Anti-Semitic materials distributed to Toronto school students; school board agrees that they’re anti-Semitic but censures the person who called them out

December 7, 2021 • 10:15 am

Reader Jeff sent me a notice from the National Post‘s “First reading” section whose headline at first didn’t make sense (click on screenshot):

Why would someone who called out “antisemitism” in a school (and whose claims, as you’ll see below, were verified) face any censure! Well, that’s the way it goes in these crazy, woke times. You can correctly point out anti-semitism but still be labeled “Islamophobic” for doing so! That’s what happened to Toronto School Board Trustee Alexandra Lulka Rotman (called “Lulka” below).

Below is the entire short piece from the Post, and there are links so you can check for yourself. I urge you to scan the report itself, though it’s 122 pages long. Emphases is from the paper.

The Toronto District School Board [TDSB] is calling for the censure of a Jewish trustee who pointed out that one of their official manuals appeared to be endorsing Palestinian terrorism . According to a lengthy internal investigation conducted by the board, the manual (circulated to teachers in May ) did indeed contain links which, among other things, referenced suicide bombing as “a legitimate means of resistance” against Israel. Investigators ultimately concluded that the materials called out by trustee Alexandra Lulka “could be reasonably considered to contain antisemitic materials and seen to be contributing to antisemitism.” Nevertheless, they recommended that Lulka be censured anyway because her opposition to the materials could be construed as “discrimination” against Muslims.

Here’s Lulka Rotman’s Twitter statement about the anti-Semitic materials in the “official manual”:

And here are some of the findings in the report:

On or around June 4, 2021, the HRO completed a review of the May Mailouts to determine if the content contravened the TDSB Human Rights Policy. The HRO concluded that the main articles in the May Mailouts did not express hatred or criticism towards Jews as an ethnic group or as a creed or religion. The HRO concluded that stating one’s support of Palestinians does not indicate support for terrorist groups or hate of Jewish peoples nor Agenda Page 23 24 are criticisms of Israeli state policies, government and army de facto antisemitic, though the HRO noted that criticisms can be done in an antisemitic way.

HRO did conclude that certain links were problematic and could be reasonably considered to contain antisemitic materials and seen to be contributing to antisemitism. “In particular, some of these materials dismiss the historical connection of Jewish people to the land; lump all Israelis together; notes that “martyrdom operations (called “suicide bombing” )” are a legitimate means of resistance; and refer to “the “Iron Fist” policy of crushing the bones of Palestinian children’s hands” which feeds into the ‘blood libel’ trope. [Note: according to an article in the Chicago Tribune an “iron fist” policy was enacted by Rabin and “resulted in hundreds of fractured limbs”.

Finally, the HRO confirmed that some of the materials contained in the links support the use of violence and terrorism against Israeli Jews; specifically, including a link to the website of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (a group that is currently on Canada’s Listed Terrorist Entities), documentary and resources about Leila Khaled who was involved in plane hijackings, and an interview with Ghassan Kanafani, who was involved in violent actions against civilians.

Yes, but despite this, Lulka was still censured; click on this article from the Jewish News Syndicate below to see how. Jewish organizations in Canada are appalled at the TDSB’s double standard:

A short excerpt from the article above:

A Toronto District School Board (TDSB) trustee who raised concerns on Twitter last spring about a “manual” sent to teachers that included anti-Semitic messages was recommended for “censure.”

The recommendation was issued on Thursday against trustee Alexandra Lulka by Integrity Commissioner Suzanne Craig, who in her report also found that the materials Lulka complained about did, in fact, contain some anti-Semitic writings and promoted terrorism.

“Censure,” according to trustees, “is the harshest penalty that can be meted out to a trustee.”

According to Craig, Lulka’s online posts “fell within the TDSB definition of being discriminatory and did breach” the district’s code of conduct.

And get this: Lulka was censured because she didn’t “balance” her criticism of the anti-Semitic stuff in the pamphlet with saying positive things about the booklet!:

Craig’s 50-page report was met with incredulity by the local Jewish community.

“It is astonishingly unreasonable to compel a Jewish trustee calling out Jew-hatred to also highlight positive elements in the resources. The recommendation to censure her for not doing so is misguided and must be rejected,” said Noah Shack, vice president at the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. “Punishing trustee Lulka is contrary to the values of an educational institution purporting to engender learning and mutual respect.”

