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Letter of Concern Regarding UTGSU Antisemitism

November 18, 2019

 

Professor Meric Gertler

President, University of Toronto

27 King’s College Circle

Toronto, ON

M5S 1A1

 

Dear Professor Gertler,

We are writing to you as concerned faculty at the University of Toronto regarding the University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union (UTGSU) refusal to support a drive to make kosher food accessible throughout the University of Toronto.

We are absolutely shocked and appalled that the UTGSU—a union charged with looking after the interests of all students on campus—would reject a campaign by Hillel at the UofT to support making kosher food accessible on campus. Moreover, that the ostensible basis for this rejection is that Hillel is “openly pro-Israel” and that as such, this initiative would be contrary to the “will of the membership.” To be perfectly frank, to suggest that the availability of kosher food on campus has anything whatsoever to do with the State of Israel is a typical antisemitic trope that harks back to the ancient charge of Jewish dual loyalty, while seeking to blame all Jews for Israel’s perceived crimes. This is antisemitism, plain and simple.

Since 2012, when the UTGSU endorsed the antisemitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and committed student funds to this discriminatory campaign through the formation of its BDS Committee—dedicated solely to the delegitimization of the world’s only Jewish State—the situation on campus for Jewish students has continuously worsened, culminating into this most recent episode. In fact, we are aware that separate from this affair, another Jewish graduate student has sought to bring forward a complaint against the BDS committee before the University Complaint and Resolution Council for Student Societies (CRCSS), yet has been stymied at every turn. The very bodies intended to protect UofT students have been weaponized against the Jewish student population, with nary a word or any action of consequence from the university’s administration.

If the University of Toronto is serious about combatting antisemitism on campus, as you yourself committed your office to doing in the pages of the Canadian Jewish News in September of this year, now is the time to make due on that promise. We must take serious, unrelenting, and uncompromising action to combat the world’s oldest hatred being demonstrated at the University of Toronto right now. There can be no delay and no equivocation in that regard.

Therefore, we the undersigned, in cooperation with B’nai Brith Canada, insist that the University of Toronto take the following principled steps on behalf of all Jewish students and staff to make sure that antisemitism on campus is torn out from its root:

 

1. Issue a declaration condemning—as antisemitic and wholly unacceptable—the actions of the UTGSU for suggesting that access to kosher food on campus for Jewish students can be tied to policies of the State of Israel;

 

2. Utilizing any and all administrative powers of the university to investigating the UTGSU to determine what policies and campaigns it utilizes that are informed by antisemitic or otherwise discriminatory worldviews, and taking appropriate measures to halt and prevent such practices, and sanction any individuals responsible;

 

3. Working with Hillel at UofT, B’nai Brith Canada and other Jewish groups to ensure that kosher food is in fact accessible on campus;

 

4. Expediting the CRCSS complaint brought against the UTGSU BDS Committee to ensure that it is heard and decided in a timely manner; and

 

5. Follow the lead of the Canadian government and countries around the world by adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism as a policy guideline for the university’s administration to identify, prevent, and counter antisemitism on campus whenever and wherever it arises.

 

We expect that the university’s leadership will take meaningful action against antisemitism, racism, and discrimination in all of its forms on campus, and stand shoulder to shoulder with Jewish students on campus who are being discriminated against by the very bodies that are meant to look after their interests. We are ready to assist in any capacity possible and look forward to timely action regarding our concerns.

 

Sincerely,

 

H.C. Tenenbaum DDS, Dip. Perio., PhD, FRCD(C)

Dentist-in-Chief, Sinai Health System

Professor of Periodontology

Faculty of Dentistry

Professor, Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology

Faculty of Medicine

University of Toronto 

 

Dr. Carole Gruson

Periodontist

Chair, Advocacy Committee

Past President, Alpha Omega Dental Fraternity, Toronto Chapter

Clinical Instructor, Department of Graduate Periodontics

Faculty of Dentistry

University of Toronto

 

Dr. Michael B. Goldberg MSc, DDS, Dip.Perio

Associate Professor

Faculty of Dentistry 

University of Toronto 

 

Dr. Michael Glogauer

Professor, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto

124 Edward Street, room 463

Toronto, ON M5G 1G6

Head of Dental Oncology

University Health Network - Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

Department of Dental Oncology and Maxillofacial Prosthetics

610 University Avenue - Room 2-933, Toronto, ON M5G 2M9

 

Dr. Gary Newton, MD, FRCPC

President and CEO

Sinai Health System

 

David Backstein

Head, Division of Orthopaedics, Sinai Health System

Associate Professor of Surgery

Granovsky Gluskin Chair, Complex Joint Reconstruction

University of Toronto

 

