Eby meets Jewish leaders and vows to ‘root out’ antisemitism in B.C. public service

Eby meets Jewish leaders and vows to 'root out' antisemitism in B.C. public service
Eby speaks during a news conference in Vancouver, B.C., on Jan. 9.

British Columbia Premier David Eby says he believes people from the Jewish community have faced antisemitism while dealing with public servants, and the province is committed to “root out” the problem.

Eby says he heard “devastating” accounts that must be addressed, in a meeting with leaders of B.C.’s Jewish community.

The premier says they include an instance of students being asked by a grade-school teacher to self-identify as Jewish, then told to explain “what Israel was doing in Gaza to the entire class.”

In another, the premier says a student was asked to sit out in the hall for “creating a disturbance” after countering a teacher’s opinion on the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

READ ALSO: Eby says exit of Robinson from B.C. NDP is ‘humbling,’ but disagrees on antisemitism

Eby says he has committed to B.C.’s Jewish community to protect those who have experienced antisemitism when dealing with provincial employees, and is asking anyone who has complaints to come forward.

Friday’s meeting took place after former minister Selina Robinson quit the NDP caucus this week, her exit sending what community groups including the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver say was “a chilling message that antisemitism is tolerated in B.C.”

Robinson, who is Jewish, cited antisemitism in the NDP caucus in her resignation letter, accusing seven former colleagues of antisemitism or antisemitic comments.

Last month, Robinson resigned as post-secondary education minister after saying modern Israel was founded on “a crappy piece of land,” sparking outcry from pro-Palestinian groups that called the comments racist and Islamophobic.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 8, 2024.

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