As I have previously reported, Palestinian solidarity activists staged a peaceful protest at York University on November 20, 2019 when former soldiers of the Israeli military – including an ex-commando from an IDF death squad – staged a propaganda exercise on campus.
The propaganda exercise was organized by Herut Canada, the Canadian affiliate of a far-right, racist political party in Israel. Thugs from the violent Jewish Defence League attended the event and acted as enforcers for Herut.
Pro-Palestinian protesters, led by Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA), were met with violence and threats of violence, as well as racist, misogynistic and homophobic abuse.
Predictably, rather than denounce the real perpetrators, pro-Israel politicians and lobby groups blamed the victims and claimed, without an iota of objective, credible evidence, that peaceful Palestinian solidarity activists had initiated violence and had engaged in anti-Semitic conduct.
Throughout this entire fiasco, York University’s administration, and particularly York University President Rhonda Lenton, have issued statements which were at best ambiguous and which, at worst, seemed to place the blame on the victims.
Under intense pressure from right-wing politicians and lobby groups, York University’s administration eventually suspended the campus booking privileges of both Herut and SAIA, as if both parties were culpable for the fiasco.
Then, the university’s administration issued a letter to both Herut and SAIA proposing a mediation between them, with a view to lifting the suspension of their campus booking privileges:
In the interim, I have been retained as legal counsel to various representatives and members of SAIA.
In my capacity as legal counsel to SAIA, I have sent the following letter to the responsible officials at York University complaining of their treatment of SAIA and demanding that Herut and the JDL be permanently banned from York University’s campus:
My clients will not be deterred by the vitriol of Canada’s pro-Israel propagandists.
It is time for our academic institutions to stand up for human rights and to end their complicity in the silencing of Israel’s critics.