The annual commemoration of Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, on April 27-28, is not only about honouring the memory of six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust, but also that we must remember the lessons of history. Only through recognizing the dangers of anti-Semitism and xenophobia can we effectively fight them at their roots.
It’s alarming that in Canada alone, hate crimes against Jews are again on the rise. The Ontario Human Rights Commission points out that anti-Semitism intensifies at times of social disruption, such as the conditions we see today. Tragically, this has been the case during the pandemic, with over 44 per cent of COVID-related reported acts of anti-Semitic violence. In addition, Nazi flags and racist and anti-Semitic symbols and messages are appearing more frequently as part of right-wing demonstrations .
That is why, when it comes to peace, democracy and respect for human rights, we can never take the status quo for granted: These values will always be at risk unless we are actively engaged in defending them.
OPSEU/SEFPO joins the world in commemorating Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Rememberance Day. We resolutely affirm that no expression of anti-Semitism, however small, may be tolerated – because we know where it could lead.
As a union, we uphold the fundamental and inalienable right of every single person to live their life free of fear and intimidation, whether because of their faith or their ethnicity or any one of the many rights we cherish.
Today we remind ourselves that “never again” must always be our watchword; “never again” must always be our commitment.
JP Hornick, President, OPSEU/SEFPO
Laurie Nancekivell, First Vice-President/Treasurer, OPSEU/SEFPO