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Feds Must Prevent U of T from Causing a ‘Substantial Harm’ to Canada

August 12, 2021

TORONTO — B’nai Brith has written a letter to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship of Canada and the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, to request that their ministries deny a work permit to Valentina Azarova, should she apply for one to serve as director of the International Human Rights Program (IHRP) at the University of Toronto.

Ms. Azarova was recommended a year ago by a search committee for the position but not hired, because there were qualified Canadians who applied for the position, making her ineligible for a permit, and because she did not meet the advertised requirements. An antisemitic fantasy developed around this refusal to hire which led to a detailed investigation dismissing the fantasy.

Ms. Azarova’s longstanding commitments amount not to impartial academic work but rather to delegitimization of Israel, and to working with a variety of extreme anti-Zionist organizations including Al-Haq, which has ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation for Palestine (PFLP), listed as a terrorist entity in Canada.

Despite the clear conclusion of the Cromwell Report that Ms. Azarova was rejected from the position for a valid reason – because qualified Canadians had applied for the job – many opponents continue to fantasize about reality and charge that the real reason for refusal of the recommendation of the search committee was an antisemitic conspiracy – Jewish power, influence and money.

In his letter to the government, our Senior Legal Counsel David Matas explained to Ministers Mendocino and Qualtrough that the University of Toronto has re-advertised for the director of the IHRP, but by quietly altering the job description it has launched a tainted and distorted search process that is weighted against qualified Canadian candidates.

“The recent Law Faculty announcement states ‘The position remains the same as last year’. Yet, it does not remain the same. Last year a license to practice in Ontario or another jurisdiction was required. This year it is not”, said Matas.

“It has been reported that the U of T Faculty of Law Dean has reached out to Azarova to let her know the application is open, but there is no public indication that the U of T has similarly reached out to Canadians who have previously applied for the position” Matas added.

Making matters worse, the accusers went to the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), and successfully asked them to censure the U of T over the Azarova affair, based on this very same fantasy that the Hon. Thomas Cromwell had conclusively and meticulously rejected. The CAUT censure has artificially restricted the position from Canadian candidates.

“Should Ms. Azarova request a work permit for the position of director of the International Human Rights Program at U of T, the government of Canada should deny that request”, said B’nai Brith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn. “Our federal government simply cannot aid and abet the University of Toronto in a distorted and unfair hiring process that unfairly discriminates against Canadian applicants.”

Speaking at a June 15 panel discussion at York University’s Osgoode Hall, Terezia Zoric, UTFA’s president, similarly claimed that an “entitled powerful Zionist minority” was engaged in “psychological warfare” against critics of the recent Cromwell Report. In her remarks, Zoric simultaneously invoked centuries-old anti-Jewish conspiracy myths while also denying the legitimacy of Jewish people’s concerns of antisemitism.

Mr. Matas concluded his letter by stating, “in our view, hiring Ms. Azarova for the position of director of the International Human Rights Program of the Faculty of Law of the University of Toronto would cause a substantial harm to Canada by causing a substantial harm to the University of Toronto, for the reasons set out in our submission the Cromwell Review cited earlier. In any case, the search process this time round is as tainted as the first, albeit in a different way. If the present search process leads to a request for a work permit for Ms. Azarova, that request should be denied.”

To read the letter in full, CLICK HERE.