The CUPE union, with its long history of anti-Israel vitriol before and after the Oct. 7 atrocities, has produced a toolkit that tells its York University members they have an “intellectual imperative” to stand up for Palestine.

The 15-page toolkit, produced by the education committee of the union local’s Palestinian Solidarity Working Group (a laugh in itself), even calls out York University for its “complicity in Israel’s occupation of Palestine.”

It is rife with lies and both anti-Israel and antisemitic tropes, one-sided allegations, and oppression talk by the radical pronoun set who are really supposed to be representing the bargaining rights of contract faculty, teaching assistants, graduate assistants, part-time librarians and archivists at York.

The toolkit contends Palestine is a “human issue,” an “arts issue,” a “society issue,” a “cultural issue,” and – get this – a “feminist issue.”

The only thing they don’t mention is an LGBT issue.

I’m not surprised considering these progressives are absolutely blind and ignorant to the cruelty, homophobia and misogyny Hamas leaders are responsible for towards Gazans and Israelis.

The toolkit urges members to “refuse the current status quo” that encourages a “culture of fear and academic silence” around Palestinian solidarity.

It suggests members join the campus-wide teach-ins on Palestine and develop teaching materials, based on the resources provided, to share with students.

”Following a long and brutal 75-year settler-colonial occupation of Palestine, we are witnessing something more horrific than the 1948 Nakba (The Catastrophe),” the toolkit says, inviting educators to challenge the “violences of the dominant world order.”

In addition to the lies and hyperbole, the union conveniently ignores that Hamas has ruled Gaza since 2005 and that this all started with the brutal atrocities on innocent Israelis of Oct. 7, equivalent in relative numbers to another Holocaust.

The toolkit states unequivocally that the union will support and represent any members who speak out or write about “all forms of violence and oppression” by Israel (of course).

It also says York University is “complicit” in Israel’s occupation of Palestine (even though there is no such thing as a Palestinian and Hamas, not Israel, governs Gaza).

Asked for a comment, York spokesman Yanni Dagonas said while the university is committed to support and uphold freedom of expression, it have advised the community that it does not find the CUPE toolkit to be in accordance “with the rightful expectations of the university as an employer.”

Dagonas says the university has reached out to the union to discuss the matter.

The union countered with a Feb. 1 e-mail criticizing York administrators for “overreach and intimidation” in their attempt to police any discourse on Palestine “that is not in alignment with the University’s position.”

CUPE 3903 chairperson Stephanie Latella says coverage of the toolkit has incited “abusive behaviour towards CUPE” and her in particular. She says her email account has been “inundated” with hundreds of unwelcome and inappropriate messages.

She indicated she was not willing to meet with school administrators at this time.

No surprise there but as most activists like Latella have proven, they can write, produce and say the most egregious things about the Jewish state but are downright petulant when they get pushback for it.

That said, Latella and her union claim that York University invests in arms-manufacturing corporations supplying weapons to Israel and has economic relationships with various “Zionist cultural institutions” such as Hillel, as well as Israeli universities. They encourage a boycott of all of them.

Antisemites tend to use “Zionist” instead of “Jew” to preempt accusations of antisemitism. But Hillel is a Jewish organization.

The toolkit says the union rejects  the “dangerous conflation” of anti-Zionism and antisemitism and includes some bafflegab to support its claims.

I think they’re rather confused. If one denies Jews the right to their homeland and suggests a boycott of Israeli corporations and institutions—as they have in this toolkit — that’s antisemitism in its most basic form.

In one paragraph, this ridiculous toolkit claims Israel is carrying out “genocidal violence” made possible by material support of Western “imperialist nations” such as the Canadian “settler state.”

I guess it didn’t dawn on the radicals who wrote this that they are gladly taking money in our “imperialist nation” and occupying a residence in our “settler state.”

The best comes when they suggest educators check into the resource list of “teacher-activist” Javier DaVila, the Toronto District School Board equity employee who has been twice forced on leave for his obsessive anti-Israel rhetoric. He has also been the subject of a series of complaints to the Ontario College of Teachers.

I first exposed this hateful man in 2021, Subsequent to my reports, a series of equally hateful unions launched a petition trying to have me removed from my job at the Toronto Sun.

He has a GoFundMe site that has raised $64,000 for his legal woes so far. 

Another recommended resource — which truly shows the great disconnect of these progressive unions — is the Palestinian Feminist Collective’s Palestine Digital Action Toolkit.

I wasn’t aware that feminism was celebrated in Gaza under Hamas.

In short, the union’s toolkit would be laughable if not for their obsessive Jew hatred, which is not the least bit funny.

It is clear from the union’s repeated focus on the “myths of Zionism” and the need to read resources that challenge “Israel’s independence story” that anything short of eradicating the Jewish state would not be satisfactory for these union haters.


  • Sue-Ann Levy

    A two-time investigative reporting award winner and nine-time winner of the Toronto Sun’s Readers Choice award for news writer, Sue-Ann Levy made her name for advocating the poor, the homeless, the elderly in long-term care and others without a voice and for fighting against the striking rise in anti-Semitism and the BDS movement across Canada.