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‘Antisemitism: Face It, Fight It’

Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, Canada’s Jewish Federations hosting Oct. 16-17 conference in Ottawa that will be the first-ever wide-scale convening of the Jewish community and allies from across Canada to face, fight and push back against antisemitism.

Graffiti claiming that Jews were responsible for the 9/11 attacks on a building in Toronto, Sept. 2021. Source: Screenshot.
Graffiti claiming that Jews were responsible for the 9/11 attacks on a building in Toronto, Sept. 2021. Source: Screenshot.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) and Canada’s Jewish Federations will host Antisemitism: Face It, Fight It on Oct. 16 and 17—the first-ever, wide-scale convening of the Jewish community from across Canada for a conference to face, fight and push back against the single-most important challenge we confront today: antisemitism.

A two-day conference in Ottawa, Antisemitism: Face It, Fight It will present a comprehensive agenda including advocacy training, seminars featuring Canadian and international experts, and face-to-face meetings with decision-makers. The conference will mobilize hundreds of Jewish Canadians and community allies (ethnic and faith partners) to become empowered, educated, and united in the fight against hate and antisemitism.

“Jew-hate cannot be permitted to thrive unchecked in Canada; we cannot afford to be complacent,” said Gail Adelson-Marcovitz, Chair of the National Board of Directors of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. “This will be Canada’s most significant response to antisemitism ever. 

“We are going to provide community members and friends with the skills and tools they need to speak up and push back. We must combine our voices, express solidarity, and stand united against hate and antisemitism.”

The groundbreaking event will gather Jewish community members from all provinces, political party leaders, parliamentarians, public officeholders, political staff, academics, public service professionals, law enforcement representatives, ethnic and faith leaders, advocacy professionals, and more than 100 student leaders from campuses across Canada to explore two content streams centred on antisemitism: how to Face It and how to Fight It.

Sessions will cover how to define and identify antisemitism; global best practices in fighting hate; how other ethnic and faith-based community allies can partner with the Jewish community to combat hate; hate crimes and the law; social media literacy and online hate; how to become an activist; how to advocate and engage elected officials; and how to maintain pride and love for Judaism and Israel in the face of anti-Jewish racism.

Programming highlights include a Parliamentary Gala with key elected officials and decision-makers; meetings on Parliament Hill with MPs and senators; an exclusive live taping of Curse of Politics: The Herle Burly Political Panel; and the highly anticipated release of a first-of-its-kind report on the relationship between hate crimes targeting the Jewish community in Canada and online antisemitism co-published by The Network Contagion Research Institute and CIJA.

Attendees will hear from a roster packed with experts from across the world including Arsen Ostrovsky, CEO, The International Legal Forum; Gil Troy, Author and Scholar; Farah Pandith, Senior Advisor, Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Author, Foreign Policy Strategist, and Former Diplomat; Dr. Ayelet Kuper, Physician and Interdisciplinary Scholar; Stephen Camp, Retired Staff Sergeant, Edmonton Police Service Hate Crime Unit; Shai Deluca, Interior Designer, Media Personality, and Advocate; Jacqueline Edwards, President, Association of Black Law Enforcers (ABLE); Joel Finkelstein, Co-Founder and Director, The Network Contagion Research Institute; Lord John Mann, Independent Adviser on Antisemitism to the UK Government; Kasim Hafeez, Middle East Analyst, Christians United for Israel; and Canadian political party leaders.

Why Now?

Antisemitism is on the rise around the world, and Canada is not immune. Alarmingly, Statistics Canada reported that, while religiously motivated hate crimes in Canada in 2022 declined overall, Jew-hatred was the only religious category that showed an increase in the number of incidents reported. 

Jews in Canada represent only 1% of the population yet are victims of 67% of all religiously motivated hate incidents and 14% of overall reported hate crimes.

• The Jewish community was targeted in 502 reported hate crime incidents — that’s more than one incident of Jew-hatred per day in 2022.
• The Jewish community was the most targeted religious minority, accounting for 67% of religiously motivated hate.
• While religiously motivated hate crimes overall were down 15 percent year over year, hate crime targeting the Jewish community increased 2 percent between 2021 and 2022.
• Anti-Jewish hate crime has increased 52% since 2020.
(Statistics Canada, Police-reported crime statistics in Canada, 2022)

“Antisemitism isn’t just a real and present threat today, it’s a problem growing at a frightening rate,” said CIJA President and CEO, Shimon Koffler Fogel. 

“And here’s why that should concern you: what starts with the Jews never ends with the Jews. Hate breeds more hate. So, we have a big choice to make about antisemitism and hate in Canada – ignore its impact and stay silent or come together to push back against it. We are choosing the latter.

“But Canadian Jews cannot conquer antisemitism on our own. It is the responsibility of each of us to combat hatred and antisemitism. We must all be changemakers, united as allies and partners to fight all hate.

