Source: Sue-Ann Levy

Since the brutal atrocities of Oct 7, they’ve been stalked on social media, doxxed, confronted on campus and have experienced several death threats.

The three highly articulate female university students who spoke at a well-organized Canadian Women Against Antisemitism (CWAA) rally Sunday all said — unequivocally — that their university administrators have done nothing about it and, in fact, have allowed it to fester.

The first event of the newly formed CWAA – founded by women’s advocate Esther Mordechai – drew about 3.000 women and men to Queen’s Park and a variety of speakers including Conservative MP and deputy leader Melissa Lantsman, independent MP Kevin Vuong, Progressive Conservative MPPs Goldie Ghamari and Robin Martin, and Deborah Lyons, Canada’s special envoy charged with fighting antisemitism.

At the first pro-Palestinian protest on campus after Oct. 7, Laura Barkel, a fourth-year student at Toronto Metropolitan University, was grabbed by someone who yelled into her face, “You dirty Jew, too bad Hitler didn’t finish what he started or you disgusting Zionist wouldn’t be alive today.”

While subsequently being interviewed on campus by United Jewish Appeal, she said another woman spat in her face and hit her on the head. The assault was “completely unprovoked,” she said.

“Time and again police have had to be called to keep Jewish students safe and de-escalate the stressful situation (on campus),” Barkel said. “These are just a few instances of many.”

She said she’s been physically assaulted, verbally attacked, and hit by objects and people’s fists. She added that she’s received death threats and threats of sexual assault.

“I’ve had photos of me edited with guns and knives in my chest similar to what Israeli women’s bodies went through on Oct. 7,” she said.

When she returned to campus from volunteering in Israel last month, her photograph was shared online with the tag, “The Zionist.”

Some said there was no way she was Jewish because “her nose wasn’t big enough.”

Despite all of this, she said she found a “newfound strength” in her and has become a writer for the Times of Israel and has joined other pro-Israel advocacy organizations.

Samantha Kline, 22, said she too has experienced many cases of antisemitism as a student at Toronto’s OCAD University – acts perpetrated by students, faculty and the administration.

Antisemitism on campus, already an issue, has “significantly intensified” since Oct. 7. By Feb. 8, the antisemitic messages on her school stairwells were “intolerable,” she said.

In response, she said she took it upon herself to “paint peaceful messages” to cover the antisemitic ones.

In mid-February, she said she received photos of graffiti with death threats targeting her. 

“This shattered any sense of safety or belonging I once felt at school,” she said.

Since then she has been unable to attend school due to fears for her life.

OCAD has done nothing, she charged.

“The school’s silence has been perceived as compliance,” Kline said. 

“It’s become painfully clear that zero tolerance towards discrimination on campus applies to everyone but the Jews.”

If university administrations are allowing hate crimes to exist, it won’t be long before this moves to the workplace, she reasoned.

“What starts on campus does not end on campus,” Kline said.

Lyons, the government’s antisemitism representative, told the crowd she’s “so sorry” that they didn’t get it right on the antisemitism file but after listening to the three women students, she said she’s confident there are leaders to take the Jewish community through these times.

She admitted her role is “much more difficult” than she ever thought it would be.

Shira Litvack, a fourth-year student studying “gender violence,” had to leave the University of Ottawa at the end of October after she too was subjected to “serious threats” for her safety.

The 21-year-old said these came after she tried to stand up to the antisemitism on campus and her fellow Jewish students – “taunts and threats” that came fast and furiously after Oct. 7. 

She begged the administration to provide some security to Jewish students, even something as simple as a room where such students could safely go.

It never happened and that same day she got “targeted death threats,” she said. Even though she spoke to police and campus security, all of it fell on deaf ears.

“Universities across Canada, you have failed us,” she said to sustained applause.

You have shown your greed, your apathy, your disinterest in our livelihoods … you have allowed jihadists to rule your campuses.”

Litvack said she’s “deeply disturbed” but not surprised by the rampant antisemitic vitriol.

“This war didn’t create something … it was only the straw to break the camel’s back,” she said.

“I’ve dealt with antisemitism since I enrolled at the University of Ottawa … it was finally the opportunity for people to lift their cloaks and become who they always were.”


  • 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.