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  • Allied Voices for Israel (AVI)

Guidelines for Educators on Ensuring a Safe Space for Jewish & Allied Students

Monday, Oct. 9, 2023

Dear Educators & School Leadership,

Over the weekend, as Canadian families gathered together in their homes to celebrate Thanksgiving, hundreds of Israeli civilians, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, were massacred in an atrocity many are likening to 9/11. With more than 700 casualties and counting, this terrorist attack actually eclipses 9/11 in its scale and percentage of the population killed.

As Canadian students return to the classroom, it’s vital that Jewish students, already vulnerable, are protected from further hate at school. By way of background, according to police-reported hate-crime data Jewish people remain the single largest victims of hate crimes in Canada despite being the smallest minority in the country. Coupled with the recent breach of data for 23andMe targeting people of Jewish ancestry, the Jewish community in Canada is very much experiencing an elevated risk for attack.

The following guidelines are designed to help teachers and school leadership appropriately tackle what is undoubtedly a very difficult subject.

1. Judaism is a nation, not just a religion. Jewish people are the First Nations of Israel and so all Jewish people are affected by these recents events. It’s appropriate for teachers and counsellors to check in on Jewish students and the community.

2. To decry terrorism is not to decry the Palestinian people. Terrorism is a crime against all humanity and only serves to undermine the Palestinian cause. When school leadership denounces terrorism it is supporting human rights for all.

3. It’s vital that schools are clear that celebrating acts of terrorism, kidnapping and murder is unacceptable. Targeting women and children and making them hostages breaches all international laws and school leadership must be very clear in a zero tolerance policy towards celebrating this most recent occurrence.

4. Special sensitivity must be given to the circulation of footage of kidnappings, hostage torturing and murders. It’s likely that family members of Canada’s Jewish community are affected.

Allied Voices for Israel (AVI) is a national, multi faith organization specializing in combating antisemitism through allyship and community. Our team has a long history of working with middle school, high school and university students to further peaceful coexistence in Israel.

We are available to support your leadership, educators and students in person, remotely and through the development of discussion guides and teaching tools.

About AVI:

Allied Voices for Israel (AVI) unites students of all backgrounds against anti-Jewish hatred. Through allyship programs to Israel, educational workshops, media fellowships, and other intensive programs, AVI is inspiring a new generation of students to change the narrative around Israel.

Because change starts together.

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