Source: Facebook

A leaked document from York University’s politics department claims that supporting Israel’s existence “upholds global white supremacy.”

The statement in question was first shared online by Quillette journalist Jonathan Kay.

“Zionism is a settler colonial project and ethno-religious ideology in service of a system of Western imperialism that upholds global white supremacy,” claims the document.

Zionism is typically defined as “the movement for the self-determination and statehood for the Jewish people in their ancestral homeland, the land of Israel.”

Most of Israel’s population is not of European descent: Israeli Arabs make up between 20-25% of the population, while Mizrahi Jews, who originate from the Middle East, make up 40-45% of the population.  Ashkenazi Jews, whose ancestry can be traced back to Europe, make up 30% of the population.

The document also discusses the department’s “Palestine Solidarity Committee” as well as “anti-Palestinian racism.”

“On Nov. 14, 2023 the Palestine Solidarity Committee was approved by the department of politics faculty council at York University,” reads the department’s document. The committee was given a mandate to “develop departmental policy/protocol to define and address anti-Palestinian, Islamophobic, and anti-Arab racism.”

The York University department of politics did not respond to a request for comment.

York University’s administration distanced itself from the document.

“The views expressed in the report are those of the authors and do not represent the views of the university,” said York, adding that it “continues to value our relationship with our international academic partners in the Middle East including those in Israel.”

The university also noted that it “stands firmly behind our commitment to support and uphold academic freedom, and freedom of expression within the limits of the law, including the principles established in the President’s Initiative on Open and Respectful Dialogue.”

“These protections affirm the right of individual community members to express political views including pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel views,” the university noted.

York also said that “hate and racism of any kind are not tolerated, and this includes both anti-Palestinian racism and antisemitism.”

The document went on to define “anti-Palestinian racism” as “the beliefs, attitudes, actions, practices, and behaviors of individuals and institutions that devalue, minimize, and marginalize the full humanity and dignity of Palestinians.”

“It is the systematic and structural denial of the Palestinian right to self-determination and national liberation, and the collective existence of the Palestinian people, while upholding Zionism,” it adds.

The document also says that disciplinary measures against those who speak out against Israel are racist.

“Anti-Palestinian racism also includes censoring those standing in solidarity with Palestine and Palestinians,” the document reads.

In response to the ordeal, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs said on X that it appreciated the York University administration “confirming that the harmful views of a committee report in one of their academic departments do not represent those of the university.”

This is just the latest in a string of concerning incidents at York following Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

In the days following Oct. 7, York University student unions said the attacks against “so-called Israel” were “justified and necessary.” They also shared calls for intifada (armed rebellion).

A York University instructor also made the news for boycotting classes to protest school’s condemnation of Hamas, and a York CUPE union issued a toolkit telling its members they have an “intellectual imperative” to stand up for Palestine.

As previously reported by True North’s Sue-Ann Levy, the toolkit contended that Palestine is a “human issue,” an “arts issue,” a “society issue,” a “cultural issue,” and a “feminist issue.”