York U protest and counter protest Feb 12

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miles
York U protest and counter protest Feb 12

so there i was at york u today and at 2pm the Pro-Palestinian community came out in force to protest against Israeli policies at about 205 an equal number of pro-Israeli students walked into Vari Hall.

The sides were kept apart by York Security -- sort of like a UN enforced de-militerized zone

I saw babblers on both sides today protesting for the palestinians and the israelis. Interesting that I did not see any police at the rally. Rather I only saw the York U rent a cops.

Afterwords the pro palestinian faction marched to the foundation office. The pro israeli side stayed in the same spot.

I only saw reps from one "adult" organizations there. at the end i could have sworn that a fellow babbler got into a oral argument with frank d from bnai brith

was anyone else at york u today?

Unionist

Somebody please tell me what this is about:

[url=">http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090213.wyork13/BNSt...
Push to oust York student leaders stirs ethnic tensions[/url]

 

johnpauljones

I was a guest speaker at a class yesterday and went to the student cetnre to get some food after my lecture. When i was there  i saw a bunch of people with flags heading towards Vari Hall so i followed.

 

What i saw was interesting. a peacefull protest of kids passionate about the issues. One interesting thing was that the Israeli side (the were divided) were chanting and had signs that said Jews need not fear.

 

Unionist I wonder if those signs were as a direct result of the protest outside of the Hillel office.

I did see some of my good friends including dan, hamam and maha leading the chants of Israel out of Palestine.

After the rally the pro palestinian side moved off to march on the office of the foundation to protest. I was not at the foundation office so I am not sure what they were protesting.

aka Mycroft

I've just received the following statement:

Quote:
Please Post Widely*
Public Statement on the Recent Surge of Anti-Palestine Activism at York University

12 February 2009

During the past two weeks, Palestinian and pro-Palestinian students at York (mainly members of Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA)) have experienced a wave of hostility, intimidation, bullying and racism, directed at them by members of the groups “Hasbara Fellowships” and “Hillel.” A number of the members of these groups are associated with the “Jewish Defense League”, a notoriously racist group which follows the teachings of the racist Rabbi Meir Kahane. These groups also expressed unequivocal support for the Israeli massacres of the Palestinian civilians in Gaza during the recent last onslaught in December-January 2009.

This wave affects SAIA’s regular activities and affects SAIA members on campus, even when they are not engaged in political activities. This toxic and unsafe environment adversely impacts SAIA members and their supporters so much so that many of them try to move around campus in groups, lest the pro-Israel groups attack them if they are seen on campus alone. The methods of intimidation used against SAIA members take different forms. Examples of the bullying tactics include:

  1. Sexual and sexist remarks targeted at women members. Women members of SAIA are frequently harassed, especially when they are alone or in small groups. They are subject to various sexist social practices, including the use of intentionally demeaning sexist expressions like “babe” and “baby.”
  2. Racist remarks targeted at people of color. For example, one member of Hasbara approached a woman member of SAIA who was wearing a kuffieyeh (Palestinian scarf), and told her that he “knew a guy that wore it before but then he blew himself up”. This association of Palestinians with bombs and explosives is an expression of racism, and an intentional act of intimidation.
  3. Physical intimidation. The members of the pro-Israel groups get very close to SAIA members, and interfere with their personal space. They shove cameras and recording devices in the faces of SAIA members in an intimidating manner.
  4. Orchestrating commotion. Recently, a pro-Israel student falsely alleged that a SAIA member had assaulted her. The police were called and the allegation was dropped.
  5. Destruction of SAIA materials.

As part of this surge in the anti-Palestine activism, pro-Israel groups organized a counter demonstration to a demonstration called for by SAIA. The main aim of the demonstration was to protest York University’s refusal to condemn the Israeli attacks on Palestinian academic institutions in the latest military campaign against the people of Gaza – attacks that were condemned by several universities worldwide, but not by any Canadian university.

This counter demonstration was led by a number of agitators belonging to extreme right-wing Zionist organizations. Those agitators are not members of the York community, and they come to York campus for the sole purpose of creating provocations and a toxic atmosphere for the Palestine activists.  Palestinian and pro-Palestine students at York have been subject to intimidation and harassment for many years.

Historically, as elaborated in the report from the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) from June 2008, administrators at York have been implicated in harassment and intimidation of pro-Palestine students. In addition to the high-profile cases described in the CAUT report, there have been many episodes of on-campus incidents that York administrators and security personnel have outright ignored. Even in instances of direct physical violence against women, York’s security apparatus has failed to respond to official, and multiple, complaints.  In view of the recent developments, SAIA demands that York University provide adequate protection to its students and uphold safety on campus.

It is the University’s obligation to secure a safe environment for all students to express their legitimate opinions. Failure to provide this protection violates the very essence of the university, its raison d’etre. Further, SAIA will hold the University responsible for any attacks on SAIA members because of the failure to provide adequate protection.

 

 

johnpauljones

I could have sworn that over the last year or so I have heard the same from the Jewish Organizations about the other side

aka Mycroft

johnpauljones wrote:
I could have sworn that over the last year or so I have heard the same from the Jewish Organizations about the other side

Isn't the JDL active at York as well as Betar? Don't both these groups have historical terrorist links (Betar having spawned Lehi and Irgun)? But no, I can't imagine how fascist groups organizing at York University could possibly lead to the intimidation of Palestinian students - just as extremists wearing IDF and "Israel police" t-shirts could not possibly be the least bit intimidating. 

josh

How the right-wing Israeli press is playing it:

 

Another anti-Semitic incident took place in a Canadian university Thursday when over 100 anti-Israel activists surrounded a campus building belonging to the Jewish student club 'Hillel' at York University, Toronto. The activists pounded on office doors while yelling out racial slurs.

