FSWC Calls for Broad Condemnation of Toronto Student Unions Following Outrageous, Antisemitic Statement on Israel

June 5, 2021

Media Release

Toronto (June 5, 2021) – Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) is calling on students, faculty and alumni from four Toronto universities to speak out loudly in condemnation of a joint statement by local student unions teeming with antisemitic tropes and false, ugly accusations against Israel.

A statement sent to students last night by a host of local student unions affiliated with the Canadian Federation of Students - including the York Federation of Students, the York University Graduate Students' Association, the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union, the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus Students’ Union, the Continuing Education Students’ Association of Ryerson, and the Ontario College of Art and Design Student Union - falsely accuses Israel of being a “violent Zionist colonial occupation” guilty of “apartheid,” “ethnic cleansing” and "genocide" and calls repeatedly for a “safe return” and a “liberation of Palestine.”

These student unions are engaging in a propaganda strategy as old as time, repeating a lie so colossal and with such frequency that the uninformed bystander begins to believe it. We must respond, and respond loudly, with our greatest asset: the truth. The truth is that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, it is a strong ally of Canada and the democratic world, one which affords human and equality rights to all citizens regardless of their religion or ethnic background. These student unions are participating in an ongoing campaign to smear and demonize Israel with outlandish and vile accusations that have no basis in fact, part of a broader effort to destabilize and destroy the Jewish State. This is antisemitism, and this is simply intolerable.

“We are calling on all people of conscience, Jews and non-Jews, to reach out to university administrations and let them know that enough is enough,” said Michael Levitt, President and CEO of FSWC. “We cannot continue to allow those with an anti-Israel political agenda to continue to create a poisoned, polarized and antisemitic environment in our universities or other public institutions. This is Canada, and our institutions must be based in the values of tolerance and respect for citizens of all backgrounds, including Jews.”

York University President Rhonda Lenton can be contacted at: president@yorku.ca

University of Toronto President Meric Gertler can be contacted at: president@utoronto.ca

Ryerson University President: pres@ryerson.ca

Ontario College of Art & Design University President Ana Serrano: aserrano@ocadu.ca

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