RSU Adopts Definition of Anti-Semitism

Anti-Semitic definition at Ryerson University.

Ryerson University’s Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) has officially adopted and printed the Canadian definition of anti-Semitism. The implementation of an anti-Semitism definition at the Toronto university may encourage other schools and universities to follow suit.

Students Supporting Israel at Ryerson University – SSI Ryerson posted a Facebook statement announcing the accomplishment:

After tons of hard work and effort, we are happy to announce that the RSU has officially printed and adopted the official federal definition of antisemitism. Despite the current Ryerson Students’ Union – RSU president, Susanne Nyaga’s attempts to redefine our definition-despite it already being adopted by last year’s RSU, our work has paid off. By acknowledging the true face of antisemitism that targets Jewish students on campus, we can finally challenge antisemitism and hold people accountable. Thank you to all of our community and allies support during this time 💪🏽

The definition is below “Allyship” and above “Anti-Black Racism” in the “Anti Oppression Glossary.” The following is RSU’s definition on anti-Semitism :

Contemporary examples of anti-Semitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:

  • Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.
  • Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective
  • Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews
  • Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).
  • Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of incenting or exaggerating the Holocaust.
  • Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.

Students Supporting Israel at Ryerson University – SSI Ryerson Facebook post about adopting definition on anti-Semitism.

Examples of the ways in which Anti-Semitism manifests itself with regard to the State of Israel taking into account the overall context could include:

  • Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination
  • Applying double standards by requiring of it behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation
  • Using the symbols and images associated with class anti-Semitism (e.g. claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
  • Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the State of Israel.

However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic. Criticism of Israel is not antisemitic, and saying so is wrong. But singling Israel out for selective condemnations and opprobrium—let alone denying its right to exist or seeking its destruction—is discriminatory and hateful, and not saying so is dishonest.

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