Hillel Ontario Condemns U of T BDS; U of T Replies

Dec. 3, 2020

On Nov. 27, Hillel Ontario issued the following statement:

“At its annual general meeting on Nov. 30, the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU) sent a clear message to Jewish students: ‘You are not welcome here.’

“In a motion that reaffirms the Union’s commitment to the antisemitic BDS movement, the SCSU singled out and condemned a former executive for “displaying an Israeli flag,” and resolved not to partner with organizations that normalize Israel.

“The motion further resolved that future elected representatives and staff would be formally required to endorse BDS [the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel.]

“The SCSU then rejected an amendment to the motion proposed by Jewish students that would prevent the Union from boycotting the Jewish clubs on campus.

“In response, Rob Nagus, Senior Director of Hillel UofT issued the following:

‘Last night’s conduct by the SCSU violated the University of Toronto’s Statement on Human Rights, which prohibits discrimination and harassment based on creed, ethnic origin, and citizenship. Hillel has long voiced its serious concerns with the impacts of the BDS movement on the Scarborough Campus. This latest attempt to boycott and exclude Jewish students and organizations from campus life must be named and challenged.

Hillel is calling on the University of Toronto to demonstrate its commitment to the values reflected by its policies, including its recent Statement on Antisemitism and Racism, by issuing a condemnation and rejection of the SCSU’s motion, and taking the necessary steps required to ensure Jewish student life is protected on campus.’”

In response, the University of Toronto issued the following statement to the CJR:

“The University of Toronto is strongly committed to equity, diversity and inclusion, and has zero tolerance for hate speech, harassment, and discrimination in any form.  We condemn, in the strongest possible terms, anti-Semitism, and all other forms of hate and racial violence. 

“The Scarborough Campus Students’ Union is an autonomous student organization that acts independently from the University of Toronto. The SCSU first joined the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement in 2013. At a recent AGM, they reaffirmed their commitment to this movement.

“All such autonomous organizations are required by the University’s policies to operate in an open, accessible and democratic manner, including a commitment to equity and to allowing a diversity of perspectives to be heard. The University does not approve or endorse activities or groups sponsored by SCSU.”