Toronto (Dec. 3, 2021) – Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) is shocked by the bizarre and contradictory investigation by the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) Office of the Integrity Commissioner against a Jewish school board trustee for her criticism of anti-Israel and antisemitic materials sent to teachers by a TDSB employee.
Yesterday, the TDSB’s Office of the Integrity Commissioner issued a report of its investigation following two complaints regarding Trustee Alexandra Lulka’s alleged contraventions of the TDSB’s Board Member Code of Conduct. This was prompted by her tweet last spring in which she decried inflammatory and one-sided resource materials about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict distributed by a TDSB employee, which demonized Israel and Jews and, as confirmed by the TDSB Human Rights Office, contained links that “support the use of violence and terrorism against Israeli Jews.” The employee was reinstated to his position following an investigation into the materials.
The report claimed that in criticizing some of the materials, Trustee Lulka failed to acknowledge positive aspects of the content and therefore was deserving of censure. This is an absurd and remarkable conclusion, given that even the Integrity Commissioner acknowledged that some of the materials indeed contributed to antisemitism.
In response to the report’s unjustified conclusions regarding Lulka and the Integrity Commissioner holding her to unreasonable standards, coupled with the spate of recent anti-Jewish incidents involving the school board, FSWC is calling on the TDSB to completely re-evaluate its double-standard approach to dealing with antisemitism. It should apply the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism it adopted in 2018, and address its Human Rights Office’s “limited view of the definition of antisemitism” and “incorrect definition of certain terms in the Jewish narrative, including ‘Zionist’, which is painted incorrectly and pejoratively,” as stated in the Integrity Commissioner’s report.
“This outrageous process against TDSB Trustee Alexandra Lulka is just the latest manifestation of the institutional antisemitism afflicting the TDSB,” says Jaime Kirzner-Roberts, FSWC’s Director of Policy. “Not only is the investigation and its findings unjust, but it’s ridiculous that the person who calls out a transgression is being punished but the person responsible for the transgression was not. It is critical for TDSB to continue to address discrimination in all its forms, but that must include antisemitism, which sadly has not received the same attention as other forms of hate. We call for the development of a comprehensive action plan on antisemitism that will value the voices of Jewish staff, students and families in the TDSB community, action that is long overdue. Our organization and many others in the Jewish community will be there to support this important work.”