Nov. 24, 2021
TORONTO — B’nai Brith Canada is acting on allegations of antisemitic conduct at the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD). B’nai Brith’s Legal Defence Fund has retained skilled lawyers to represent the affected students who believe antisemitic conduct is violating their rights at their university.
The students have filed a formal complaint in response to an administrator’s social-media posts. OCAD’s Dean of Design, Dr. Dori Tunstall, proclaimed in posts last May that Israel is a “settler colonial state” and accused the Jewish State of practicing “Apartheid.” She minimized devastating Hamas terrorism as the work of “Indigenous people with rockets.” Hamas is a recognized terrorist organization by the Canadian Government. Hamas initiated last May’s conflict and launched more than 4,000 rockets into Israel.
False allegations of Apartheid delegitimize and demonize the sole Jewish democracy in the world that far from disenfranchises Arab-Israelis, but rather empowers them through political representation. This points to disturbing indicators of a campus culture not friendly to Jews at best, and likely antisemitic at worst.
Additionally, during the height of Israel’s defensive action against Hamas’ terror last year, OCAD’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Sustainability Initiatives (ODESI) made a bizarre statement accusing Jews of “ethnic cleansing.” Such false claims against Israel are not only untrue, but also propagate an antisemitic blood libel against Jews.
B’nai Brith, through its Legal Defence Fund, endeavours to ensure that the academic rights of Jewish students on campus are upheld. According to the OCAD University Policy, students are entitled to protections from discrimination and retaliation.
The cumulation of incidents has created what B’nai Brith considers to be a toxic educational space for Jewish and Israeli students that must be immediately corrected. Additionally, B’nai Brith expects the OCAD to create thorough training modules to combat antisemitism.
“It is time for firm action,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “The students are seeking reasonable and appropriate remedies.
“OCAD should establish a means of preventing similar incidents through appropriate representation from the Jewish and Israeli communities.
“We are hopeful and we will be relentless to ensure that these students can engage in ordinary academic life without fear of unnecessary and incorrect conduct and social media messages from the OCAD’s offices.”