FSWC Demands that Concordia University Immediately Address Safety of Jewish Students

November 9, 2023

News Release

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Toronto (November 9, 2023) – Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) sharply condemns the violent and hateful confrontation Jewish students faced yesterday at Concordia University and is calling on the university’s administration to address the escalating situation on campus, as Jewish students experience threats to their safety and well-being.

Based on a series of social media posts, a group of Jewish students had set up a table to raise awareness of the more than 240 hostages being held in Gaza by the Hamas terror group. The situation soon escalated into a violent clash, as the students were confronted by an angry crowd. Several videos from the scene show anti-Israel protesters yelling at the students and attempting to destroy the display and take away the Israeli flag.

In one video, a woman is heard yelling hateful comments. Meanwhile, a man, who’s reportedly a professor at another Montreal-area university, is heard yelling at a student to “go back to Poland.”

“What was a peaceful vigil and call for the return of hostages being held by Hamas terrorists should not have escalated into a violent, hateful confrontation,” said FSWC President and CEO Michael Levitt. “This highly disturbing incident at Concordia University reminds us of the vile hatred and hostile environment that Jewish students are facing on campus. These intimidation tactics against Jewish students will not prevail, but the safety of Jewish students must be addressed and ensured by the university administration.”

In a letter to Concordia President and Vice-Chancellor Graham Carr, Levitt stated, “It is deeply concerning that students calling for the peaceful release of hostages are being put in situations where they cannot assume their physical safety, and it has become imperative that Concordia take significant steps to address this situation before somebody gets hurt. Concordia must take steps to immediately increase police and security on campus, particularly in common areas where confrontations like what has been occurring are likely to take place. Concordia must also investigate the incidents that have already occurred, and hold the instigators responsible.”