Toronto (October 25, 2018) - Following a review, which Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) commended back in March, the University of Winnipeg has confirmed that statements made at an anti-Israel event earlier this year were antisemitic.
The review was launched after concerns were brought to the University’s attention about an event held on campus during Purim to discuss the US Embassy moving to Jerusalem and how it might impact Jews, Christians and Palestinian Arabs in the region.
In a recent report, the University’s Human Rights and Diversity Officer concluded that, under the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism, certain statements made at the event could be considered antisemitic. Last week, the University released a statement regretting the antisemitic statements made and promising to “work with members of the Jewish community and other racialized groups to enhance our campus environment and promote safety and inclusivity.”
“This finding confirms the importance of referring to the IHRA definition when determining what can be considered antisemitic. What might not appear to be antisemitic to some, to others – particularly members of the Jewish community – can be quite hurtful,”said FSWC President and CEO Avi Benlolo. “The University of Winnipeg should be commended for taking the concerns seriously and ensuring a thorough investigation into the statements made at the event took place. All educational institutions must make it a priority to ensure students feel safe, welcome and have their voices equally heard.”
In the report, the Officer provided a list of recommendations to the University, including publicly acknowledging the serious problem of antisemitism, ensuring organizers of events make events inclusive by considering any religious holidays that could prevent attendance, and encouraging events that educate community members about the Holocaust and antisemitic stereotypes.
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