TORONTO (Oct. 26, 2023) – Allied Voices for Israel (AVI) and StandWithUs Canada are calling on the University of Toronto (U of T) to ensure that faculty members and professors who espoused rhetoric justifying violent “resistance” directly following the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attacks be censured. Professors must be made aware that such rhetoric has no place in the university’s academic spaces.
U of T must issue a statement denouncing its professors’ posts and make it clear it does not support the celebration or glorification of terrorism – immediately. In our view, these professors failed to act in accordance with the university’s principles of diversity, equity and inclusion for all members.
In a bid to galvanize Canadians of conscience to ensure that our academic institutions are safe and free, we urge members of our community to join our campaign by writing to the University of Toronto.
Now more than ever, when professors support views that can appear to justify acts of terror – whether on campus or online – it has grave consequences and directly affects their students. For Jewish students, victims of terrorism, and others, attending classes right now with professors who appear to justify Hamas “resistance” efforts is both unconscionable and terrifying.
Professors at U of T have either made direct statements or reposted statements that appeared to justify the Hamas genocidal terrorism that left over 1,400 innocent civilians dead, saying it was “an act of Palestinian anticolonial resistance,” that you must be “willing to support Palestinian resistance when it really matters,” that Palestinian “decolonization is land back,” and not to refer to “resistance” as “terrorism.”
These are not innocuous statements – they clearly can be interpreted to be justifying the massacre of unarmed civilians. Jewish students, victims of terrorism, and U of T students of conscience are both terrified and mortified by the appalling and hostile views of their professors. Several Canadians were killed in the Hamas attacks and thousands of Jewish Canadians have family members who were kidnapped, killed, or injured.
Now that both McGill University and York University have set precedents by reprimanding student clubs and unions over statements that appear to support Hamas terrorism, the University of Toronto must ask itself – are we going to hold students to a higher standard than our professors? With all their years of experience?
It has been the proliferation of what can appear to be support for anti-Jewish attacks professors – both online and in the classroom – that may lead to the harassment of Jewish students and normalized this phenomenon on campus.
If we want to make meaningful change and establish a peaceful and safe environment on campus for all students, Jewish, Muslim, Israeli, and Palestinian alike, professors who appear to justify the Hamas attacks of Oct. 7 must be censured, and reminded that this type of disinformation must remain distant from U of T’s academic spaces.
Please join us in calling on U of T to follow York and McGill’s example and ensure professors and faculty understand there is a zero tolerance policy on glorifying terrorism and anti-Jewish violence – both in the classroom and online.