Community Intelligence Brief: June 9, 2021

June 9, 2021

Intelligence Brief

First-Ever Virtual Spirit of Hope Celebrates Abraham Accords, Achievements of FSWC

Last night, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) hosted the first-ever virtual Spirit of Hope Benefit, viewed by people across Canada and beyond. It was an incredible evening of celebration, remembrance and hope.

The event featured an immensely engaging and insightful panel discussion on the historic Abraham Accords - featuring representatives from Israel, the U.S. and Bahrain and moderated by the legendary Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes - and a special message from the UAE ambassador to the U.S. Topics discussed included the behind-the-scenes leading up to the signing of the Abraham Accords; benefits and enduring strength of the Abraham Accords; recent developments in the Middle East, including the conflict between Israel and Hamas, and much more.

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FSWC Statement on Islamophobic Attack on Family in London, Ont.

In response to a hate-motivated attack on a Muslim family in London, Ontario - which left four of the family members dead and a child with serious injuries - FSWC issued the following statement:

FSWC is horrified by the news that what was originally reported as a collision in London, Ontario is now being investigated as a devastating hate-motivated attack that brazenly targeted a Muslim family out for a walk. We stand with the Muslim community in mourning this tragic loss and calling for justice for this act of hate.

FSWC President and CEO Michael Levitt added: "This is an absolutely vicious and horrific Islamophobic attack, which has devastated both this family and the Muslim community in London, Ontario and beyond. We stand with the community against this hate, which has no place in our country. Hate against one of us is hate against us all."

Speaker at London Vigil Stokes Division with Speech

Last night, thousands gathered at a vigil in London, Ontario to mourn the loss of the four family members murdered in a horrific Islamophobic attack. Jews across Canada have stood in solidarity with the Muslim community in denouncing the attack and vile hatred, which has no place in our country.

Disturbingly, at the vigil, in front of political and community leaders and thousands of others, final speaker Dr. Munir El-Kassem used his voice to amplify division and bias, claiming, "Whatever is happening in Jerusalem and Gaza is related to whatever happened in London, Ontario."

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FSWC Applauds Quebec's Adoption of IHRA Definition of Antisemitism

FSWC applauds the Government of Quebec for adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism. In the National Assembly this morning, Benoit Charette, Minister Responsible for the Fight Against Racism, denounced growing antisemitism, including the violence and threats the province's Jewish community has faced in recent weeks.

FSWC commends CIJA for its work on this initiative.

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FSWC Calls for Broad Condemnation of Toronto Student Unions Following Outrageous, Antisemitic Statement on Israel

FSWC is calling on students, faculty and alumni from four Toronto universities to speak out loudly in condemnation of a joint statement by local student unions teeming with antisemitic tropes and false, ugly accusations against Israel. A statement sent to students on Friday night by a host of local student unions affiliated with the Canadian Federation of Students falsely accuses Israel of being a “violent Zionist colonial occupation” guilty of “apartheid,” “ethnic cleansing” and "genocide" and calls repeatedly for a “safe return” and a “liberation of Palestine.”

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Jewish Group Criticizes Western University Professor's Tweets

Last week, FSWC sent a complaint to Western’s Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry about Twitter remarks by Dr. Zian Solh, an assistant professor of transfusion medicine. In tweets responding to a news article about a University of Toronto medical school professor accused of antisemitic sentiment, Dr. Solh stated that Jewish Zionist students should be "boycotted and sanctioned."

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UAE Becomes First Arab Gulf Country to Open Holocaust Education Exhibit

In a continuing cultural relationship between Israel and the United Arab Emirates as part of the Abraham Accords, the UAE debuted a Holocaust exhibition featuring artifacts and survivor testimonies, with the aim to teach about the Holocaust and raise awareness about antisemitism.

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Last Soviet Soldier Who Liberated Auschwitz Dies at 98

David Dushman, the last surviving Soviet soldier involved in the liberation of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz, died on Saturday at age 98. After the war, Dushman became a legendary fencing coach and visited schools to tell students about the war and the horrors of the Holocaust.

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Google Diversity Chief Reassigned Over Antisemitic Blog Post

Last week, Google decided to pull its diversity head from his position after a 2008 antisemitic blog post in which he wrote about Jews’ “insatiable appetite for war and killing” came to light and drew widespread condemnation from Jewish groups, including the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

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Report Antisemitism and News of Concern to FSWC

If you would like to report antisemitism or news of concern to Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, please email jaime@fswc.ca.

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