LEVY: Suspended TDSB educator to host seminar called ‘Teaching Palestine’

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A Toronto District School Board staffer who’s been on home assignment for more than a month for distributing two virulently anti-Israel manuals is moderating an online panel for educators next week that features four speakers who have been very public about their anti-Zionist sentiments.

Javier Davila, who is on leave from the board’s Gender-based Violence unit and under investigation, has been busily promoting the June 30 online seminar entitled Teaching Palestine: An Introduction for Educators.

The self-described “queer latine transformer” claims educators committed to the principles of “justice, equity and human rights” cannot exclude Palestine.

In social media posts, Davila says his first session of “Teaching Palestine” will cover the “rich culture and history of the land, as well as the language and skills … to resist anti-Palestinian racism.”

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As he did with the manuals — which proposed teachers access a documentary and a book about terrorists as well as children’s books that characterize Israelis as thieves and murderers — he’s curated a panel of speakers who are decidedly biased against the Jewish state.

Justin Podur, an associate professor in the faculty of environmental studies at York University, recently wrote about anti-Palestinian racism.

His highly inflammatory document makes many wild claims, including contentions that during the recent round of violence “Israeli settlers, with police backup, broke into Palestinian homes to shoot and stab the inhabitants. Israeli lynch mobs stomped people to death in front of singing, dancing, chanting mobs. Israeli masses marched through the streets chanting, ‘Death to the Arabs!’”

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Mark Ayyash, an assistant professor of sociology at Mount Royal University, lists under his credits more than a dozen opinion articles written for the rabidly anti-Israel Al Jazeera media company about the colonization of Palestine, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel and his take on anti-Semitism.

  1. Demonstrators wave flags atop the arches of Toronto City Hall as thousands gather in Toronto, Ontario, Canada to show their support for the people of Palestine on May 15, 2021.

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  2. TDSB educator Javier DaVila is under investigation after allegedly emailing an anti-Semitic manual to teachers that glorifies terrorists and recommends children's books that characterize Israelis as thieves and murderer.

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  3. Pro-Palestine supporters take part in a protest in Toronto, Ontario, Canada May 15, 2021.

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  4. Mayor John Tory and Premier Doug Ford spoke out after swastikas were displayed at a recent pro-Palestinian rally at Nathan Phillips Square.

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Abigail Bakan, a member of the fringe group Independent Jewish Voices which supports BDS, is a professor in the social justice department of OISE specializing in anti-oppression politics and intersectionality. No need to say more.

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The final panelist, Sabrina Kayed, is an “anti-oppression” long-term occasional teacher at the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board whose anti-Israel tweets were made private Friday after I endeavoured to reach her.

Like Kayed, none of the participants — including Davila — responded to requests for comment.

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According to TDSB spokesman Ryan Bird, the investigation into Davila and his manuals is “ongoing” and there are no further updates.

Michael Mostyn, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada, said our public school system should not be used as a platform for anti-Israel indoctrination.

“The fact that Mr. Davila continues in this vein despite his ongoing suspension demonstrates why the TDSB needs to treat this matter seriously,” he said.

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Meanwhile, Foodbenders owner Kimberley Hawkins continues to post inflammatory anti-Israel and anti-cop rhetoric on Instagram and Twitter, despite facing at least two human rights complaints, a defamation lawsuit and being slated for a three-day court hearing in September to fight to keep her business licence with the city.

She has allegedly failed to comply with Chapter 545 of the Municipal Code, which states that no person licensed with the city shall discriminate against any member of the public in the carrying on of business.

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Hawkins first came to public attention last June when she posted the hashtag #Zionistsnotwelcome (in her store) on her Instagram feed.

Reached Friday by email, Hawkins refused to comment on her ongoing legal issues.

SLevy@postmedia.com

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