Campus and Government Diversity Offices Failed Jewish Communities

Recently, Canadian universities and municipal governments have become large stages for the failure of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) branches to protect the most historically persecuted of communities: the Jews. 

Hamas and Palestinian advocates have exposed a concerning flaw within DEI offices. When differing minority perspectives collide, DEI workers struggle to understand the conflict and remain impartial in their mission. Because they are radical activists, not philosophers or jurists, they revert to their inherent ideological stance: fabricate a victim, attack the presumptive victimizers, and claim political victory. 

DEI officers solve plenty of fake problems but are largely paralyzed before the brutal discrimination and intimidation of Jews. And when they do act, they give birth to the disturbing paradox of promoting inequity and division. 

The individuals explicitly mandated to protect vulnerable people, to root out and dismantle discrimination and oppression, have either been complicit in the systematic harassment of Jews or have consciously chosen to ignore abhorrent transgressions such as calls for their extermination. 

Consider the shocking incidents on so many campuses, where Jewish students face intimidation and threats everywhere, including dorms and classrooms. Their plight is often met with silence by those who should have been the first to condemn it. 

In a worrying revelation, Axios reports that a staggering 73% of Jewish Canadian university students admit to feeling threatened. Despite this, diversity and inclusion officers have been noticeably silent, offering little to no reassurance as antisemitism rises significantly and an increasing number of Jew-based attacks occur in Canada. 

Similarly, the response to the October 7 Hamas attacks on Israelis has been one-sided and hypocritical. DEI officers are normally quick to call for safe spaces and decry micro-aggressions but have been mostly silent about open hatred and violence against Jews. Their selective outrage is a dereliction of their duty to protect everyone. Congressional hearings in the United States revealed that Jewish students have also been actively threatened, and feel unsafe on campuses while DEI offices do precious little. 

 UBC, York, Queens, and Concordia universities are already being sued for failing to stem antisemitism on Campus. At York University, the student union has been the greatest source of intimidation for Jewish students.

A recent Heritage Foundation study shows how on some United States campuses, DEI officers may be fueling and abetting perpetrators of anti-Semitic incidents. The reaction to the heinous acts of violence against Israeli women on October 7, including boldface denials of these crimes, underscores a dangerous double standard also found in Canada. At the University of Alberta, the campus executive for an organization dedicated to protecting women against rape signed a letter denying the many rapes on that day. This selective approach to justice, where some victims’ voices are amplified while others are doubted and dismissed, undermines the very concept of equality these officers are supposed to advocate.

On the heels of those American congressional hearings, Montreal Liberal MP Anthony Housefather and 4 other colleagues asked Canadian universities to show how they are protecting Jewish students in response to the “hostile environments.” 

And the transgressors aren’t only in the academy. The situations in Toronto, Calgary, and Moncton city halls during Hanukkah celebrations were equally disheartening. The boycotts, or attempted cancellations, of menorah lightings, under the guise of DEI policies, are a direct attack on Jewish culture and presence in the public square. Jyoti Gondek in Calgary even blamed the supposed crafty Jews for her boycott.  Using the principles of diversity and inclusion to exclude and silence a minority group is not only beyond ironic; it’s a perversion of the values they ostensibly defend and promote.

These and many other incidents, including violent attacks on Jewish schools and Synagogues, reveal a troubling trend: DEI is pervertedly ideological. It is interested in advancing an intellectually facile and popular ideological narrative that promotes its interests instead of defending the dignity of citizens in real distress. 

The ineffectiveness of Diversity and Inclusion offices in combating severe threats, coupled with their obsession with micro-aggressions and pre-digested ideological narratives, showcase the moral turpitude of their activism. This approach has left the Jewish community feeling vulnerable and abandoned.

The failure of DEI officers to act in these situations is not only a failure to protect a vulnerable community; it is an indictment of their roles and the institutions they serve. It’s an indictment of their flimsy ideology. It is an indictment of their existence. 

The exposed discrepancy between DEI actions and the fundamental principles of equality protected by law deserves attention. it’s high time to evaluate DEI paradigms critically. If these structures can’t safeguard the rights and ensure safety for Jewish Canadians, they fail massively to meet their basic obligation. Publicly funded DEI offices must be accountable for their inaction. They must be disbanded.

Marco Navarro-Genie is the founding president of the Haultain Research Institute. With Barry Cooper, he is co-author of Canada’s COVID: The Story of a Pandemic Moral Panic (2023). For more on the Institute’s work, join our Substack here.

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