UNLEARN ANTISEMITISM online launches across Canada to address antisemitism at schools

(Toronto, ON – January 11, 2023) – Unlearn Antisemitism (Unlearn It) – an online resource hub to learn about, identify, and take action to address antisemitism – is now available to parents and educators across the country.

With antisemitism on the rise in Canada and around the world, there has been a notable increase in antisemitic incidents where children spend their time – in the classroom, on the playground, at the rink, on social media. Many of these incidents impact children in grades 6-8. To support their parents and teachers in addressing this concerning trend, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), in partnership with the Toronto Holocaust Museum and Facing History & Ourselves Canada, created Unlearn It.

“Last school year, there was an alarming number of antisemitic incidents occurring in grades 6-8, including antisemitic graffiti, “Heil Hitler” salutes, the singling out of Jewish students and teachers, and Holocaust distortion,” said Noah Shack, Vice President, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA). “While, in most cases, school boards responded quickly and appropriately, with these incidents happening repeatedly, it became evident that it is not enough to be reactive; we need a change in approach.”

Supported by Ontario’s Ministry of Education, Unlearn It provides short educational videos and discussion guides to frame constructive, courageous conversations – at home or in the classroom – centred on Canadian grade 6-8 students’ real lived experiences with antisemitism and online hate. These tools can be used proactively, or reactively to turn an otherwise ugly incident into a learning opportunity, supporting students and parents in identifying antisemitism, unlearning it, and standing against it in person and online. Unlearn It is available for use by any teacher, school, or school board from coast to coast to coast.

“It is clear from the incidents taking place that students do not necessarily understand the meaning, severity, or harmful nature of their actions,” said Shack. “In an environment where youth are increasingly consuming information online – through social media memes and in chats on online gaming platforms – and with hate groups actively seeking to radicalize and recruit them, there is an urgent need for proactive education on antisemitism and online hate. Unlearn It is breaking new ground in this endeavour.”

Unlearn It will allow teachers and parents to have meaningful conversations about anti-Jewish racism and the harm it causes both online and in real life. This will help combat the peer-to-peer hatred seen in classrooms and schools. It should also be viewed as a tool to dispel the mass misinformation online and as a means of teaching youth to discern antisemitic, racist, or hate-filled content when they encounter it online.”

Unlearn It is a free, bilingual resource hub for educators, parents, and all who wish to learn more about antisemitism. It is available at unlearnit.ca. For quick access to resources for educators, click here, and for parents, here.

For more information, or to bring it to your classroom, contact info@cija.ca.

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