, triggering emotions of fear, anger and sadness. These incidents require a range of responses, including special counselling, teacher and administrator training, and relevant programs for students as part of the curriculum. Addressing this highly corrosive phenomenon is critical to creating a tolerant reality for Jewish students and staff.
As a human rights organization deeply involved in combatting antisemitism and other forms of hate, FSWC works closely with Ministries of Education, local school boards and directly with students and teachers who’ve been victims of hate. In helping to tackle antisemitism, we seek to support schools in becoming more inclusive inside and outside the classroom, creating a safer, more respectful learning environment for Jews in Canada and all members of the school community.
Jewish students are not always the ones being targeted for supporting Israel. We often see educators who support the existence of a Jewish state face abuse and antisemitic attacks from colleagues and students advocating on behalf of the BDS movement.
In Canada, at both the high school and university levels, FSWC provides relevant material for educators to better understand the perspective of the Jewish community and offer helpful insight into the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. It’s part of our commitment to creating formalized learning opportunities across the educational sector – for teachers, professors, administrators, equity and security officers and student government leaders – that result in a deeper awareness and understanding of current manifestations of antisemitism and the risk they present. This includes highlighting the overlap between antisemitism and anti-Zionism, showing how often the latter conceals the former.
FSWC has helped expose the work of pro-BDS educators who have spread anti-Israel materials to their fellow teachers under the guise of professional development.
At many universities and colleges in Canada, Jewish, pro-Israel students face antisemitic attacks. This is primarily due to supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement whose divisive anti-Israel programs and activities make many Jewish students feel targeted and unwelcome on campus. BDS supporters often marginalize and delegitimize students who support Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state.
Multiple university administrations have criticized BDS activists for intimidating Jewish students and for making them feel personally attacked for their identity. Supporters of the BDS campaign against Israel often target Jewish students with anti-Zionist rhetoric and claims based on antisemitic falsehoods and conspiracy theories.
FSWC works with students to defend their right to a safe learning environment in keeping with the core values of universities – namely, inclusion, diversity, academic freedom and respect for lawful expression and civil debate of diverse ideas and viewpoints. To that end, we also communicate directly with universities to drive home the importance of protecting Jewish students from abuse and ensuring their rights are respected. We also offer support to those who’ve suffered from the onslaught of antisemitism attacks online and on campus.