More details are emerging from Wednesday’s anti-Semitic hate rally at York University in Toronto. As expected Toronto’s prominent Jewish organizations (which include UJA, Bnai Brith, and Hillel) were nowhere to be found. In fact, UJA was hosting a networking event called of all things “The Big Schmooze” as this violent anti-Semitic protest (which was advertising well in advance) was taking place. What a joke. The inaction, cowardice, and ineptitude of the mainstream Jewish organizations has played a significant role in university campuses being unsafe for Jewish students. As such, Jewish students will continue to pay a price when expressing their support for Israel.
Premier Doug Ford has denounced a protest that took place during a pro-Israel event at York University Wednesday evening, saying he was “shocked” at news of the event. Protesters gathered at Vari Hall ahead of the event that saw speeches from members of Reservists On Duty, an organization founded by former members of the Israeli Defence Forces.
“I was shocked by the vile hatred that was on display last night at York University,” Ford tweeted Thursday afternoon.
Anti-Israel protest at York University turns violent
By Toronto Sun, November 21, 2019:
At least one person was injured as attempts by an anti-Israel group to shut down an event at York University turned violent Wednesday night.
Members of York’s Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) arrived at the university to disrupt a school-sanctioned panel discussion with Reservists on Duty, an organization of former members of the Israeli Defence Force (IDF.)
Calls to protest the arrival of the IDF members came from across the Internet, including the federal NDP candidate for York Simcoe, Jess McLean, who on Twitter denounced York for hosting the event and urged her followers to attend Wednesday’s SAIA counter-protest.
ALL OUT against IDF on York University Campus TONIGHT 6pm.
An institution that claims to stand for social justice is no place to host those tasked w/upholding an illegal occupation, enforcing apartheid and murdering protestors.
— Jessa McLean (@JessaMcLeanNDP) November 20, 2019
Videos posted online show SAIA protesters — some concealing their faces with keffiyeh scarves — inside York’s Vari Hall loudly protesting the discussion, shouting pro-Palestine slogans and waving Palestine flags.
Another video features participants shouting “viva, viva Intifada.”
Another video shows the two groups throwing punches and grappling in a stairwell until broken up by police.
The violence has sparked condemnation online, with B’nai Brith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn calling for York University to take action.
“Further investigation is required into how a registered student group was permitted to glorify terrorism and attempt to intimidate those peacefully assembling on campus,” he wrote on Twitter.
“There must be consequences for violent behaviour.”
WATCH: Students Against Israel at York University assaulted Jewish students attending a pro-Israel event at @yorkuniversity in Toronto. Jewish Breaking News
Posted by Eddie Dvir on Thursday, November 21, 2019
Brawl Breaks Out During Pro-Israel Event At Toronto University
Blog TO, November 21, 2019:
York University students are calling upon administration today for better security after a violent clash broke out on campus between activists representing both sides of the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The fight took place ahead of a Herut Canada-hosted event on York’s main campus in which veterans of the Israeli Defence Forces spoke to students about their experiences in the army and denounced anti-Semitism.
Upon learning of the event, members of a group called Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) organized a protest against it.
“All out!” reads a poster spotted at the school earlier this week. “No Israeli soldiers on our campus!”
B’nai Brith Canada, which bills itself as “the grassroots voice of the Jewish Community,” shared a photo of the SAIA poster on its Facebook page, writing that “unless violating the law or university policy, everyone has a right to be present and be safe on campus.”
That includes Jews, Israelis and yes, Israelis who have completed their mandatory military service,” wrote the advocacy group.
Join us tomorrow in protesting @yorkuniversity’s shameful decision to allow IDF soldiers on our campus! War criminals responsible for the continual dispossession of Palestinian land & violations of Palestinian rights shouldn’t be anywhere near our place of education. #YorkU pic.twitter.com/icX5fQVgje
— SAIA York (@SaiaYork) November 19, 2019
In an attempt to moderate any drama and keep all students safe, Toronto Police Service offers were present on campus during the event.
Still, many attendees were met with resistance upon entering and exiting the building, with some Jewish students reporting that they were escorted to their cars by police following the event.
Some on Twitter claim that the SAIA protesters were spewing hateful rhetoric. Video footage shows them chanting “Viva, Viva, Palestina,” “Free, free, Palestine” and “1,2,3,4, Occupation no more!”
NO JEWS ALLOWED ON CAMPUS???
— ⭐️⭐️⭐️🇺🇸Danì👑Queen🇮🇱⭐️⭐️⭐️ (@Danie1607) November 21, 2019
Regardless of where they fall on the political or religious spectrum, members of the community are saddened and disturbed by what happened at York University last night.
“Toronto, 2019, where Jews attending a talk at a supposed institute of higher education requires a police escort to get back to their cars. Happy with yourselves York University?” wrote attendee
Aboud Dandachi in a widely-shared Twitter thread.
“I, the former Syrian refugee, am telling you point blank there is something rotten at York University,” Dandachi continued.
“The hatred I saw today for the Jewish visitors to York could have been in fucking Gaza or Ramallah.”
Worth reading. And I don’t imagine it’s just York that has hate groups. But it’s ok because it’s the fashionable kind of hate against the cause du jour.
In an ideal world, shouldn’t universities be the *last* place you’d expect to find hate groups? https://t.co/1ONE1uH7nV
— Miranda Veracruz de la Hoya Cardinal (@RW_Crank) November 21, 2019
Some are now calling upon both university administrators and government officials to investigate the prevalence of anti-Semitism at York and other Toronto universities.
“When a Muslim Syrian refugee says Canadian universities are hotbeds of violent anti-Jewish hate, Justin Trudeau might want to listen,” wrote one observer.
“Dear @JohnTory, @fordnation, @JustinTrudeau, there is a serious AntiSemitism problem at Toronto universities,” wrote another.
“These campuses are allowing violent hate mobs to target their Jewish students. This situation will not end well.”
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