(May 26, 2021 / JNS) Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies is calling on University of Toronto president Meric Gertler to launch a “thorough, third-party investigation” into reports by Jewish students in the university’s medical school that they have been facing anti-Semitic harassment and intimidation on campus.
FSWC sent a letter to Gertler on Friday about “allegations of anti-Semitism and extreme anti-Israel rhetoric and propaganda” at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine, which students related as having “created a toxic climate inside the medical school.”
The Jewish group also asked the university president to designate an “appropriate” faculty member at the school to hear student complaints and concerns about anti-Semitism as the investigation is underway, FSWC said in a press release.
On May 17, Jewish students at the Faculty of Medicine published an open letter and petition highlighting a number of anti-Semitic incidents that have taken place at the school, as well as anti-Israel rhetoric expressed by faculty and fellow students.
They also noted that the school’s social justice, anti-oppression and advocacy theme lead, Ritika Goel, is a BDS supporter and has called support for Israel a “barbaric cultural practice.” The students asked the administration to remove Goel from her role and appoint another faculty member to handle anti-Semitism complaints at the school.
In response, members of the medical community, including faculty, penned an open letter calling the allegations “defamatory and libelous.” They also claimed that Israel is guilty of “war crimes,” “violent settler-colonialism” and “forced displacement.”
Jewish students in the medical faculty were again targeted with anti-Semitic intimidation and harassment, both in person and online, after the open letter was published, they told FSWC.
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