Dr. S. Hartley Kestenberg

Assistant Professor

University of Toronto,

Faculty of Dentistry

Department of Dental Anaesthesia

 

Professor Stuart B. Kamenetsky, Ph.D.
Undergraduate Director & Faculty Advisor
Department of Psychology
University of Toronto Mississauga

 

Dr. Sergio Grinstein

Cell Biology Program

Hospital for Sick Children and University of Toronto

Professor of Biochemistry

Faculty of Medicine

University of Toronto

Dr. Allan Covens MD, FRCSC

Chair, Gynecologic Oncology

Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology

University of Toronto

 

Dr. Jon Barrett, M.B.Bch., FRCOG, MD, FRCSC

Chief of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Senior Scientist, Sunnybrook Research Institute

Program Research Director of the Women and Babies Program

Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Faculty of Medicine

University of Toronto

 

Dr. Arthur Zaltz BSc.,MD, FRCSC
Obstetrician and Gynecologist-in-Chief

Chief, DAN Women & Babies Program

Associate Professor, University of Toronto

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

 

Dr. Ida Ackerman MD, FRCPC

Associate Professor Emeritus

Clinical Educator, Radiation Oncologist

Department of Radiation Oncology

Faculty of Medicine

University of Toronto

 

Dr. Jeff Zaltzman 

Director Division of Nephrology 

Professor of Medicine

Medical Director Kidney and Metabolism Program

Unity Health Toronto 

St. Michael’s Hospital

University of Toronto

 

Dr. Amira Klip, Ph.D.

Professor of Paediatrics

Faculty of Medicine

University of Toronto

 

Dr. Eileen Rakovitch MD, RCPC

Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, Faculty of Medicine

Staff Radiation Oncologist, Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre

Campbell Chair in Breast Cancer Research

University of Toronto

 

Dr. Ellen Warner, MD, FRCPC, FACP, M.Sc.

Medical Oncologist

Affiliate Scientist

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

 

Dr. Laurence Klotz MD, CM

Chairman, World Urologic Oncology Federation

Professor of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine

University of Toronto

 

Dr. Howard Cohen MD, FRCSC, DABOG

Assistant Professor, Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Faculty of Medicine

University of Toronto

 

Dr. Ezra Hahn, MD, FRCPC
Radiation Oncologist - Clinician Investigator, Radiation Medicine Program

Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network

Assistant Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology

University of Toronto

 

Jeremy Freeman, MD, FRCSC, FACS

Professor of Anatomy

Faculty of Medicine

University of Toronto

 

Joel Raskin MD, FRCPC

Adjunct Staff, Dept of Psychiatry 

University of Toronto

 

Chaim Bell, MD, Ph.D., FRCP(C)

Professor of Medicine and Health Policy Management & Evaluation

Sandra and Lionel Waldman Family Chair in Medicine

University of Toronto

Physician-in-Chief, Sinai Health System

 

JH Lipton PhD MD FRCPC

Professor of Medicine

University of Toronto

 

Ken Croitoru MDCM FRCP(C)
Professor of Medicine and Immunology
Division of Gastroenterology
University of Toronto

 

Mark S Silverberg, MD, PhD, FRCPC

Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto

Division of Gastroenterology,

Mount Sinai Hospital Inflammatory Bowel Disease Centre

 

Izchak Barzilay DDS, Cert. Prostho., MS, FRCD(C)

Associate in Dentistry

Faculty of Dentistry

University of Toronto

 

W.M. Steinberg, MD, FRCSC

Assistant Professor

Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Faculty of Medicine

University of Toronto

 

Dr. Andrew M. Morris
Professor
Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases

Faculty of Medicine

University of Toronto

 

Dr. Daniela Rotin

Professor, Biochemistry Department

University of Toronto

Senior Scientist, Hospital for Sick Children

 

E. Joan O’Callaghan

Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning

Ontario Institute for Studies in Education

University of Toronto

 

Russell Schachar

MD, FRCPC

Senior Scientist, Research Institute

The Hospital for Sick Children

TD Bank Chair in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Staff Psychiatrist

The Hospital for Sick Children

University of Toronto

 

Paul Eisen

Sessional Instructor

Frank G. Sommers, MD, FRCPC, DLFAPA, DFCPA 

Chair, Section of Disaster Psychiatry, Canadian Psychiatric Association 
and Disaster Psychiatry Canada 
Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto 
Immediate Past President 
Ontario District Branch 
American Psychiatric Association 
Recipient, OMA Presidential Award 2019
Recipient, OPA 2017 'Psychiatrist of the Year Award – Honourable Mention' 
Recipient, U of Toronto Psychiatry, Alumni Volunteerism Award 2017 
Honourary and Founding President 
International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War – Canada (Nobel Peace Prize)
Child survivor of the Holocaust

