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A Shocking Announcement at York University

Moral Equivalency at its worst!

Members of the Jewish community and our allies opposed to antisemitism must take heed as to how York university’s administration is handling the follow up, indeed the fall out, of a Zionist (read Jewish) oriented, student-organized program.

While personal accounts of attendees -- as well as photographs -- documented the brazen, unbridled harassment by anti-Israel protesters, the lack of action by security officers and police was mind-boggling.  Clearly, the fine men in uniform had been instructed to do nothing.  Having personally been at the event, I can attest to how easy it would have been to ensure all participants had their say.  The protesters simply had to refrain from disturbing the event.  They could have protested, as they eventually did, in the first floor foyer where there was ample room.  One has to wonder whether the university administration themselves are in fear of the riotous, antisemitic protesters.

Plenty of people and every major Jewish organization commented on the detestable language of protesters, their antisemitic pre-rally campaign, their calls for, not only BDS but, an intifada – an Arabic word promoting terror and death to Jewish Israelis.  The protesters used state of the art sound equipment to try to incite hysteria. Of course, the brash noise interrupted the program and made listening to the speakers almost impossible.

CAEF registered its objection to the antisemitic nature of the protest and also called upon the President, Dr. Rhonda Lenton, and the Chair of the Board of Governors, Mr Paul Tsaparis, to act swiftly to quell the hate, adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism, remove the offensive and violence glorifying anti-Israel mural that’s been years-too-long on a campus wall, review their implementation of free speech and free assembly policies, and offer education and training to faculty and belligerent, Antisemitic activists.

A lengthy response came to CAEF and other writers, but within a day of the letter from the President, a shocking new announcement came yesterday.  York U advised the Jewish organization yesterday that it is effectively shut down.  The Herut Canada student club can neither table on campus, organize an event, nor speak about its mission!  No reason was given!  And while the same treatment was applied to the Students Against Israel Apartheid (SAIA) -- the organizers of the hate fest -- it’s nonetheless pretty unreasonable to meet out the same punishment to the victim as to the aggressor.  This moral equivalency is beyond unacceptable from a major university in this day and age.

It’s time for York University to it gets its house in order, remove SAIA, and fire the York Student Federation, which in the midst of the university trying to calm the waters, passed a hateful biased anti-Israel motion, betraying any sense of morality and fair judgment.  Jewish students, whatever their views, should be treated fairly, just as the University treats other segments of its diverse student population.  Israel is the only nation state to be pilloried at the U.N., and it seems that Jewish students are the only group to be pilloried at York U.  Why is that?

Irving Weisdorf, President

Andria Spindel, Executive Director


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