Shalom Life | May 19, 2014

Ryerson Student Union Joins Boycott Israel Movement

The Toronto-based university is the latest student government in Ontario to join the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions movement against Israel

By: Daniel Koren

Published: April 7th, 2014 in News » World

Ryerson Student Union Joins Boycott Israel Movement

A sad turn of events is taking place in Ontario.

Whereas many student bodies at American universities have voted to nix the proposal of an academic boycott of Israel - last week alone the University of Michigan and Chicago's Loyola University voted against such resolutions - such student governments at universities in Ontario have unfortunately not been following suit.

Last year, York University's student group had voted in support of the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions movement against Israel. In March, the student union at University of Windsor voted in support of the movement as well, though there has since been reports that the voting was not conducted legally, and the vote may not count. During that event, Conservative MP Jeff Watson called the movement hateful, adding that "this new anti-Semitism is poisoning our Canadian campuses.”

I'm inclined to agree. That situation is still ongoing.

Now, the student body at Toronto's Ryerson university is the latest to join the BDS movement. During an Annual General Meeting last week, hundreds of Ryerson students voted "overwhelmingly in favour" of the resolution to support an academic boycott of Israel to be passed.

The organizers of the resolution state that it is the 11th student union in Ontario to support the movement. It will allow Ryerson students to encourage ending all relationships with companies that support Israeli "apartheid" from Canadian Tire to Home Depot to Sabra Hummus.

It is important to note that the administration at Ryerson does not support the resolution.

“The student union is a corporation independent of the university, we have to be clear there,” said Ryerson spokesman Michael Forbes. “The university does not support a boycott. We don’t support divestment, nor do we support sanctions against Israel. We’ve been consistent on this point.”

Shannon Riley, who acts as President of Hillel at Ryerson, attended the meeting. “Basically, the room was weighted toward the motion passing. It was clear for anyone who could see it,” she said. “The environment, it was hostile. It was confrontational. I didn’t feel comfortable as a Jewish student on campus.”

Sadly, these testaments from Jewish students are becoming commonplace after resolutions like this are put into pass.

President of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, Howard English, said "What it calls for is a comprehensive catalogue of punitive measures against Israel — and Israel alone in the world — and these measures include boycotts of Israeli products, Israeli academics, Israeli professionals, Israeli artists, Israeli scientists. It calls for total and complete boycotts of everything Israeli, including investments by universities in Israeli companies."

He added that these resolutions are not towards the promotion of equality, pluralism or basic human rights but rather a method to show opposition to Israel's existence.

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