EDMONTON (Nov. 21, 2023) – Allied Voices for Israel (AVI) is calling on the University of Alberta, McMaster University, and the University of Toronto to hold their faculty and professors accountable after engaging in rhetoric that in our view promotes misinformation regarding the barbaric nature of the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks.
At all three campuses, professors and faculty have contributed to creating a hostile campus environment for Jewish students and Canadian students of conscience alike.
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As you may have seen, alongside our partners in the Jewish Campus Coalition, AVI recently issued an open letter to the University of Toronto, calling on administrators to hold Professor Uahikea Maile accountable after he characterized the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks as “anticolonial resistance.”
An excerpt from our joint statement with the Jewish Campus Coalition
Despite pleas from Jewish students and human rights organizations, Professor Maile doubled down on this rhetoric when he later stated that “the breaking free of Gazans…was an expression and a movement and a feeling of jubilation” that made him feel very “energized.”
Professor Maile has not issued an apology for referring to a series of brutal crimes against humanity – including the raping, kidnapping and murder of women and children – as jubilant. Students at the University of Toronto are still forced to confront him and his highly disturbing views on campus.
At the University of Alberta, Associate Professor Joseph Hill has been openly promoting farcical conspiracy theories and liking/reposting content that experts would agree is antisemitic (such as replacing the Jewish Star of David with a Nazi swastika).
A tweet liked by Professor Joseph Hill of the University of Alberta
The University of Alberta just took a strong stand for human rights in removing Samantha Pearson as its Director of the Sexual Assault Centre after she questioned whether sexual violence took place on Oct. 7 despite the horrifying and overwhelming evidence. Why is it not making a similar stand for a professor who is questioning the scope of Hamas brutality?
At the University of McMaster, a faculty member by the name of Ghada Sasa has organized rallies directly targeting Jewish institutions such as the Miles Nadal JCC in Toronto. In one interview, Sasa insisted that Hamas “wasn’t trying to kill civilians” during its massacre of innocent civilians and shared propaganda that Israel, not Hamas, was “killing” innocent party-revellers at the Nova Festival.
A tweet from McMaster faculty member Ghada Sasa
No credible media organization or journalist has repeated this dubious claim, which has thus far been shared by far-right neo-Nazi sites and far-left anti-Israel activists.
A change.org petition demanding that McMaster denounce Sasa has already garnered over 2,000 signatures. According to the petition, Sasa has been under fire for her outlandish and offensive views on campus.
“When professors promote their hateful views about Israel and/or Judaism in the classroom, it emboldens their students to follow suit and has historically led to the targeting of Jewish students and their allies,” said Daniel Koren, Founder and Executive Director of AVI. “Professors who disseminate propaganda and offensive theories online and in the classroom are doing a disservice to academia, their students, and Israelis and Palestinians alike.”