Doctor training Queen’s medical students victim of antisemitism

Queen’s community seeing multiple incidences of antisemitism this year

Image by: Herbert Wang
Victims and witnesses of antisemitic incidences are encouraged to reach out to school and community supports. 

This article includes descriptions of antisemitism and may be triggering for some readers. The Peer Support Centre offers drop-in services and empathetic peer-based support and is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Dr. Michelle Cohen, a Jewish family doctor who trains medical students at Queen’s, received an antisemitic death threat on Dec. 22, over Hanukkah. The incident is the latest of a slew of antisemitic incidences affecting the Queen’s community.

The doctor shared a picture of the letter on Twitter, which included a death threat and referenced an antisemitic conspiracy theory. The letter has been retweeted 2,880 times as of Jan. 12, with some commentators accusing Dr. Cohen of falsifying the letter.

“I’m not surprised that I was targeted by an antisemitic conspiracy theory,” she said in an interview with Global News. “A colleague of mine in Ottawa, Dr. Nili Kaplan-Myrth, has been receiving a ton of these sorts of vile antisemitic messages and violent threats and death threats, things like that.”

Dr. Cohen reported the incident to the Ontario Provincial Police but tweeted, “I don’t know how much the cops can do with an anon[ymous] letter.”

In November, Queen’s Hillel warned students of a rise in antisemitism among the community in response to an incident at Queen’s new Albert Street residence where a swastika was drawn on a fridge on the fifth floor.

“I want to be very clear that there is no place at Queen’s for antisemitism or for hate or violence of any kind against any member of our community,” Principal Patrick Deane said in a statement following the incident.

“We will not tolerate it and we will speak against it and take action whenever and wherever we can.”

The swastika was removed, but no known action was taken against the perpetrator—who has not been identified. Community care was offered to Jewish students at Queen’s through Yellow House, a student centre for equity and inclusion.

Deane encouraged all Queen’s community members to report any discrimination or racism they experienced or witnessed.

“The University has supports available on campus through Campus SecurityHuman Rights Advisory Services, and Faith and Spiritual Life  and encourages anyone who has been personally affected by any form of human rights related discrimination or harassment or hate activity to contact these offices,” Stephanie Simpson, associate vice-principal (Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion) said in a statement to The Journal after the incident.

The Kingston Police have a non-emergency phone line and online reporting system for reporting antisemitic incidences in Kingston.

To support community members affected by an incident of antisemitism or victimized by hate crimes, the Kingston Police have implemented the Kingston Police Reassurance Program.

The program ensures an Equity, Diversity & Inclusion officer will follow-up with victims and complainants of all hate incidences and offer them relevant support services.


Antisemitism, doctor, hillel, police, Twitter

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