FSWC Calls for Immediate Investigation into Violent Antisemitic Protest at York University

November 21, 2019


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Toronto (November 21, 2019) - Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) is pressing law enforcement, government and university leaders to investigate and condemn a shocking case of violent antisemitism last night at York University.

An on-campus event hosted by Jewish students and featuring Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reservists was met with a mob of protesters yesterday who were chanting “intifada” – a movement that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Israeli civilians – wearing kufiyas and waving Palestinian flags. Several dozen uniformed police officers and dozens more campus security officials were required to push the protesters away from the entry way of the lecture hall so that students could enter the event, scrambling to separate the protesters from event-goers as violent scuffles broke out one after another. Sirens blared and protesters banged on the doors outside the hall where the event was taking place.

FSWC has been in touch with numerous leaders demanding action, including Toronto’s Chief of Police Mark Saunders, York University President Rhonda Lenton, Minister of Colleges and Universities Ross Romano and Premier Doug Ford.

“We are urging these leaders to take immediate steps regarding the environment that York University has created over the years that has led to what can only be described as an antisemitic, violent, racist mob sentiment toward Jewish students on this campus,” said FSWC president and CEO Avi Benlolo. “The community has to take urgent and immediate action to provide security for Jewish students in addition to removing hate groups like Students Against Israeli Apartheid and reforming the administration and the student federation to enable the university to ensure a welcoming environment to Jewish students.”

Earlier this fall, the York Federation of Students refused to provide a reason for its rejection of an application by a Jewish student to create a pro-Israel club. After FSWC intervened, filing a formal request under Ontario’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act to compel York University to turn over documents related to the rejection of the pro-Israel club, YFS changed course and ratified the club.

Footage of antisemitic protest at York University:

Antisemitic Protest at York University - November 20, 2019

Media Contact:

Avital Borisovsky
Communications Associate
416-864-9735 x29