FSWC Seeks Explanation After Anti-Israel Video Included in Ontario High School Curriculum

July 27, 2020

Statement

Toronto (July 27, 2020) - Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) has reached out to the Ontario Minister of Education in search of answers after a staunchly anti-Israel video was found to be part of the curriculum of a Grade 10 online civics course.

Last week, FSWC spoke with a parent whose son was required to watch a short video about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as part of his online summer course taken through the York Region District School Board (YRDSB). According to the video, “The current occupation of the Palestinian land by the Zionists have [sic] violated the human rights of the Palestinians. They have deprived the Palestinians of natural resources, such as water, and taking [sic] the majority of it for themselves. The Zionists that are granted these privileges are backed by the military….This conflict continues to rage on because the Israelis continue to live as occupiers while the Palestinians live under occupation.”

When the parent complained to the YRDSB about the misinformation and bias in the video, it was quickly removed from the course’s online portal. Questions remain, however, about how many students were exposed to the video, whether the video remains in the Ontario curriculum and how such a libelous video ended up in the curriculum in the first place.

After confirming with a YRDSB trustee that the video was indeed part of the official curriculum of the Ministry of Education, FSWC wrote a letter to Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce asking for answers and for confirmation that the video has been removed from the curriculum for all courses offered in the province.

In a letter to Minister Lecce, FSWC’s Director of the Campaign Against Antisemitism Jaime Kirzner-Roberts wrote, “We are absolutely appalled by this biased anti-Israel video, which vilifies the Jewish people of Israel and contains dangerous misinformation. We would like answers about how such a video could have possibly ended up in the provincial curriculum… We ask that you make any changes to the process of curriculum development that are required to ensure that such biased propaganda does not end up being taught in our schools again.”

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