Western stu­dent coun­cil con­demns hate pam­phlet

The Canadian Jewish News (Toronto) - - News - PAUL LUNGEN plun­gen@thecjn.ca

The stu­dent coun­cil at the Univer­sity of Western On­tario in Lon­don has con­demned as “hate speech” and as an in­cite­ment to vi­o­lence a flier cir­cu­lated on cam­pus that claims “Jewish ter­ror­ists” were re­spon­si­ble for last month’s mosque shoot­ing in Que­bec City.

“This doc­u­ment is in­cred­i­bly prej­u­diced, strongly pro­motes vi­o­lence and is sim­ply hate speech,” the stu­dent coun­cil stated in an up­date to stu­dents.

“Gen­er­al­iz­ing, tar­get­ing, ex­trem­ism and draw­ing con­clu­sions based on iden­ti­ties, race or re­li­gion is prej­u­diced, vi­o­lent and has no place in any dis­cus­sion or space on our cam­pus,” the state­ment said.

Western’s stu­dent coun­cil was re­spond­ing to a flier that had been dis­trib­uted on cam­pus by a group call­ing it­self the Cana­dian Na­tional In­de­pen­dence Party (CNIP).

The doc­u­ment be­gins with the as­ser­tion that, “Here is Canada, here is not Is­rael.”

It goes on to make the claim that “Jewish ter­ror­ists who were trained by Is­rael Zion­ists” mur­dered the six wor­ship­pers at a Que­bec City mosque.

“We re­quest that all Zion­ists in Canada be tried as ter­ror­ists and all mem­bers be put in jail.”

The doc­u­ment’s bizarre as­ser­tions con­tinue with the claim that the gov­ern­ment of Canada is a pup­pet and colony of Bri­tain.

Western’s cam­pus Hil­lel group was alerted to the flier on Feb. 8, when a Hil­lel stu­dent came across it on a table in a cafe­te­ria.

“The Univer­sity Stu­dent Coun­cil [USC] pres­i­dent reached out to Hil­lel, which in turn pro­vided ad­vice and guid­ance to the USC as it pre­pared its pub­lic re­sponse – which we be­lieve was a very strong state­ment of sol­i­dar­ity with Jewish stu­dents,” said Hil­lel CEO Marc New­burgh.

“We are thank­ful that the USC re­acted ap­pro­pri­ately. As a pre­cau­tion, Hil­lel has been in con­tact with cam­pus po­lice and Lon­don po­lice who are look­ing fur­ther into this mat­ter,” he stated.

He­len Con­nell, as­so­ciate vice-pres­i­dent of com­mu­ni­ca­tions and pub­lic af­fairs at Western, said “Cam­pus po­lice re­ceived a com­plaint that a male was pass­ing out the fliers. They im­me­di­ate searched for the in­di­vid­ual. That search did not find a sus­pect. The in­ci­dent was also dis­cussed on so­cial me­dia.”

Con­nell said the univer­sity’s non-dis­crim­i­na­tion/ha­rass­ment pol­icy pro­motes “a work­ing and learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment that al­lows for full and free par­tic­i­pa­tion of all mem­bers of the com­mu­nity” and that dis­crim­i­na­tion vi­o­lates the fun­da­men­tal rights, per­sonal dig­nity and in­tegrity of in­di­vid­u­als or groups.

Judy Ze­likovitz, vice-pres­i­dent of univer­sity and lo­cal part­ner ser­vices for the Cen­tre for Is­rael and Jewish Af­fairs (CIJA), said, “While this ap­pears to be the work of a sin­gle in­di­vid­ual who isn’t a mem­ber of the univer­sity com­mu­nity, there is no place on cam­pus for anti-semitic con­spir­acy the­o­ries.”

New­burgh said the at­mos­phere at King’s Col­lege, an af­fil­i­ate col­lege of Western, has been “tense in prepa­ra­tion for a ref­er­en­dum on BDS [boy­cott, di­vest­ment and sanc­tions against Is­rael] ex­pected to take place within the next month.

“While there is a lot of sup­port for Jewish and pro-is­rael stu­dents at Western, we have seen other cam­puses where BDS has neg­a­tively im­pacted the cam­pus, which is why we’re work­ing to sup­port the stu­dents to de­feat BDS at King’s,” he said.

USC pres­i­dent Eddy Avila said there had been “con­ver­sa­tions about the BDS move­ment at one of the af­fil­i­ate col­lege stu­dents’ coun­cils and we have no­ticed and been told first hand that this has caused in­creased lev­els of stress for our Jewish com­mu­nity at Western and beyond.”

The flier in­ci­dent “has caused a lot of un­rest of the Jewish com­mu­nity at Western and the con­ver­sa­tions per­tain­ing to the BDS move­ment have not helped this feel­ing of un­rest. From the USC’S per­spec­tive, we wanted to tell the Western com­mu­nity that al­though they may have dif­fer­ent views on a par­tic­u­lar topic, they must be dis­cussed in a pro­duc­tive, in­tel­lec­tual man­ner, not in a harm­ful one. We will not al­low hate speech on our cam­pus.”

Ef­forts to reach the per­son whose name ap­pears on the flier were un­suc­cess­ful.

FACE­BOOK PHOTO

A flier blamed “Jewish ter­ror­ists” for the Que­bec mosque shoot­ing.

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