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Affidavits filed as part of the University of Toronto’s injunction request against the “Little Gaza” encampment allege that antisemitic hate, vandalism, harassment and violence have been the norm since the occupation began.

The university is asking the Ontario Court of Justice for an injunction to clear the encampment. A May 29 filing from the university contains several affidavits from school officials.

The allegations have not been proven in court. One of them, filed by campus security assistant director Ryan Dow, alleges a woman was violently assaulted outside the encampment while she was putting up a poster about hostages on the encampment fence following Sabbath prayers.

“While the complainant was walking away and taking a video, an unknown female is reported to have grabbed her by her hair, spun her around, and punched her in the face repeatedly, before fleeing the scene,” reads the affidavit. 

Dow also claimed that a group of pro-Israel individuals were attacked by protesters who yelled antisemitic slurs including “kike,” “baby killer,” and “white supremacist,” and told them to “go back to Poland.”

The affidavit said protesters reportedly hit one of the individuals with drumsticks, while another was swarmed and repeatedly punched. One of the individuals also had his Israeli flag ripped away. A protester also allegedly made a slicing motion across his neck, while another said, “I will kill your bitch white ass.”

Another account included in Dow’s affidavit comes from an adjunct faculty member, and describes a near-violent incident when he and other individuals went to the encampment. The faculty member was allegedly told by protesters to “get away and go be with the Jews.”

The affidavit provided by U of T vice-provost of students Sandy Welsh alleges further incidents of harassment. 

Welsh provided an email from the university’s weddings and events coordinator who noted that a bride who was set to have her wedding at Hart House, campus venue, was confronted by three or four female activists who screamed at her for planning “to have a f***ing marriage in a genocide institute.”

Welsh also disclosed a complaint she received from an individual about messages on the encampment stating “zionists go back to Europe,” “glory to all martyrs,” and “burn Tel Aviv down.” 

Dow’s affidavit also mentioned reports and complaints about several disturbing signs and messages promoting and condoning violence against Jews and Israelis. 

He disclosed a complaint he received about large banners reading “this is the intifada” and “free Palestine by any means necessary.” Another complaint from a community member presented by Dow alleged signs near the campus reading “death to the Jews, Hamas for Prime Minister” along with “U of T for Gaza.”

Dow also attested to community members and campus security officials seeing posters approximately 100 to 200 meters from the encampment, saying “We need another Holocaust” and “Jews belong in the sea, Palestine will be free.” 

His affidavit also mentioned several instances of pro-Palestinian vandalism on the campus, including the spray painting of red triangles, a symbol of Hamas’ military wing.

Dow also included a post from “OccupyUofT,” a group that has had a prominent role in the encampment, in his affidavit. The post in question claimed that “all Zionists are terrorists” and “all Zionists are racists.”  

In an interview with True North, B’nai Brith Canada research manager Richard Roberson said the allegations disclosed in the affidavits are “deeply concerning and deeply troubling.”

“They represent a pattern of escalating antisemitic conduct and a lack of concern for the rules and authorities on campuses,” he noted. “Encampments across the country have served the role of fostering, fomenting and inciting antisemitism.”  

B’nai Brith was granted intervener status in the injunction proceedings.

Roberson noted that what is happening at the University of Toronto and across other campuses in Canada are prime examples of how anti-Zionism is serving as a “dog whistle” for antisemitism.

“The horrific language in the signs and the chants coming out of these encampments are evidence of the continued deterioration and the emboldened nature with which these protesters… are willing to openly target Jewish people,” he said.

“Holocaust denial, Holocaust distortion, undue Holocaust comparisons, calling for the extermination of Jewish people or of the State of Israel – this is antisemitism.”

University of Toronto encampment organizers could not be reached for comment.

In a responding motion record, encampment organizers filed their own affidavits, where they claimed the encampment has remained peaceful.

 “The University has recognized the encampment has remained a peaceful protest and that it is a form of expressive activity,” reads one of the affidavits. It cites an email from Welsh stating that encampment organizers would not face repercussions “as long as the encampment remains peaceful.”