Canadian Jewish students are speaking out against the concerning rise in antisemitism that has plagued Canada’s college and university campuses following the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack on Israel.
As reported by True North, various antisemitic incidents have taken place on campuses, including vile anti-Zionist statements, posters of kidnapped Israelis being torn down, violent Islamist graffiti as well as physical confrontations.
At Concordia University, three people were injured and one was arrested after a brawl broke out between students protesting the Israel-Hamas war. One woman, who uses “they/them” pronouns, was accused of calling a someone a “k*ke” (an antisemitic slur), while a University of Montreal professor present at the rally told a student to “go back to Poland, sharmouta (wh*re in Arabic).”
At Western University and McMaster University, pro-Palestinian students were recorded ripping down posters of Israelis kidnapped by Hamas, while at the University of Calgary, a public washroom was vandalized with violent antisemitic Islamist graffiti.
Other instances include three student unions at York University co-signing a statement praising “necessary” Hamas terrorism against “so-called” Israel, a York University instructor boycotting classes to protest the school’s condemnation of Hamas, as well as multiple woke professors voicing support for Palestinian “Anti-Colonial resistance.”
Adam Dober, a political science student at the University of British Columbia, has been wearing a Kippah on campus since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack – a decision that has come with consequences.
“Being a visibly unknown Jewish person on campus has definitely increased the frequency with which I encounter glares, odd side comments, and stuff like that,” he said. “I’ve had people yell ‘free Palestine’ at me.”
“I do not feel comfortable identifying as Jewish or Israeli in certain class contexts because there are some departments of this university that are overtly hostile to Israel,” he added. “There are some spaces on campus, progressive, social justice oriented spaces where I’m basically a persona non grata. I’m not even welcome into the room.”
Micheal Mandel, a political science and Jewish studies student at York University, echoed Dober’s concerns.
“It’s very provoking, and makes me feel very unsafe, and uncomfortable” said Mandel regarding the recent antisemitic activity on his campus.
He added that while he has not been the subject of antisemitic harassment, some of his friends have. “Some of my close friends have been called antisemitic slurs for their faces, and have experienced antisemitism either from professors or other students.”
He says one of his friends, who wears a Kippah, was harassed by a group of anti-Zionist students while using the university gym.
“For safety reasons, it’s best not to be visibly Jewish,” said Mandel. “Some of my friends have bought weapons, like pocket knives or beer spray” amid fears of being attacked.
Mandel also called out his student union for praising “necessary” Hamas terrorism, and believes it would be best for York University to de-ratify the student group.
“We need a new slate of students who will be accepting of people from all races and religions, and who won’t target Jews for what’s going on in Israel or condemn them for having their own state.”
Richard Robertson of B’nai Brith Canada, a Jewish advocacy group, says the current situation on campuses is heartbreaking and should be of great concern to Canadians.
“It is essential to the continued growth of our democracy that all students feel welcomed on Canadian campuses,” he said in a statement to True North
He is calling on universities and politicians to “work proactively to confront the incitement that is facilitating the drastic rise in antisemitism being experienced by Jewish students in Canada.”
“It is incumbent upon them to ensure that all Jewish students are furnished with a safe space conducive of their academic success.”