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With so much outward antisemitism, let’s also not forget what’s said behind the office doors

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No one should be surprised that, from time to time, there is still latent hatred in the workforce against Jews | Photo: Amit Lahav (Unsplash)

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“John” works in the financial field at a well-known firm on Bay Street. But when he started his career, he quickly discovered an apparent barrier to moving up the corporate ladder.

He discovered antisemitism in the workforce the hard way – through the telltale sign of his wearing a kippah.

Soon after joining the firm, he noticed sideways glances directed at him, and he could hear the whispers. 

I bet he had connections to get his job.”

I guess we know who the top Jew will give all of the key accounts to now.”

“Idiots” was the word that came to John in such situations, but it did not end with the whispers. No matter how hard or well John worked, he found himself relegated to the smallest of tasks, ones typically reserved for interns.

He soon learned it was because others in the firm refused to work on a team with him. They referred to him as “money hungry” and seeking to take over.

John’s complaints to human resources and management fell on deaf ears.

He felt that he had no choice but to leave, in search of a new job. He settled into his new job well and was soon thriving. Yet he still heard antisemitic jokes and comments, though not directed at him. This time, he dodged the bullet: he hid his Judaism at work.

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He did not wear a kippah at work anymore, did not speak of holy days or aspects of his Jewish life, and he even avoided phrases such as “thank God.” In order to succeed in his chosen field, he needed to completely hide his true self.

“Heather,” also Jewish, consults and manages projects with farmers, investors, and others across the globe to direct investment into socially and ecologically responsible endeavours. Almost all of her company’s work is with those who choose to approach business with what they term a “social justice” orientation.

Heather faced antisemitism when her company was contracted by another organization to manage a new initiative.

“It’s baffling why the Jewish people aren’t included as a nation worth protecting.”

The first few meetings via teleconference went well. Heather’s team has a solid reputation, and they are very capable. It was at the first face to face encounter when things changed. It was all due to an innocuous piece of jewellery: her Magen David on her necklace.

She connected the dots: it wasn’t long until the head of the partner organization, Wendy, began speaking of Heather as “that Jew woman” to her own employees. As in, “why do you work for “that Jew woman, you should be working directly with us.”

There were other indicators of antisemitism as well. Knowing that Heather and her team do not work on Saturdays or Jewish holy days, Wendy began scheduling meetings on those days, and complaining when Heather’s team could not come in.

Eventually, the interaction became so antagonistic, that Heather stepped away from the contract, and moved on from this partnership. Ironically, this was a partnership with an organization that presents itself as a progressive, socially responsible company, that seeks to protect those who face persecution, be it racism, discrimination, or sexism.

Sadly, these two examples aren’t isolated, but occur with frequency, even now in 2020. In fact, statistics say that there is a one in one-thousand chance any given Jew in Canada will be the victim of an antisemitic attack, and therefore no one should be surprised that, from time to time, there is still latent hatred in the workforce against Jews.

And in these days when every other victim group sees their cause taken up, and rallied for, it’s baffling why the Jewish people aren’t included as a nation worth protecting.

Corey Margolese is the founder of JTeach.ca, a not-for-profit organization that offers training and resources in the dangers of antisemitism, Holocaust education, and in Judaic traditions, culture and religion. He is a public school teacher.

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Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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