O Canada! Not you, too? No, Canadians cannot BE anti-Semitic!

Photo of Lulka from Facebook:

30 thoughts on “Anti-Semitic materials distributed to Toronto school students; school board agrees that they’re anti-Semitic but censures the person who called them out

  1. This being Canada, I am shocked, shocked that the Toronto School Board does not spell itself
    Tkaronto. Surely it is discriminatory that its material praising suicide bombing of Israelis did not also include a land acknowledgement to the Huron-Wendat First Nations, the Seneca, and most recently, the Mississaugas; and a suggestion that a little suicide bombing in Tkaronto might make reparation for the white settlement of that region.

    1. The Toronto District School Board does stop short of endorsing local suicide bombing — perhaps only because a bomb set off in most of Toronto would kill too many of the wrong sort of people unless you picked your spot very carefully. On the other hand, decaying drosophilist David Suzuki says the (non-suicidal) bombing of pipelines would be a good idea, so we may be heading that way.

      TDSB does certainly acknowledge land, as a form of compelled speech. The Haudenosaunee get a nod, too, which must annoy the (few) surviving Huron-Wendat whom the Haudenosaunee exterminated in the 17th Century near what is now Midland. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which as I type this causes me to wonder what exactly it commemorates. There was a French Roman Catholic mission there, whose priests witnessed the slaughter and some survived to tell the tale, but surely that can’t be it.

      This is the same TDSB that tried to spike the girls’ book club because they featured controversial authors. The update here is that Marie Heinen’s book has been permitted but they are still cogitating about the acceptability of Nadia Murad last I heard. Clearly the TDSB has learned nothing — they are merely backpedaling when a fracas lights up. If either author had been Jewish, or male-presenting, those books would never have seen the light of day and most of the media would not have cared.

      1. David Suzuki wasn’t advocating the bombing of oil pipelines. He was warning that it might happen if things go on without meaningful change.
        Big difference. .

        1. Well, yes, he had to be careful not to cross over into incitement where he could go to jail. But Extinction Rebellion, his audience, ate it up and they were right pissed that he wimped out and apologized. Trump pulled the same ruse on the Sixth of January.

  2. I wish I had the words to express how much faith I have lost in humanity. I don’t know what it would take for me to build back any trust, but I don’t see it happening in my lifetime.

    1. My anonymous friend, this is why misanthropy is a good default condition vis-a-vis humanity at large. Witness Jonathan Swift: “I hate and despise the animal called Mankind, but I like the occasional Tom, Dick, and Harry.”-

  3. The woke Left’s hatred of Israel has grown both more virulent and more conventional in this century.
    Much earlier, the Left in general maintained a favorable attitude toward Israel: witness the USSR’s vote in the United Nations for partition, and Czechoslovakia’s supply of weaponry to the nascent IDF. Leftist hostility toward Israel began to grow after its extraordinary victory in the 6-Day War—which showed that Israel was no longer a little David against an Arab Goliath—and got steadily worse thereafter. This attitude change is conventionally ascribed to Israeli occupation of disputed territories, but I suggest that a different motivation is involved equally if not more.

    The origin of the Left’s current animus against Israel probably relates to the invented offense of “Islamophobia”: Israel commits the ultimate offense of resisting incessant terrorism by avowedly Islamist attackers. and even shooting back. In addition, the very existence and relatively high living standards of Israel, in contrast to the theocratic backwardness of Saudia and (now) Afghanistan, and the savage civil wars of Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, and Libya, constitutes a kind of factual Islamophobia. As we know well, a keystone of the woke mentality is intense hostility toward facts when they depart from doctrine.

  4. From a comment by Lee on a previous post about Krauss on ‘offense’

    They can’t abide questions, because their whole house of cards would collapse were it widely and openly subject to any degree of scrutiny.

    Because Lulka drew attention to an error, even though she was correct, her actions were ‘disloyal’ and so the TDSB *had* to punish her.

  5. Canada has a long, ugly history of anti-Semitism specifically and xenophobia generally. (The MS St. Louis was denied haven here, too: “None is too many” became the title of a 1983 book by Abella and Troper.) In English Canada overt hostility toward Jews became frowned upon in polite society after the Eichmann trial, that is, for all of my “aware” life — I was a schoolchild at the time and it was a topic of conversation at home. But that is only because we don’t have a credible national identity (other than reflexive and cyclical anti-Americanism), which Jews might be accused of threatening.

