Saturday, July 13, 2024
Saturday, July 13, 2024
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Opinion: Court’s Dismissal of Antisemitism at U Of T Encampment a Slap in the Face

Avi Benlolo and Jerry Grafstein
National Post, July 5, 2024

“Given that Jews face a disproportionate amount of hate, the way this judgment dismissed claims of antisemitism is highly concerning.”
 
Despite being among its biggest supporters, the Jewish community often finds itself on the losing side when it comes to the University of Toronto. For two decades, we have fought against the university allowing Israeli Apartheid Week events to be held on campus, which has fostered generations of antisemites and normalized anti-Israel sentiment on campus, even among some faculty and administrators.
The university has opposed the Jewish community at every turn, including by hosting radical speakers who promoted the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel and accused the Jewish state of every falsehood imaginable. When it came to adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, a committee appointed by the administration rejected it.

The situation escalated with the encampment set up by pro-Hamas sympathizers who demanded the university divest from any investments related to Israel and sever ties with the only Jewish state. These sympathizers, while hiding behind free speech, audaciously called for the school to cut ties with Israeli academics and universities. Worse, they barred pro-Zionist students and faculty from entering their encampment (on university property) and lined its fence with violence-promoting slogans targeting Israel.

The final straw, however, came this week, when Judge Markus Koehnen of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice dismissed the Jewish community’s concerns over antisemitism. Many interlocutors quickly applauded the injunction to dismantle the encampment, failing to understand the damage. The verdict was a win for the University of Toronto’s property rights but a terrible, unprecedented legal loss for the Jewish community.” … [To read the full article, click here]

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