Posted in: Anti-Semitism
Published on Feb 16, 2009 by Phyllis Chesler
Jewish Students Bullied and Threatened at York University
On February 11, 2009, aggression against Jewish students at York University in Toronto reached new heights. The subject at hand had nothing to do with the Middle East. A press conference was underway in which student activists were reporting that they had obtained the necessary 5,000 signatures required to peacefully and lawfully impeach the existing student government that had supported the union that had shut down York University for three months.
In other words, the students wanted to learn. The teachers wanted to teach. York University did not want to lose even more students. They had experienced a 15% decline in applications for the next school year due to the closure and to the bad press it had received.
But, a highly pro-Palestinian student government, (which has learned the value of using force in response to, or to obtain, election results in both the West Bank and Gaza and obviously, now in Toronto), turned into a frightening mob which screamed out anti-Jewish as well as anti-Israeli curses, banged on the floor and on the walls, and refused to disperse. The campus police could not handle the situation. They locked twenty Jewish students into a room for their safety and then called in the Toronto police who determined that they could not provide security for the Jewish students whom they chose to lead out to safety amidst a hate-filled mob, chanting chanted ""Die, bitch, go back to Israel," and "Die, Jew, get the hell off campus."
On February 12, 2009, Jonathan Kay, the Editorial Page Editor, published the eye-witness account of Jonathan Blake Karoly in the National Post. Karoly describes the clever verbal tactics used by the mobsters to try and rush the already overcrowded room. "Let the colored people in," "Maybe if my friends bleach their skin they'll be let inside," "Zionism is Racism." Karoly notes that as he took pictures of the melee, the Middle Eastern student who had yelled many of the racial slurs, saw that Karoly was also wearing a kippah and threatened to "take his camera and smash it." He threatened no other student, only the Jew.
According to Karoly, after the press conference was over, the mob outside the student press conference came and stood outside the Hillel office on another floor. They chanted, banged, yelled, and menaced and would not leave. When the Toronto police finally came, "one pro-Palestinian student (pulled his) Kaffeiyah scarf all the way up to his eyes." And, as the police led the twenty Jewish students out, single file "through this unruly mob, they were pointing, laughing and chanting that we were 'racists on campus.'"
None of this is new. In addition to an alarming number of anti-Semitic incidents which took place in Canada during the first intifada, the suffocated intellectual atmosphere on many campuses was also noted. On December 17, 2002, one hundred well-known Canadians signed an ad in the Globe and Mail that read "[a]n increasing number of students in universities and colleges say that they fear reprisals if they challenge prevailing pro-Palestinian, anti-Israeli views. If they argue that Israel has the right to exist, they are often greeted with threats, even physical assault."
And then, on September 9, 2002, Benjamin Netanyahu was scheduled to speak at Concordia University in Montreal. One thousand Palestinians and their supporters gathered to scream vitriolic hate. They also taunted, spat at, and physically and verbally harassed all those who had come to hear Netanyahu speak. The police cancelled the event but they did not intervene as individuals were attacked. I personally knew some of the people who were attacked at Concordia. They included Concordia professors who were badly beaten and highly traumatized.
As usual, the ADL's Abe Foxman is dead wrong. In an ADL press release, Foxman links a "pandemic" of anti-Semitism to Israel's military action in Gaza to defend its citizens from non-stop, relentless rocket attacks. He writes, that no one imagined that the war in Gaza would "so explode in an epidemic, a pandemic of anti-Semitism." The press release goes on to say that the global fallout from the Gaza crisis (is) the biggest threat to the safety and well-being of Diaspora Jewry in decades. "This is the worst, the most intense, the most global that it's been in most of our memories."
Where has he and the ADL been for the last eight years? Flying to conferences with Saudi princes and assuring their Jewish funders that they had it all under control? Or does the ADL expect Israel alone to bear the relentless burden of Jew-hatred, but never Diaspora Jewry who are meant to live safe lives?
Foxman's 2003 book on the subject also missed the boat. He viewed the danger of anti-Semitism as coming to us mainly from the Christian right-wing. He totally underplayed the danger which is facing Jews, Israel, the West, and America and which is coming our way courtesy of Islamists, Muslims, jihadists and their left-wing supporters in the West.
I no longer can speak on campuses without armed security. This is true even when I am not speaking about Israel or anti-Semitism. (Perhaps my reputation precedes me.) But, just as the student press conference at York: These days, on campus, whatever the subject is, it is always about "Palestine." And, those who support "Palestine" behave like brownshirts--or worse.
We are not accepting comments at this time, please go to the Facebook page to generate discussion!