U of T Denounces Antisemitic BDS Motion; FSWC Urges Further Action

November 27, 2021

Media Release

Toronto (November 27, 2021) – Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) acknowledges the University of Toronto administration’s swift and strong denouncement of the antisemitic actions taken this week by the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU). On November 24, 2021, the SCSU passed a discriminatory BDS motion declaring it will refuse to engage with groups or services, including kosher food suppliers, that support Israel.

In response to a letter from FSWC expressing dismay over the motion and calling for action from administration, U of T President Meric Gertler and U of T Scarborough Principal Wisdom Tettey issued statements condemning two motions passed by the SCSU. They affirmed that such discrimination will not be tolerated on U of T’s campuses.

President Gertler stated the motions are “inconsistent with the University of Toronto’s core values of freedom of speech and inclusion” and “the University will be following up with the SCSU to address our concerns.”

He added, “It is not acceptable to impose political tests on the recognition of Jewish student groups on any of the University of Toronto campuses.  It is unacceptable to impose political tests on suppliers of kosher or any other type of food.”

FSWC appreciates the U of T administration’s statements, which clearly acknowledge the brazen discrimination targeting Jews that lay at the core the BDS motion this week. This acknowledgement is an important initial step in addressing the antisemitism that has been festering at the university in recent years, but much more needs to be done. FSWC is calling for the administration to address this and numerous other incidents targeting the Jewish community that have created a toxic environment for many Jewish students and faculty at U of T. To that end, FSWC will meet with the administration next week to urge them to adopt and implement the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism as a critical part of a broader strategy to address escalating incidents of antisemitism at the university.

“The odious motion put forward by the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union is a brazen escalation of the long-standing problem of discrimination being faced by Jewish students and faculty members,” said Michael Levitt, President and CEO of FSWC. “We acknowledge the strong statements from President Gertler and Principal Tettey which are an important first step, but much more needs to be done to address the ongoing scourge of antisemitism on campus.”

< Back to News Room