    Québec, of course, with its long culture of grievance has always found Jews threatening because they are a thorn in the side at first of state Catholicism and later of the French secular dirigiste nationalist project (Jews having some perspective on both concepts themselves…) The Holocaust did not make much impression in Québec because few French Québeckers volunteered to fight and all evaded conscription into overseas service. The “English” war was therefore not “news” in Québec. Many landmarks are named for prominent Catholic clerics whose contribution seems to have been nothing but fomenting official anti-Semitism. That would be one exercise in shaming and de-naming I would like to see, — leave poor General Wolfe and Lord Dorchester alone — but it will never happen in Québec.

    Myself not being Jewish, it was never possible to go far into a political or financial conversation without eventually hearing some slur against Jewish influence on the topic under discussion, usually implied to be bad. White speakers would usually finesse this with some grudging respect for “their” prowess if the speaker detected objection in his audience. Black or Indigenous speakers typically didn’t care who heard them. But now with the great fear of providing the slightest offence to Muslims, anti-Semitism becomes fashionable again for the traditional reasons: that Jews are an obstacle to some greater and more fully articulated anti-meritocratic social project that opinion-makers in Canada seem to have signed on to.

    My prediction is that the best that will come out of this is that the TDSB will deny that their actions were anti-Semitic (just because we say so!) and “prove” it by having their DEI committee resolve that anti-Semitism has no place in a pluralistic society like Canada. (This is the trick the Scarborough Students Union tried until the U of T President lowered the boom on them.) Meanwhile the cabal will go on pandering to radical Islam and critical theorists much as before.

    I realize I’m preaching to the choir here. When the world is going mad around you I think you have to put your thoughts in public in writing just to reassure yourself that you’re not going mad, too. Your opponents won’t listen to you anyway. Someone once said that all those who write letters to the Editor are insane. Maybe it’s therapy.

    1. Blimey! I’m pretty sure you aren’t supposed to remind anyone about the, er, unsusual approach that Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King took to participating in the war in general and to conscription in particular. The only ‘conscription’ for the first half of the war was for home service, and service overseas was voluntary only. After a plebiscite in 1942 asking whether the government ought to be released from its promise to not send conscripted men overseas (83% of English Canada said ‘yes’ but only 27% of French Canada). Following that there was legislation permitting conscripted overseas service (which caused riots in Montreal), but MacKenzie King still did not give the go ahead. Until the fall of 1943 the only active service by Canadians was the defense of Hong Kong and the Dieppe Raid, neither of which was successful. The full story of the ‘Conscription Crisis’ is one that we would rather forget today, with the relatively small numbers of volunteer Canadians fighting abroad suffering up to 50% casualties, no replacements being sent as the so-called ‘zombies’ (conscripts who declined overseas service) refused to go active, and Quebec politicians loudly blaming Jewish Canadians for dragging Quebec into a war that was none of their business. Hardly Canada at her best. The sordid details are in Wikipedia:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conscription_Crisis_of_1944
      In November 1944 it was announced there would be a one time levy of 16000 home-service troops sent abroad, which was followed by mass desertions and a mutiny. Even after VE Day, some units of the Royal Canadian Navy declined to ‘go active’ against Japan. The Bomb save a great deal of embarrassment in Canada, never mind its other pros and cons.
      Please don’t get the wrong idea if all this is news to readers here. Volunteer Canadian troops were highly-respected and effective fighters. 42,000 of them died in Europe. The problem is that only 69 conscripts died fighting in Europe. Bet the TDSB doesn’t teach any of that.

      1. ‘some units of the Royal Canadian Navy declined to ‘go active’ against Japan.’

        The volunteers were promised this when they signed up. Their service was until the end of the war in Europe , a promise made as a result of the Canadian army being kept in Europe long after the end of the first war. A lot of excuses have been made for this but underlying it was Churchills desire to have an army ready to invade Russia.

        and From your Wikipedia article ;
        ‘A future conflict seemed foreshadowed when the crew of the Royal Canadian Navy cruiser HMCS Uganda, operating off the coast of Japan, announced that they had only volunteered to “go active” against Germany and, as they had no desire to “go active” against Japan,’
        The article makes it sound sinister when this was simply the promise the government made to the volunteers.
        There was a lot of distrust of the government and military in the thirties and early forties.

