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January 25, 2022 5:12 pm

Ontario Catholic School Teacher’s License Revoked for Promoting Holocaust Denial, Blaming 9/11 on Israel in Classroom

avatar by Dion J. Pierre

An empty classroom. Photo: Wiki Commons.

An Ontario school teacher’s license was revoked after it emerged that he promoted Holocaust denialism, blamed Israel for the September 11th attacks, and raised other antisemitic conspiracies in the classroom, the Canadian Jewish News reported last week.

The Ontario College of Teachers (OCT) confirmed in December its decision to rescind the license of Joseph DiMarco, a former history teacher in the Northeastern Catholic District School Board. He had previously been terminated by his employer, O’Gorman High School, in November 2019.

The body cited complaints about DiMarco from as early as 2016, the CJN found, when he told a student, “looking at your face is starting to make me feel hate.” The OCT report, which concluded an investigation of the allegations, found that he also taught students to blame the 9/11 terrorist attacks on Israel and, citing his purported research, browbeat them into consulting Holocaust denialist texts.

“When students tried to challenge or question [DiMarco’s] assertions about the figure of 6 million deaths not being accurate, [he] was dismissive, reminding the students how much research he had done,” the OCT report said. “The member shared his view with students that the Israeli government is a malicious force and that it frames itself as the victim by exaggerating the tragedy of the Holocaust in order to make the world more receptive to its agenda.”

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DiMarco also interjected his own private materials into his lessons on the Holocaust, the CJN reported, including a “Zionism slideshow” he made that featured a clip of a 1990s broadcast of “The Montel Williams Show” in which Holocaust “revisionists” denied, in the presence of Holocaust survivors, that any Jews were murdered in gas chambers.

“The member [DiMarco] knew or ought to have known that his teaching risked arousing antisemitic sentiment among his students,” the OCT report said.

“There is no place in the classroom for Holocaust denial or conspiracy theories,” B’nai Brith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn told the CJN. “The teacher in question agreed to a statement of facts that was damning. We are pleased he is no longer in the classroom.”

The outlet also revealed disturbing music videos produced by DiMarco, who is also a musician, including one depicting Israeli Mossad agents as reacting to the collapse of the World Trade Centers by dancing. In one song, DiMarco sings, “The Evil Empire of Israelica. The United States of Israelica.”

DiMarco has not denied nor contested the allegations against him, according to the CJN. The Ontario English Catholic Teachers Union (OECTA) told the outlet it was not involved in his disciplinary proceedings and that there are no records of his teaching after 2019. “Our association unequivocally condemns hatred, bigotry, and discrimination, in any form,” the OECTA told the CJN.

Issuing a statement on Tuesday, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center CEO Michael Levitt said, “The disturbing actions by this former teacher demand nothing less than his inability to set foot in a classroom ever again.”

“Instead of using the opportunity to teach about the Holocaust and 9/11 and their lessons, he decided to spread Holocaust denial and antisemitism, doing an extreme disservice to his students,” he continued. “The Ontario College of Teachers made the right decision in revoking the man’s teaching license. Educators have a duty not only to provide students with factual information, but also inspire them to be upstanding citizens who stand against hate and intolerance.”

In its report, OCT concluded that DiMarco had “breached the ethical standards of care, trust, and respect.”

“His promotion of antisemitic, hateful, and conspiratorial views to impressionable students was completely at odds with these standards,” it said. “The member’s conduct showed a complete lack of professional judgement and a flagrant breach of the standards of the teaching profession. The classroom cannot be used as a platform for teachers to spread their personal prejudices and hateful viewpoints.”

Editor’s note: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this article did not properly attribute details of the story to the Canadian Jewish News. The mistake has been corrected. 

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