By Aidan Fishman
Campus Advocacy Coordinator
B’nai Brith Canada
March 13, 2017
Students attending a multicultural festival at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) in Oshawa covered up an Israeli flag with its Algerian counterpart in order to eliminate any Israeli presence at a school-sponsored event last week, B’nai Brith Canada has learned.
Members of the local chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) celebrated their act of cultural vandalism on Facebook, (page does not exist) referring to Israeli Jews as “rodents” and telling a Jewish student to “go back to Palestine” when he condemned their actions.
n March of 2016, the Student Association at UOIT banned Hasbara Fellowships, a pro-Israel group, from participating in its annual Social Justice Week, citing the Association’s recent endorsement of the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement as justification. The matter is currently being reviewed by the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal.
On March 14, 2016, UOIT stated publicly that it does not support BDS against Israel.
“This absurd incident is part of an ongoing campaign to eliminate Israeli students, and in practice Jewish students, from public life on campus,” said Michael Mostyn, B’nai Brith Canada’s Chief Executive Officer. “We are comforted, through communication from the administration of UOIT to B’nai Brith, that it has acted quickly to state its opposition to this kind of fear, bullying and intimidation, and has confirmed its support for constructive and civil dialogue, dissent and discourse.
“We’ve seen this pattern before, at campuses like York and Ryerson,” Mostyn added. “Once anti-Israel fanatics have pushed their agendas through student government, their next step is to marginalize and harass Jewish students. SJP isn’t just a student club – it’s a group that promotes hatred, and university administrators need to start treating it as such.”