The Anti-Semitism Working Group has been soliciting input from members of the University of Toronto Community. The Working Group has received a wide variety of responses, some advocating for or against various policies the working group might recommend and some describing troubling incidents at the University of Toronto. Many of those incidents are deeply concerning, including ones that revive hateful anti-Semitic tropes that have been prominent in Western culture for centuries or that reference conspiracy theories suggesting that all Jews are accountable for any actual or alleged acts committed by any Jew anywhere. Other instances involve Jewish members of the university community experiencing pressure to take a specific position on actual or alleged acts committed by Jews elsewhere as a condition of full participation in the university’s activities, or put on the spot and told to speak “on behalf of Israel.”
The Working Group is beginning a second round of outreach with an online survey. The purpose of the survey is to obtain more information about incidents, as well as find out whether members of the community are aware of available University supports for dealing with anti-Semitism and other forms of systematic discrimination. All interested members of the University community are encouraged to complete the survey. Members of the Working Group will also be arranging meetings with members of Jewish student groups across the University. Student leaders of University of Toronto groups interested in meeting with the Working Group at are encouraged to write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University of Toronto is committed to providing an academic setting in which all students, faculty, and staff are able to participate fully without fear or harassment. The Anti-Semitism Working Group is part of a broader initiative to address multiple forms of racism and bigotry. None of these has a place at the University of Toronto, and each must be addressed in terms of its distinctive character. Anti-Semitism has been a problem in Western culture for centuries, and contemporary society is not free of its multiple manifestations. The Working Group will be making recommendations in the coming months about ways in which the University can address the distinctive forms of discrimination faced by Jewish members of its community.