When it comes to the Jews, it’s 1939 at York University.

There are constant attacks on Jews on campuses all over the world.  They come from societies and organizations affiliated with BDS.

The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement works to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law.

I attended an event promoted by Herut Canada,  a Zionist movement dedicated to social justice, the unity of the Jewish people, and the territorial integrity of the Land of Israel, taking place at York University, Toronto, Canada, November 20, 2019.  They had invited five IDF soldiers to speak about defending freedom from hate speech.  This campus was built with a great deal of financial aid from the Jewish community.  It is now a campus where Jews are under attack.

Former soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces, representing Reservists on Duty, were available to talk to students before an evening event at York University in Toronto, Canada, Nov. 20, 2019. Courtesy: Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

I looked up York’s rules regarding protecting students on campus.

“All students have the rights and responsibilities articulated in the preamble. In keeping with these rights and responsibilities, students are responsible for conducting themselves in a way that supports research, teaching and learning, and upholding an atmosphere of civility, diversity, equity and respect in their interactions with others.  Students should strive to make the campus safe, to support the dignity of individuals and groups, and to uphold individual and collective rights and responsibilities.”

“Disruption of, or interference with, University activities, such as: causing a substantial disorder; bomb threats; creating dangerous situations (intentional or not); making or causing excessive noise; disrupting classes, events or examinations; proffering false identification or documentation; intentional misrepresentation; setting off false fire alarms; blocking exit routes.”

These rules may be for most of the students, but not the Jews.  There was no civility by those standing with BDS and with Students Against Israeli Apartheid at York University (SAIA York) alongside far-left activists demonstrating against Herut Canada’s event on campus.

They caused substantial disorder, excessive noise making it difficult to hear the speakers.  They blocked hall ways.  There was no atmosphere of civility, diversity, equity and respect in their interactions with others.  Students made the campus unsafe, there was no respect for the dignity of individuals attending the presentation.

Fliers calling for protests of the Reservists on Duty event at York University in Toronto, Canada, on Nov. 20, 2019. Courtesy: Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

The Palestinian and pro-BDS protesters tried to prevent people from reaching the hall where the event took place.  Forty police officers were required to protect the attendees, many Jewish York students, from attacks.

Ironic as defending freedom from hate speech was the topic of the presentation.

According to The Documentation Project: Antisemitic and Anti-Israel Campaigns in Canada, a project of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Stephen Ellis, a Barrister and Solicitor and a senior activist with the Canadian BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement, Moe [Mohammed] Alqasem, a pro-Palestinian student activist, Nazih Khatatba, the editor of Meshwar newspaper, Hammam Farah, a board member of the Palestine House, Sabrina Fuqhaa, a former board member of the Palestine House and Sue Goldstein, an activist with the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, among others, participated in the protest.

In the lecture hall a grandmother, who came from Russia, spoke about her concern for her granddaughter.  She is afraid to come to York.  The grandmother asked how can this be happening in Canada?  What is happening in Canada and around the world is a replay of the attacks on Jewish student at German universities in 1939.

Another attendee asked why she could not get an escort into the room.  She had to fight her way in. I think the question that needs to be answered is why does anyone coming to an event at York University NEED an escort?

A Jewish student expressed concern about wearing his kippa.  The IDF soldiers told him to wear it and stand strong.  This is 2019 in Toronto, the most diverse city in the world, where Jews are afraid on campus.  No other group is afraid.

A Syrian refugee thanked the IDF for saving his family.

All the while, we could hear the chants from the protesters, including the call to globalize the Intifada.

An intifada (Arabic: انتفاضة‎ intifāḍah) is a rebellion or uprising, or a resistance movement.  It is a key concept in contemporary Arabic usage referring to a legitimate uprising against oppression.

From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!  This call means the eradication of the Jewish state.

Racists go home!

Free, free Palestine!  Long live Palestine!  Long live the Intifada  Intifada, intifada!

Netanyahu, what do you say?  How many kids did you kill today?

Stop the killing, stop the hate!  Israel’s an apartheid state/terror state/racist state!

Not another nickel, not another dime, no more money for Israel’s crimes!

How do you spell justice?  B-D-S!

1 2 3 4, Occupation no more! 5 6 7 8, Israel is a terror state!

I repeat, ironic as defending freedom from hate speech was the topic of the presentation.

These protests are considered respectful?  Acceptable?  Uphold civility?

A young Muslim girl reported that her hijab had been cut while she was on her way to school, in Toronto, and Justin Trudeau, PM of Canada immediately tweeted out his disgust, before the incident had been investigated.  It was all fake.  Yet, here we have many students in Canada on campuses who are afraid to go to school, because they are Jewish.

Where is the PM?  Where are his tweets?  Where is the University administration?  Why are they not disgusted with the behaviour of these people who are intimidating a minority group on campus?  How does free speech override safety of students, many 18 years old and in their first year of school?

I had the opportunity to speak to several police officers.  I thanked them for protecting the Jewish students.  I told them I never thought I would live to see the day when Jewish students would need protection on our campuses.

Keep in mind, today, one in four Europeans hold antisemitic views.

It is 1939 all over again.

Written by Diane Weber Bederman and posted at The Bederman Blog. Your Passionate Voice of Reason

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  1. Dr. Rodney Gouttman

    Trudeau and his party of anti-Zionist zealots have just been returned to power in Canada. Clearly, they are the democratic choice of so many Canadians despite their racist and anti-Semitic commitment.

    • I think the problem is that many people have absolutely no idea what they are voting for.
      They vote for the party either they, or they family, have always for.