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  • Writer's pictureAvi Abraham Benlolo

TheFridayReport: L'Shanah Tovah

As we head into the New Year, everyone at The Abraham Global Peace Initiative is excited about the year to come. With this in mind, on behalf of our Canadian and international boards, we wish you and your family a happy and healthy New Year – Shanah Tovah!

Its been another busy week as we firmed up our organization’s exciting global launch at the United Nations in early October. Together with Canada’s Permanent Representative to the UN, The Hon. Bob Rae and alongside top Ambassadors and leaders, The Abraham Global Peace Initiative will be holding its launch in the heart of the international community. With this in mind, one of our key objectives is to press the UN community to be fair and balanced – while pushing forward policies that celebrate peace and democracy. The week, in the National Post, I write about the anticipated “storm of anti-Semitism awaits Jewish and pro-Israel students at colleges and universities this fall. With the Jewish New Year now upon us and students moving into their residences this week, we can expect another year of tension, anxiety and bigotry on campuses. While the Abraham Accords defused and undermined campus extremism last spring, the Hamas war against Israel in May provided renewed imagery with which to bash Israel. We saw this play out on city streets around the world over the summer. Now with an in-person return to campus, extremists will bring their propaganda to the lecture halls”. With this in mind, hundreds of people are signing onto AGPI launched a new Campus Declaration Against Antisemitism to reaffirm and reinforce the right of Jewish students (and faculty) to go to school without fear of hate and intolerance. Our declaration calls for universities to to act responsibly in protecting and defending Jewish students from harassment on campus. Please take a moment to sign the declaration here: Despite the fact that Jewish college and university students have a history of rallying behind oppressed groups facing racism and discrimination, the campaign against the Jews manifesting as boycott campaigns and falsehoods like “Israeli Apartheid Week” has been met mostly by silence. Undoubtedly that silence has contributed to the fact that a new Alums for Campus Fairness survey found that nearly 100 per cent of the Jewish American college students polled attested to anti-Semitism and the demonization of Israel on campuses. A whopping 79 per cent of the more than 500 respondents had experienced or heard first-hand about another student making offensive or threatening anti-Semitic comments. Campus anti-Semitism has undoubtedly contributed to the rising tide of such behaviour throughout society. This week, the FBI revealed that Jews are the target of 58 per cent of all religiously motivated hate crimes in the U.S. despite constituting just two per cent of the population. These numbers are consistent with Canadian and international models of hate crime whereby Jewish communities continue to be the most targeted group even while they are relatively few in numbers. In other words, anti-Semitic bigots are nothing more than schoolyard bullies picking on a minority group. It’s time to put an end to the hate and intimidation on university and college campuses that is pouring onto our city streets. With this in mind, this week The Abraham Global Peace Initiative’s Education Advisory Committee also met to begin building a framework of educational programs that can challenge Antisemitism in the classroom and beyond. On September 13th, for example, we are running a workshop on confronting antisemitic language that is being evoked in educational circles. Please take a look at our upcoming workshops and feel free to register - We are continuing to stand up to hate and intolerance every single day by being your voice both here at home and around the world. Canada is a trusted nation when it comes to promoting human rights and standing up against Antisemitism hate and intolerance. In confronting defamation of Israel internationally, fighting transnational antisemitism that manifests locally and promoting the incredible advancements of The Abraham Accords in the Middle East, our voice is standing shoulder to should with you in strengthening our values. This is a race against time as the forces of hate and intolerance are gaining momentum. We need all hands on deck. That’s why we are asking for your generous support and involvement. The warning signs are clear and as we approach Rosh Hashanah, we must stand unified and steadfast in our fight. Thank you for keeping our nation strong and for keeping our Jewish community safe. L’Shanah Tovah! May this New Year be healthy and happy for your and your loved ones. And Shabbat Shalom! -Avi

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