The Toronto District School Board (TBSB) says it is investigating the distribution of anti-Israel resource material sent out to teachers.
“The resources in question were not reviewed or approved by the TDSB,” board spokesperson Ryan Bird told The CJN. “Staff, including the board’s Employee Services Department, are currently investigating this matter.”
The staff member accused of distributing the material has been placed on home assignment, Bird said, adding that the board is in the process of removing the employee’s current and previous group mailings/newsletters from TDSB email inboxes.
A recent Toronto Sun column identified Javier Davila, a Student Equity Program advisor at the board, as the source for a 51-page manual sent to teachers “that glorifies terrorists and recommends children’s books that characterize Israelis as thieves and murderers.”
The material recommended books on the “Israeli occupation,” including a novel in which Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers poison a Palestinian girl’s sheep, bulldoze her house and beat and jail her father and uncle.
The manual also contains sections on why teachers should be interested in supporting the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign, and one titled “Decolonize Palestine.”
In a statement posted to Facebook, Alexandra Lulka Rotman, TDSB trustee for Ward 5, said she was “deeply disturbed to recently discover that virulently anti-Israel and even anti-Semitic materials were distributed to TDSB teachers through an opt-in list by a TDSB employee.
“I was outraged to discover that some of this material justifies suicide bombings and other forms of terrorism. This is reprehensible. These materials were provided by an employee from the TDSB equity department, the very department that should be countering anti-Semitism and violence, not fanning the flames.”
Rotman said she is demanding a full investigation and will ensure that “none of these hateful materials ever see the inside of a TDSB classroom.”