  6. If I can go Goodwin here, I hope the history textbooks in the interest of balance will acknowledge that while Herr Hitler might be implicated in anti-Semitism (might because he did NOT attend the Wannsee Conference) he was a visionary with great plans for German architecture, looked after his dog, was a vegetarian and amateur artist, and married his sweetheart.

    1. Yes, they should also be careful to strike the balance, when discussing any person reliably known to be a mass murderer and rapist, by pointing out that he has the great virtue of not picking his nose (in public at least).

  7. Not a comment on the anti-semitism angle specifically, but on Canada going “woke”:

    I’m in Ontario and have certainly seen the post modern wokism infecting much of my kid’s education.
    Right now my son is studying Poli-Sci, and the class had to write a piece on that infamous “Science Must Fall” video where the woman argues science is riven with colonialism and “western modernity” and must be torn down and “decolonized” by allowing other culture’s take on reality. She gives an example of African belief that black magic can send lightning strikes, says it’s true, complains that western science can’t explain it, and complains that “western science is totalizing” insofar as, for instance, the equations for gravity are supposed to be valid anywhere and for any culture. This amounts to a complaint about the very virtue of science: that it provides reliable knowledge independent of skin color and culture!

    Anyway, the depressing point is that virtually all the responses we’ve seen from the students (other than my son) have been mostly sympathetic to this post-modernist take on science and truth.

    It’s alarming to think what a world might look like if people are actually raised with this incoherent epistemology. How in the world is anyone supposed to settle any question or dispute over facts? When you have put away the tools for conversation, universal reason and persuasion, what’s left to defend your cherished beliefs but violence if necessary? Which is part of why so many woke are considering any insult to their pet beliefs as “violence” to begin with. They haven’t the tools to react otherwise, and are astoundingly short sighted to the road they are paving.

    The complaint about science being unfairly prejudiced in it’s method is dishearteningly common, not only among cultural warriors, woke and post modernists, but among countless groups who believe in unverifiable phenomena:

    “Science hasn’t ratified my belief system, therefore it’s not my beliefs that are the problem, it’s science that I must disparage, and claim that it must be changed to accommodate my beliefs, or supplanted by my own “way of knowing.”

    I’ve come to call this: Sour Grapes Epistemology.

    1. All you can do is keep on keeping your son well-grounded. But you’re right to fear that it eventually comes to violence. The ad baculum fallacy becomes non-fallacious.

    2. “How in the world is anyone supposed to settle any question or dispute over facts?”
      Easy. The most marginalized person’s “facts” win, and anyone who questioned those facts is cancelled.

    3. As always, I advise asking the instructor of the Poli Sci class in question one simple question. Does he or she, when suffering a toothache, consult a dentist or a Mississauga medicine man? The other students in the class might also find the answer to this question illuminating.

      1. Nice thought experiment.

        Problem is in this new environment, even that obvious “gotcha” would be seen as aggressive and likely backfire on a student.

  8. Having read the full report it is notable how the Integrity Commissioner strains very hard to pin something/anything on “the Respondent” (i.e. the Trustee, Alexandra Lulka Rotman, although the report omits the “Rotman”). The misspelling (on page 9 of the report) of the name of the mailing list at the heart of the issue doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. And the “well, of course Canada stands by Israel as they are both colonialist oppressors” tone (I paraphrase, but not by much) of some of the mailing list material (pp. 61-62 of the report) is er… interesting! And I’m doubtless being far too cynical, but the mailing list material ‘s caveat that it included some links that hadn’t been looked at and that external websites are responsible for the material they host seems like a “get out of jail” card for being caught in exactly the circumstances that occurred.

    That all said, it was foolish of the Trustee to tweet about an investigation that had already been initiated. However, the Integrity Commissioner notes, but does not comment on, the 1,000 invalid but identical complaints received as the result of the Facebook group that was orchestrated against the Trustee. Those emails provide much more evidence of a social media pile on than that alleged to have happened in response to the ill-advised tweet.

  9. This just in! The Toronto School Board has passed two additional acts intended to further prevent discrimination by their employees:

    1. Employees using their phones to report a crime in progress are now forbidden from describing the criminal’s skin color. Doing so will result in immediate censure.

    2. Police are forbidden from responding to TSB employee calls, unless the employee provides a glowing description of the criminal’s mother along with their report of the crime in progress.

    All glory to the hypnowoketoad!

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