Jewish Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) members have initiated a human rights complaint against their union, alleging discrimination and antisemitism, including recent messages seen as cheering for the Hamas attacks in Israel. “The respondents have collectively engaged in systemic discrimination against the complainants by promoting and engaging in antisemitism,” said Levitt Sheikh LLP partner Kathryn Marshall in a Monday court filing obtained by the National Post. “This has caused the complainants to feel isolated, unwelcome, scared, silenced, discriminated against, threatened and harassed.”Although triggered by social media posts by a CUPE local and CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn after the Hamas attacks in Israel, the complaint to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario by about 25 members alleges antisemitic incidents spanning at least five years. CUPE member Carrie Silverberg is one of the complainants. Silverberg resigned from CUPE Local 1734’s executive after years of fighting antisemitism in her union. “Change wasn’t coming, it was just becoming more and more toxic and I felt more and more unsafe and less heard,” said Silverberg. “Enough is enough.” Hahn said CUPE stands by its record of fighting discrimination. “CUPE Ontario hasn’t seen the complaint and can’t speak to the allegations made,” he said. “However, our union understands the fundamental importance of human rights and we take these matters very seriously.”He said it believes there has been no violation of the Ontario Human Rights Code and is happy to stand on its record of fighting discrimination and oppression. CUPE Local 3906 said on October 7 people should show support to Hamas during the recent conflict in Israel because it is a reasonable cause. READ MORE: Hamilton union voices support for Hamas during Israeli attack“Palestine is rising, long live the resistance,” said CUPE Local 3906. CUPE Local 3906 was commenting on a group of Palestinians tearing down a border fence with a bulldozer. Hahn said as people think of reasons to be thankful on Thanksgiving, he is thankful for the power of workers and resistance around the world. Because #Resistance is fruitful and no matter what some might say, #Resistance brings progress, and for that, I'm thankful,” he said..On Instagram, he posted an image with the phrase “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” which is a slogan drawn from Hamas materials calling for the erasure of Israel. “In posting these comments, the respondents were celebrating the murder and rape of Jewish children and civilians, calling it justified and promoting violence and discrimination against Jewish people,” said Marshall. Hahn said on October 11 people are misunderstanding his past comments about freeing Palestine during its ongoing conflict with Israel. READ MORE: CUPE Ontario president justifies supporting Palestine“For anyone to imagine that I would ever endorse violence is horrific to me — it speaks volumes about the times we're in — I have spent my adult life fighting for justice for workers — building power and solidarity for working people to resist — to win better,” he said..He called these “deeply tragic and troubling days — days that call on all of us to be clear — so let me be clear.” He added he has never celebrated violence. CUPE Local 3906 deleted its tweet, because of violent messages it received, but it refused to apologize.While it mourned the attacks on the sanctity of life and indiscriminate killings of people, it stood by its message. “The voices of Palestinian students, faculty, politicians and their allies are targeted everywhere by the highly organized Zionist lobby in Canada, its targets inclusive now of CUPE 3906 and the President of CUPE Ontario,” it said. Although the social media posts are concerning, Marshall said the members think they are not isolated incidents and are part of a long pattern of discrimination against Jews. She alleged CUPE condones and encourages antisemitism and discrimination against Jewish members and excludes education about antisemitism in its policies or documents, despite calls for inclusion.Hahn told Jewish members he does not “believe that Jewish people should live in Israel and that Jewish people stole the land from Palestinians.”She said the members have concerns about several CUPE resolutions, such as a 2018 one which said Israel was occupying Palestine, a 2021 one to oppose the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism, and a 2023 one to conduct member education about the history of Israel’s occupation and colonization of Palestine.Another concern she raised was CUPE hosting union events during Yom Kippur. Silverberg said this reduced the ability of Jewish members to participate.“I’m a member in good standing, and I have no voice,” she said. The human rights complaint seeks $500,000 in compensation for pain and suffering and an order allowing members to redirect their union dues to a Jewish charity. Other remedies sought include orders for it to stop engaging in discrimination and hate towards Jewish members, to create internal policies to combat antisemitism and for union leaders to attend antisemitism training. Marshall followed up by saying she was proud to act for the group fighting to hold CUPE and its leadership accountable. “We will fight this fight,” said Marshall.