Toronto (November 25, 2021) – Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) is calling for immediate condemnation and action from University of Toronto administration after the university’s Scarborough campus student union passed an antisemitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) motion declaring it will refuse to engage with pro-Israel groups or services, including requiring on-campus kosher food to come from organizations that do not support Israel.
The Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU) passed the BDS policy motion at its virtual Annual General Meeting on November 24, stating the student union will “refrain from engaging with organizations, services, or participating in events that further normalize Israeli apartheid”. It added that “efforts should be made to source kosher food from organizations that do not normalize Israeli apartheid, however recognizing the limited availability of this necessity then exemptions can be made if no alternatives are available.”
This is a bald-faced case of on-campus antisemitism through BDS actions, which targets not only Israeli individuals and institutions but also Canadian individuals and groups that support Israel. All major Jewish organizations in Canada oppose the BDS movement.
The motion comes almost one year after U of T’s announcement on the establishment of its Antisemitism Working Group, which has remained strangely silent amid rampant and growing antisemitism on the university’s campuses. It should see this case as a reminder of the importance of having the university adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, already adopted by both the federal and provincial governments.
FSWC President and CEO Michael Levitt issued the following statement:
“This motion represents yet another attack on Jewish students and faculty members on campus as well as the broader Jewish community. This ups the ante in an already toxic environment for Jews, further infringing on their ability to lead a normal life on campus. Shame on the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union and on the university administration that has allowed the student union to continue down this slippery slope. The University of Toronto must denounce this and ensure the rights and freedoms of Jewish students are protected.”
FSWC has written a letter to U of T President Meric Gertler and U of T Scarborough Principal Wisdom Tettey, calling for the university to immediately speak out against this discriminatory motion and stand up for the rights of Jewish students.