“We’ve all seen enough, we’ve heard enough, and we’ve had enough. Face It, Fight It is a turning point, a catalyst for change in how this new wave of Jew-hatred will be addressed.”

Antisemitism: Face It, Fight It will kick off a comprehensive, national initiative to combat antisemitism in Canada. Following two days of discussion and education, participants will leave with a plan of action to ensure the political sector and the public understand the impacts of Jew-hate.

The conference is open to the public, with tickets available for Monday and Tuesday ($475 + tax), or Tuesday only ($300 + tax).

For more information about Antisemitism: Face It, Fight It, including a comprehensive list of speakers, scheduled programming and to purchase tickets, visit: fightit.ca.

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Additional Background
• Statistics Canada: Police-reported crime statistics in Canada, 2022
• Press Release: In 2022, Jews remain most targeted religious group for hate crime in Canada, second overall
• Press Release: Top Jewish Advocacy Organizations Form J7 Global Task Force to Fight Antisemitism
• Press Release: 2021 – Jews Remain Most Targeted Religious Group for Hate Crime in Canada
• Press Release: 2020 Hate Crime Data Reveals Jews Most Targeted Religious Group
• Not all hate crimes or incidents of antisemitism are reported or recorded. Not all incidents meet the threshold of a crime, especially in schools, so national hate-crime statistics do not accurately reflect the total number of antisemitic incidents.
• CIJA policy asks related to fighting antisemitism:
o Fight online hate and radicalization
o Launch a national social media literacy campaign
o Close the legal gap on hate speech
o Antisemitism and Holocaust education
o Protect the Jewish community
o Launch the Community Security Trust to improve SIP program

About Antisemitism: Face It, Fight It

Antisemitism: Face It, Fight It is a two-day conference in Ottawa on October 16 and 17, 2023, organized by the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) and Canada’s Jewish Federations. It will be the first-ever, wide-scale convening of the Jewish community from across Canada focused on mobilizing Jewish Canadians and community allies — including elected officials and ethnic and faith partners — to unite, empower, and educate the community about how to face, fight, and push back against antisemitism.

Attendees and conference participants include representation from Jewish communities in all provinces; 100+ Jewish student leaders from campus organizations across Canada, including Hillel, Stand with Us, CJPAC Fellows, AVI – Allied Voices for Israel; rabbinical leadership from across Canada, representing various denominations; major community organizations, including all Federations across Canada, Jewish National Fund, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation, Canadian Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Descendants, Honest Reporting Canada, Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee (CJPAC), Communauté Sépharade Unifiée du Québec, Canadian Rabbinic Caucus; and ethnic, faith, and marginalized community-based ally organizations including CARDUS, The Other People, International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, S.U.C.C.E.S.S, Ninandotoo Society, Federations of Black Canadians, Filipino BC, Hindu Federation, Ukrainian Canadian Congress, LGBT Purge Fund, Network of Azerbaijani Canadians, Black History Month Ottawa, Latincouver, Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, Armenian National Committee of Canada, Bahá’í Community of Canada, The Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA), World Sikh Organization, Canadian Council of Churches, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Vancouver Pride, and Pink Flamingo.

Antisemitism: Face It, Fight It is presented by the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and Canada’s Jewish Federations and sponsored by Maspik! | JNF Canada, Fieldgate Families, Azrieli Foundation, The Morris & Rosalind Goodman Family Foundation, and Sylvan Adams. The National Post is the official media partner of Antisemitism: Face It, Fight It.

About the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is the advocacy agent of Jewish Federations across Canada. CIJA is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve and protect Jewish life in Canada through advocacy and to advance the public policy interests of Canada’s organized Jewish community. 

About Canada’s Jewish Federations

Recognized among Canada’s most respected charities, Jewish Federations have been a cornerstone of Jewish life in our country for more than 100 years. Through a collective model that brings together the largest, most diverse cross-section of community members, Federations advance the shared mission of preserving and strengthening the quality of Jewish life in Canada, Israel, and around the world through philanthropic, volunteer, and professional leadership. This work includes caring for the most vulnerable, fostering Jewish identity and education, strengthening connections with Israel and Jews worldwide, and countering antisemitism and hate, while also creating programming and infrastructure that serve the Jewish community and broader society alike. Jewish Federations have been established in every area of Canada home to a large Jewish community, which today includes the Atlantic Jewish Council, Calgary Jewish Federation, Jewish Federation of Edmonton, Hamilton Jewish Federation, London Jewish Federation, Federation CJA (Montreal), Jewish Federation of Ottawa, UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, Jewish Federation Greater Vancouver, Jewish Federation Victoria and Vancouver Island, Windsor Jewish Federation, and Jewish Federation of Winnipeg.

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The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is the advocacy agent of Jewish Federations across Canada. CIJA is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve and protect Jewish life in Canada through advocacy and to advance the public policy interests of Canada’s organized Jewish community. 
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