 

Dr. Larry Stanleigh BSc MSc DDS

FAGD FADI FICD FACD FPFA

 

Dr. Sarah Colman, MD, FRCPC

Staff Psychiatrist, Geriatric Psychiatry Division, CAMH

Women’s Leadership Initiative coordinator, CAMH

Associate Program Director, Competency by Design, Postgraduate Psychiatry, University of Toronto

Assistant Professor

University of Toronto

 

Irving E Salit, BSc, MD, FRCPC

Clinician Investigator

Toronto General Hospital Research Institute (TGHRI)

 

Leora Freedman

Associate Professor, Teaching Stream

Coordinator, English Language Learning Program

Faculty of Arts & Science

University of Toronto

 

Amanda Wolfson

HartHouse

University of Toronto

 

Nathan R. Zilbert, MD, MEd, FRCS(C)

Assistant Professor of Surgery

University of Toronto

 

Wallace Rice. DDS

Faculty of Dentistry, Graduate,1960

University of Toronto

 

Wayne S. Wolfstadt, DDS

Faculty of Dentistry, Graduate, 1981

University of Toronto
U of T 1981

 

Melissa Goodman DDS FRCD(C)
Periodontist
Staff periodontist, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Instructor in Dentistry

Faculty of Dentistry
University of Toronto

 

Dr. Raphael (Rafi) Hofstein

President & CEO

Toronto Innovation and Acceleration

Partners  (TIAP)

 

Sharon Perlmutter, BA, DDS

Past President, Alpha Omega Dental Society Toronto

 

Dr. Ken Hershenfield,

Clinical Instructor

Department of Graduate Periodontics

Faculty of Dentistry

University of Toronto

 

Dr. Avi Wurman, D.D.S., FACD.

2014 International President 

Alpha Omega International Dental Fraternity

 

Steven Spitz - Smileboston Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry 

International President 2019

Alpha Omega International Dental Fraternity

 

Jeffrey Fialkov MD, MSc, FRCSC

Head, Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Associate Professor, Department of Surgery and

Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering,

University of Toronto

Associate Scientist, Holland Musculoskeletal Research Program

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

 

Dr. Jerry Teitel

Medical Director, St. Michael’s Hospital Hemophilia Treatment Centre

Professor

University of Toronto

 

Jack M. Colman MD, FRCPC
Professor of Medicine and of Obstetrics & Gynaecology

Division of Cardiology

University of Toronto
Mount Sinai Hospital/SHS and Peter Munk Cardiac Centre/UHN, and
Toronto Congenital Cardiac Centre for Adults

Dr. Stephen Kay

President, Alpha Omega Dental Fraternity, Toronto Alumni Chapter

Instructor in Dentistry

Faculty of Dentistry

University of Toronto

 

Eldad Zacksenhaus, PhD

Professor

Faculty of Medicine

University of Toronto

 

Eleanor N. Fish, PhD

Professor, Dept. of Immunology

Faculty of Medicine

University of Toronto

 

Calvin D. Torneck, Professor Emeritus

Graduate Endodontic Program

Visiting Professor, Postdoctoral Endodontic Program, Nova Southeastern University

Faculty of Dentistry

University of Toronto

 

David N. Segal  BSc (UofT'73), DDS (UofT’77), FRCD(C)

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon

Associate in Dentistry/Clinical Instructor,

Department of Oral Surgery,

Faculty of Dentistry,                                                        

University of Toronto           

Associate Provisional Staff Active/ Clinical Instructor, Mt. Sinai Hospital 

 

Aaron D. Schimmer, MD, PhD, FRCPC

Professor, Departments of Medicine, Medical Biophysics, IMS

Faculty of Medicine

University of Toronto

 

Dr. Laurel Linetsky-Fleisher, BSc, DDS

Treasurer, Toronto Alpha Omega Dental Society, Alumni Chapter 

 

Dr. Tammy Herzog, BA, DDS

Secretary, Toronto Alpha Omega Dental Society, Alumni Chapter 

 

Dr. Iris Kivity-Chandler, DDS, MSc. Cert. Ortho

President-Elect Alpha Omega Dental Fraternity Toronto, Alumni Chapter

 

 

 

CC:      Marshall Schnapp

Chair, University Complaint and Resolution Council for Student Societies

27 King’s College Circle

Toronto, ON

M5S 1A1

 

Professor Sandy Welsh

Vice-Provost, Students, University of Toronto

27 King’s College Circle

Toronto, ON

M5S 1A1

Published :
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