An open letter to the Peel Catholic School Board from Jewish Canadians in support of Nadia Shoufani

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We, the undersigned, Jewish Canadians, are writing in support of Nadia Shoufani, a teacher in the Peel Catholic School Board who has recently been suspended pending an investigation by the Ontario College of Teachers. 

Ms. Shoufani's suspension was instigated by complaints from the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), B'nai Brith, and Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center regarding Ms. Shoufani's active voice in support of Palestinian rights.

It is dangerous for political criticism to be equated with hate speech. Many of us, as Jews, are critical of Israel; some are not. All of us cherish the freedom we have to express ourselves. Ms. Shoufani's personal and political expressions of solidarity with Palestine, the public forums in which they have been expressed, and the continued public discourses on these issues, are all legitimate and necessary in a healthy democracy.

Freedom of speech is fundamental to civil society and to healthy democratic exchanges. Most recently the dictatorial attacks on the freedom of speech of academics, judges, journalists and activists in Turkey have deeply disturbed us. We are concerned that Canada is starting on this very same road, at least in relation to those in solidarity with Palestinian rights. If we do not protect our basic rights, especially the right to speak about an unpopular subject, our very democracy is at risk.

Does Ms. Shoufani not have the right to express herself in public? That the school board would respond to partisan pressures on a particular controversial issue by suspending her and subjecting her to investigation is completely unacceptable.


Judy Rebick, Writer, Toronto

Kathy Wazana, Filmmaker, Toronto

b.h. Yael, Filmmaker/Professor, OCAD University, Toronto

Richard Wazana, Lawyer, Toronto

Rachel Zolf, Writer, Philadelphia ex-Toronto

Dorit Naaman, Alliance Atlantis Professor of Film and Media, Queen’s University

Lucia Pizarro, Rabbinical Student, Hamilton

Dr. Miriam Garfinkle, retired physician, Toronto

Helga Mankovitz, Retired Computer Programmer, Kingston

Alisa Gayle-Deutsch, Musician, Toronto

Susan Reisler, Public Relations Consultant, Toronto

Sharry Aiken, Faculty of Law, Queen's University, Kingston

Sue Goldstein, Artist and Writer, Toronto

Martin Lukacs, Writer, Montreal

Anita Block, Social Worker, Toronto

Lauren Satok, Visual Artist, Toronto

Jason Kunin, Teacher, TDSB, Toronto

Amit Breuer, Producer, Toronto 

Dr. Anna Zalik, Professor, York University, Toronto

Ben Saifer, Teacher, Toronto

Diana Ralph, MSW, Ph.D, Associate Professor (retired), Carleton University

Gary Shaul, Toronto

Sid Frankel, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Faculty of Social Work, University of Manitoba

Sheila Delany, Emerita, SFU, Vancouver

David Copelin, Playwright, Grants Pass, Oregon ex-Toronto

Judy Goldschmidt, Retired, Courtenay, BC

Marty Roth, Emeritus Professor of English, University of Minnesota, Vancouver

Alan Rutkowski, Retired, Victoria, BC

Sam Blatt, P. Eng, Toronto

Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta, Author, Medical Clerical Worker, Burnaby, BC

Natalie Zemon Davis, Historian, Professor, Toronto

Adam Saifer, Student (PhD Candidate), Kingston

​Debbie Ryce, Customer Service Rep, Vancouver

Herb Gamberg, Retired, Halifax

Alvin Rebick - Non-profit Senior Manager, FoodShare, Toronto

Martha Roth, Writer/Editor, Vancouver

David Weller, Retired teacher, Winnipeg

Stephen Aberle, Actor, Vancouver, BC

Dr. Ellen Levine, child psychotherapist and expressive arts therapist, Toronto

Zach Ruiter, journalist, Toronto

Deborah Yaffe, Retired Professor, Victoria, BC

Stephen K. Levine, Professor Emeritus, York University, Toronto

Sandra Ruch, Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, Toronto

Marina Kun, Manufacturer, Ottawa

Alan Sears, Professor, Sociology, Ryerson University, Toronto

Sandra Bender, Retired Teacher, Ottawa

Richard Deaton, Ph.D., LL.B., Stanley Bridge, PEI

Prof. Adrian Fine MD, Victoria, B.C.

Dr. Edwin E. Daniel, Victoria, B.C.

Reuben Roth, Ph.D., Laurentian University, Sudbury

Marion Pollack, Vancouver, B.C.

Alexis Mitchell, Artist, Toronto

Freda Knott, Retired Teacher, Victoria, BC

Cheryl Gaster, Human Rights Lawyer, Mediator & Trainer, Toronto

Orev Reena Katz, Artist, Toronto

Don Schmidt, Teacher, Toronto Catholic District School Board

Jake Javanshir, Home Inspector, North York, Ontario

Greta Jones, Retired, Victoria, B.C.

Greg Starr, College Instructor, Port Moody, BC

Ben Sichel, Public school teacher, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Suzanne Weiss, Holocaust survivor, Toronto

Eleanor Grant, Retired, Waterloo, Ont.

Yom Shamash, BCTF retired teacher, Vancouver

Gordon Doctorow, M.Math, Ed.D., Adjunct Faculty, Nova Southeastern University

Andrew Lugg, Professor Emeritus, University of Ottawa

John Macdonald, Ottawa

Ken Battah, Retired, Joliette, Québec

Amy Gottlieb, Teacher TDSB, Toronto

Deborah Heller, Assoc. Prof. Humanities Emerita, York University, Toronto

Ruth Gamberg, Retired Professor, Halifax, NS

Susan Bender, Toronto, Canada

Naomi Binder Wall, Teacher, Toronto

Robin Pacific, Visual Artist, Toronto

Richard Marcuse, Social Anthropologist/Arts Consultant, Vancouver, BC

David Mandelzys, Teacher, Toronto

David Rapaport, retired, Toronto

Elle Flanders, PhD Artist/Adjunct Faculty, Ryerson University, Toronto

Rima Berns-McGown, Lecturer, University of Toronto at Mississauga, Toronto

Larry Wartels, Urban Planner, Victoria BC

Cathy Gulkin, Filmmaker, Toronto

Vera Frenkel, Artist, Toronto

Nina Levitt, Associate Professor, York University

Jody Berland, Professor, York University,Toronto

Noam Gonick, Filmmaker/Artist/Director, Toronto

Max Silverman, Lawyer, Montréal

Rebecca Comay, Professor of Philosophy, University of Toronto

Aaron Davis, Musician, Toronto

Yakov Rabkin, Professor of History, Université de Montréal

Lia Tarachansky, Israeli Journalist/Filmmaker, Toronto

Corey Balsam, NGO worker, Montréal

Kate Lushington, Theatre Artist/Teacher, Toronto

Lesley Wicks, Retired Lawyer, Victoria, BC

Niko Block, Student, Toronto

Rebekah Hart, Therapist, Montreal

Eva Sharell Retired Librarian, Vancouver, BC

Judy Deutsch, Psychoanalyst/Columnist at Canadian Dimension Magazine, Toronto

Leo Panitch, Professor Emeritus, York University, Toronto

Daphne Winland, PhD, Associate Professor, York University, Toronto

Sophie Afriat, Freelancer, Toronto

Devorah Miller, Creative Director, Toronto


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