. . . .

An anti-Israel march is also scheduled for Friday, and 'Hillel' leaders have called on Jewish students to arrive with Israeli flags in order to show support for the country.

But anti-Semitism also took its toll outside of the campus. A Jewish student reported receiving a phone call during which an unidentified person threatened his life and those of his family members if he were to continue his pro-Israeli activities in the university.

Bert Camp, of York Police, said the case was being investigated by the hate crimes unit because the threatened student is a well-known pro-Israeli figure on campus.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3671094,00.html

 

Michelle

Such bullshit.  That same "news" organization claimed that Judy and the other 7 women who occupied the Israeli Consulate in Toronto were chanting "racist" and "anti-semitic" slurs. 

Star Spangled C...
Ghislaine

Michelle wrote:
Such bullshit.  That same "news" organization claimed that Judy and the other 7 women who occupied the Israeli Consulate in Toronto were chanting "racist" and "anti-semitic" slurs. 

 Yeah, there is a [url=http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2009/02/12/... post [/url] up at the National Post witten by one of the Zionist students slanted exactly the same way, not surprisingly:

Quote:
Just as Toronto Police were arriving on campus, one pro-Palestinian student stood at the glass door of the Hillel, visible to the students in the Hillel, with his Kaffeiyah scarf pulled all the way up to his eyes. This is a tactic used by terrorist organizations such as Hamas and al-Qaeda to intimidate others, and quite frankly I was completely taken off-guard by the sight of this student and at that point fear began to trickle into me as well. This is something that goes beyond free speech and being anti-Israel and is tantamount to racism and discrimination. As the police arrived they stated that in a situation like this there is nothing they can do as they did not feel that there was an actual threat of violence, however, it was their belief that the possibility remained. They then told us that because they could not stand watch at the door all night, that it was highly recommended that we vacate the lounge immediately and they would assist us with safe passage through the crowd so as to prevent anything from occurring. And as 20 Jewish student walked single file through this unruly mob, they were pointing, laughing and chanting that we were "Racists on Campus!"

 

Lord Palmerston

There seems to be a concerted effort to conflate "Jewish students" at York University with the rightwing and how "Jewish students" all opposed the strike.  Indeed the Hillel organization - the organization that purports to speak for "Jewish students" tilts very much to the right and the Hillel official quoted in the Globe article basically concedes there's an overlap between Hillel activists and the York Not Hostage types.

I personally have found the average Jewish student couldn't care less about Hillel and younger Jews are less "Zionist" than their parents.  Those who do identify as "Zionist" however tend to be rabid fanatics who think any pro-Palestinian activism creates a hostile climate to Jews.  I'll bet the vast majority of them are parochial school graduates.

 

Lord Palmerston

I'm curious...are there any "progressive" or even moderate Zionist groups at York? 

johnpauljones

I don't think that the JDL or Betar are at York. i thought that Hillel was the Jewish Group at York.

 

It is like saying Bnai Brith is active on campus. BB has no staff let alone no student groups

 

Friends is firing staff so including their campus staff person so they have no representation.

aka Mycroft

johnpauljones wrote:

I don't think that the JDL or Betar are at York. i thought that Hillel was the Jewish Group at York.

 

Orna Hollander is based at York University, isn't she? She's the former leader of Betar Canada and now heads the Canadian Centre for Israel Activism and is active in organizing on campus, particularly at York.

Hasbara has co-sponsored events at York with Betar so I don't see how you can say Betar isn't active on campus. 

Here's an article by Hollander about activity at York campus.

johnpauljones

Thanks AKA

I've never heard of this Orna person. If they are anything they are a small fringe group.

As far as I know the "Jewish" group is Hilel.

aka Mycroft

A small fringe group? Hollander is head of the main pro-Israel inter-campus coordinating organization and works closely with Hasbara Fellowships (through which the Israeli foreign ministry is pouring money onto North American campuses as part of its propaganda efforts).

Star Spangled C...

I thought Hasbara Fellowships was a branch of Aish Hatorah....

aka Mycroft

Star Spangled Canadian wrote:
I thought Hasbara Fellowships was a branch of Aish Hatorah....

"Based in New York, it was started in 2001 by Aish HaTorah in conjunction with the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs"

johnpauljones

aka Mycroft wrote:
A small fringe group? Hollander is head of the main pro-Israel inter-campus coordinating organization and works closely with Hasbara Fellowships (through which the Israeli foreign ministry is pouring money onto North American campuses as part of its propaganda efforts).

 The main pro israel group.. says who?

Hillel is the main Jewish organization on campus -- actually on all Toronto campuses. 

 

With respect this Orna may bill herself and her small group as the main organization but me thinks that the truth is vastly different.

aka Mycroft

I believe Hillel works with these groups and their supporters are members of Hillel. I'm afraid that Hillel has moved away from being a non-partisan cultural group to being a highly political and very right wing one.

Lord Palmerston

I had a look at the York Hillel facebook group (370 members).  Of the profiles I've been able to read, it wasn't monolithic but it definitely tilted right (lots of Hillel members were part of anti-strike and anti-YFS groups).  Most seemed to be either Russian or parochial school grads, and seemed to major largely in business or religious studies.