About the Jewish Faculty Network

Below are our principles, adopted August 2021.

1. We are Jewish faculty from universities and colleges across Canada who share a strong commitment to social justice in support of an ethical life, whether defined through religious observance or secular action. Our family and personal histories are profoundly shaped by the Holocaust and other confrontations with antisemitism, just as our histories are touched by the State of Israel and the debates about its actions.

2. Addressing all forms of racism and discrimination, including antisemitism, is imperative at this historical moment. The many antisemitic acts and rising wave of exclusionary ethno-nationalism in recent years is a painful reminder that racisms of all forms continue to flourish around the world, including in North America.

3. We insist on an energetic defense of academic freedom. In the context of Israel/Palestine, academic freedom entails respecting a diversity of Jewish voices as well as the views of Palestinian, Arab and Muslim faculty and students. Given the frequent silencing of their voices, we specifically support and stand in solidarity with our Palestinian, Arab and Muslim colleagues who face distinct forms of discrimination and are subject to racist accusations–including terrorism, antisemitism, or a lack of civility. As members of a people that has experienced discrimination and persecution over many centuries, we oppose the intervention on campuses that level spurious charges of antisemitism from organizations claiming to represent a singular “Jewish community.” Not in our name. 

4. We believe that the entire academic community benefits from, and should support, scholarship and exchange that advances Palestinian human and political rights and informed, critical discussion of the State of Israel. We oppose the suppression of scholarship and discussion on the subject of Palestine and the State of Israel. As Jewish educators, we believe that universities and colleges should be centres of learning about the complex histories of Jewish and Palestinian national movements, cultures, and diasporas. 

5. We recognize that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against the State of Israel is a legitimate, non-violent form of protest. While not all of us endorse the BDS movement, we oppose equating it with antisemitism. We oppose the censoring of solidarity with Palestinian people purportedly in the interest of protecting a single, monolithic Jewish community.

6. Judaism and Jewish culture are practiced by a global, multi-ethnic, and diverse group of peoples. We challenge claims that equate Judaism and Jewishness with loyalty to the State of Israel. This equation erases generations of debate within Jewish communities, Jewish scholarship, and the Zionist movement itself concerning differences in religious and spiritual interpretation and national identities. 

7. We understand all anti-racist struggles as interconnected. We welcome approaches to antisemitism that apprehend it in relation to racisms of all kinds. We support a growing number of organizations and individuals who have opposed the institutional adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, a definition which has been misused to suppress legitimate free speech, criticism of Israeli state actions, and advocacy for Palestinian rights. Disagreements on our campuses about antisemitism and its relationship to criticism of the State of Israel cannot and should not be halted or silenced by definitional fiat. Adopting a flawed framework to confront antisemitism undermines our roles as researchers and educators and is antithetical to the broader pursuit of justice and tolerance at the core of the mission statements of our universities and colleges.