I am excited to unveil CIJA’s new website. Front and centre is our recently refreshed list of advocacy priorities, the product of extensive consultation and public opinion research with the Jewish community across Canada. The list encompasses a wide array of issues including human rights, social justice, community security, and educating Canadians about Israel.
In partnership with Hillel, CIJA provides strategic guidance, financial resources, and field support to Jewish and pro-Israel students so they can effectively fight BDS and other anti-Israel campaigns. We’ve developed tried, targeted, and tested programs that debunk myths about Israel. And to ensure students are getting the support they need, we just launched a new campus support email hotline so students can connect with us instantly.
We also engage student leaders, faculty, and administrators, taking groups on fact-finding missions to Israel every year. No Canadian university administration or board has ever supported a BDS campaign. In fact, exchange programs and research agreements between Canadian and Israeli universities have grown substantially over the past several years.
While we would never want to minimize the anxiety and discomfort anti-Israel campaigns create for our students and for our community, we know that because of our work with administrators and academics, boycott campaigns are materially ineffective.
The security of our community is one of our highest priorities. CIJA’s team offers comprehensive training sessions to institutions in our community. Conducted jointly with local law enforcement and organized in conjunction with Federations, the sessions include briefings and training for staff and volunteers.
CIJA conducts security audits of communal institutions with a first round focus on those facilities that house our children – schools, daycares, JCC’s, synagogues and summer camps. Comprehensive written reports explain cost-free strategies and prioritize improvements that require a financial investment. CIJA also helps Jewish community organizations access the federal Security Infrastructure Program which provides matching funds for security infrastructure for institutions such as Jewish schools and synagogues.
And finally, CIJA’s National Director of Community Security, Adam Cohen, is in continual contact with colleagues in the security sector including municipal and provincial police forces and the RCMP. This contact ensures we have the latest intelligence and they have a direct line to our community.
We continue to fight discrimination in all its forms. Recently, we have added genetic discrimination as an area of focus. As a core member of the Canadian Coalition for Genetic Fairness, CIJA is seeking federal and provincial legislation to protect Canadians from being denied employment or insurance based on genetic testing, a problem of particular concern, for example, to Ashkenazi Jewish women, who have a higher prevalence of harmful BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations than the general population.
Canada must catch up with Israel and all other G-7 countries who already have specific measures in place to prevent genetic discrimination.
These are just three examples reflecting broad community consensus. Your priorities are our priorities, and your direct feedback helps us to advocate more effectively. Please let us know what matters most to you at www.cija.ca/priorities.
David J. Cape, Chair