Antisemitism at the Toronto District School Board has led to a backlash that the Board undoubtedly did not expect. It was high time that the Board faced accountability regarding its use of public funds to promote a pro-Palestinian agenda as part of its “equity” and “diversity” program.
The Board’s actions go back to Operation Guardian of the Walls in May, and climaxed with the targeting of a Jewish school board trustee who was taken to the woodshed by the Board for pointing out a disturbing incident of antisemitism displayed by the TDSB’s equity advisor.
The backlash has been unprecedented, involving virtually every Jewish group and supporter of democracy in the Toronto area, and includes a rare statement by the Toronto Board of Rabbis. It ultimately resulted in a victory, in a groundbreaking, precedent-setting vote put to the TDSB Trustees to strike down an antisemitic motion. The battle was intense, and demonstrated what collective determination for the good could accomplish.
Enter Black Lives Matter, Pro-Palestinian Activist
The complicated series of events that led to the storm began in late September, when author and activist Desmond Cole was hired by the Toronto District School Board to give a talk about anti-black racism. Cole veered off course to lecture teachers and administrators about “Palestine.” He claimed that “those troubled by the phrase ‘Free Palestine’ have a vested interest in the continued oppression of Palestinian people.”
He went on to interrupt and talk over superintendent Lorraine Linton and executive superintendent Shirley Chan, stating:
“If people interpret ‘Free Palestine’ as being violent, it is because they are benefitting from Palestinians being unfree…In the same way if you answer ‘Black Lives Matter’ with ‘All Lives Matter,’ you must have some investment in Black lives being undervalued.”
Cole does not accept the idea that one could advocate for black lives and all lives at the same time. Under Canada’s constitution, of course, all are equal.
Cole should also be questioned about the Islamic State’s genocide against black Christians in Africa, and the countless blacks who are being murdered by blacks in inner cities; this would reveal how much he really cares about black lives. Nor does he address the issue of blacks being held slaves in Mauritania, Sudan and Algeria by Arabs.