A Letter of Apology to the Jewish Community from Concordia Student Union was published on line in Facebook, and is the first serious step in acknowledging the problem of Jew hatred and taking a step to address it. CAEF congratulates and thanks the CSU and asks that they now adopt IHRA and press the university to adopt and implement the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition of antisemitism.
Dear Jewish Community,
More than anything else, this is embarrassing for us. It is embarrassing for us because even trying to verbalize our mistakes only serves to highlight how ridiculous they are. An ongoing theme of the CSU is that we try our best to support and give a voice to those who are being discriminated against, but this is something we have neglected to do for the Jewish Community. Today, we strive to acknowledge our mistakes and begin the process of correcting ourselves.
Overall, our mistakes can be described in one word, indifference. Indifference to one of the world’s oldest forms of discrimination. Indifference to the concerns of our Jewish students. Indifference to the struggles they have faced. While a common topic of our meetings has been how the CSU can tackle other forms of discrimination or support certain minority groups, the Jewish Community and Antisemitism are seldom brought up.
This indifference has led to numerous opportunities being missed by the Concordia Student Union to help the Jewish Community and to tackle issues of Antisemitism on our campus head-on. By doing so, the CSU has assisted in fostering a campus culture where Jewish students are afraid to openly identify as Jewish. Instead of choosing to tuck their Star of David necklaces under their shirts out of fear of having insults hurled at them for things they do not control and are not responsible for. Our silence on these issues only benefits the oppressors and sets the belief that these acts are somehow justifiable which encourages the oppressors to continue this behavior. This behavior continues well outside the boundaries of our campus and into a society where they may harm many more individuals.
We do not believe any student should attend the campus in fear due to their religion or ethnicity. The fact that so many do is a tragedy and one which the CSU has a moral obligation in combatting. Therefore, we would like to achieve the following over the next year to ensure that the Jewish community knows the CSU is there to help when acts of Antisemitism occur and that we will give equal attention to this form of discrimination as any other:
The initialization of an Antisemitism training for all incoming CSU Representatives to better understand this often understated form of discrimination within our campus.
As many instances of Antisemitism occur unpredictably on campus, the development of a Bystander Prevention Program (BPP) for the student body allowing them to identify and safely intervene and/or support Jewish Students if they witness an act of Antisemitism.
In tandem with the above, a mandatory training to all CSU Club Executives so that they may be able to identify Antisemitism and host events in which the Jewish Community can feel safe and participate in.
To work with Concordia to quickly remove the Antisemitic graffiti/vandalism which is found around our campus and leads to an unwelcoming atmosphere for Jewish Students on campus.
The inclusion of a Jewish perspective in CSU operations moving forward when dealing with topics of discrimination and an acknowledgment of Antisemitism when combatting different forms of discrimination on campus.
While we stood idly by in the past while acts of Antisemitism occurred, we hope not to repeat those mistakes again and hope the Jewish Community will give us another chance to support them in the future.
The Concordia Student Union