UPDATE: The Toronto District School Board has now apologized for the “misunderstanding” and reinstated the Jewish History Month banner, following a backlash from students and parents.
B’nai Brith Canada is expressing its outrage after the principal of a Toronto public school removed a banner made by students for Jewish Heritage Month, in a decision upheld by officials at the Toronto District School Board
Principal Reiko Fuentes of Forest Hill Collegiate Institute stated that “although originally approved, the banner was ‘too controversial’ because it resembled the Israeli flag.”
Controversial to whom? Evidently it is Islamic supremacists who are offended by the Israeli flag. They loathe the very existence of the Jewish state, and consider it an affront to the Palestinians. The Palestinian Authority, Hamas and Fatah seek to obliterate Israel. The Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada, Michael Mostyn, is correct in stating that “the TDSB is making a mockery of Jewish Heritage Month.”
The Toronto District School Board’s approach to Islamic Heritage Month, on the other hand, has been quite different. In October 2017, “Islamic Heritage Month at the Toronto District School Board” featured “the screening of The Sultan and the Saint, a movie about the crusades and an unlikely friendship between a Muslim and a Christian.” This movie focused upon what the Crusaders did to Muslims, but says nothing about what Muslims have done to Christians historically, and that many continue to do. We get a picture of “harmony” between Christians and Muslims, but not the inferior status of Christians historically: they were subjugated as dhimmis and had to pay the jizya in humiliation.
The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) also tried to get away unnoticed with issuing a guidebook for “Islamic Heritage Month,” which included a definition of “Islamophobia” as “fear, prejudice, hatred or dislike directed against Islam or Muslims, or towards Islamic politics or culture.” Among other recommendations, the TDSB’s 170-page guidebook provided a “list of announcements it suggests be read before or after the playing of O Canada include the Muslim greeting ‘As-salamu alaykum’ (peace be upon you) and an invitation to visit a local mosque.” The National Council of Canadian Muslims (former CAIR-CAN, designated an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial for connections to Hamas) called on “supporters and fellow Canadians to write to the leadership and trustees of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) to thank them for supporting Islamic Heritage Month and for taking a principled stand against Islamophobia.”
The TDSB eventually pulled the guidebook temporarily, following complaints from B’nai Brith Canada.
“Toronto School Removes Jewish Heritage Month Banner,” by Aidan Fishman, B’nai Brith Canada, May 23, 2018:
TORONTO – B’nai Brith Canada is expressing its outrage after the principal of a Toronto public school removed a banner made by students for Jewish Heritage Month, in a decision upheld by officials at the Toronto District School Board (TDSB).
The banner had hung for a week without incident in the main foyer of Forest Hill Collegiate Institute, a midtown Toronto high school with a large Jewish population, before being removed without notice or consultation on Monday. When questioned by students and parents, Principal Reiko Fuentes told them that, although originally approved, the banner was “too controversial” because it resembled the Israeli flag.
Parents of Jewish students at Forest Hill Collegiate Institute are fuming. Yael Elfassy, the mother of one of the students who made the banner, told B’nai Brith that, “The principal’s decision to remove the banner is totally unacceptable. She has no right to tell Jewish students to remove Israel from their heritage.”
When contacted by B’nai Brith, TDSB officials suggested that the banner be displayed internally at Jewish Heritage Month events organized by students, but stood by Principal Fuentes’ decision to remove the banner from the main foyer.
“The TDSB is making a mockery of Jewish Heritage Month,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “This month is supposed to symbolize the acceptance and inclusion of Jewish students and teachers in Toronto schools, but is now marking the exact opposite.
“The administration at Forest Hill Collegiate Institute must immediately return the Jewish Heritage Month banner to its rightful place, and apologize to the Jewish students who have had their heritage denigrated by their own principal.”