After several failed attempts, the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus Students Union (SCSU) officially voted to reaffirm its support for the antisemitic BDS movement at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Thursday.
Hasbara Fellowships Canada is calling on both the university and student leaders of conscience to immediately denounce the antisemitic motion.
The motion calls on U of T students to “refrain from engaging with organizations or participate in events that normalizes Israeli apartheid,” a direct response to a Hasbara Canada event on campus with Dr. Asaf Romirowsky, Director of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME).
Dr. Romirowsky’s lecture was held on Nov. 20, 2019 in order to educate students on campus about Zionism and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Over 50 students attended and engaged in meaningful debate, including a member of student government who was then attacked by his peers for participating. The student was also condemned for “displaying an Israeli flag” in his office, although he also displayed a Palestinian flag.
These incidents are both referenced in the motion before it calls on all elected student representatives to endorse BDS and “uphold our collective commitment to justice in Palestine.”
Gabriela Rosenblum, a Hasbara Fellow at U of T, attended Thursday’s meeting and decried the motion as an assault on her Jewish identity.
“Refraining from engaging with Israeli organizations and participating in Israeli-themed events will lead to further discrimination of Jewish students and shuts down dialogue. We want to build an accepting environment on campus while this encourages the opposite,” Rosenblum said.
Daniel Koren, Hasbara Canada’s Executive Director, echoed Rosenblum’s sentiments.
“The SCSU is so scared of students learning the truth about Zionism that they’re trying to boycott Jewish organizations on campus,” Koren said. “Their attempts to silence us, however, will fail. Hasbara Fellows like Gabriela will continue to educate their peers about the insidious and vitriolic nature of BDS, and continue to bring in speakers that are nuanced and recognize the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians.”