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  • Allied Voices for Israel (AVI)

University of Toronto must take action after vile students’ union statement

TORONTO (Oct. 12, 2023) – Allied Voices for Israel (AVI) and StandWithUs Canada are appalled by the tone deaf and pernicious statement posted by the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) in response to the recent heinous acts of terror committed by Hamas against innocent Israeli civilians.

It is highly concerning that a body elected to represent the University of Toronto Mississauga’s (UTM) diverse student population would issue a statement that not only condones terrorism against a historically oppressed minority, but celebrates it.

That the UTMSU decided to stand in solidarity with civilians “affected by the conflict in Gaza and around its borders” without mentioning the over 1,000 innocent Israelis that were slaughtered is an insult to Jewish and Israeli students at UTM. This statement can be perceived in no way but as a celebration of the murder, torture, and dehumanization of Israeli civilians. Celebrating these horrific terror attacks perpetrated by Hamas in the name of Palestinian “solidarity and decolonization” immorally justifies and glorifies them.

Furthermore, given that two Canadian citizens were murdered in the attacks, the whitewashing of Hamas’s crimes in this statement is an affront to Canadian values and ethics.

It is quite telling when a group needs to insert a disclaimer that it “by no means justifies or accepts the killing of innocent people” and that its statement is “not antisemitic.” These clarifications indicate a clear intention to justify or accept the killing of innocent people and are absolutely antisemitic.

In our view, this demonstrates the UMTSU’s justification of the raping of women and girls, the murder of innocent civilians and beheading of babies, the torture and kidnapping of families, unarmed youth, and the elderly, and other Nazi-style tactics that were employed by Hamas this weekend.

According to Jesse Primerano, Executive Director of StandWithUs Canada, “What’s particularly unsettling is that the statement has the potential to amplify the spread of anti-Jewish propaganda that leads to the targeting and harassment of Jewish students and their allies on campus. While the UMTSU has a history of failing the people they claim to represent, validating the barbaric murder, kidnapping and torture of innocent people is a new low.”

AVI and StandWithUs Canada call on the UTMSU to remove this statement, apologize to all UTM students for its gross behaviour and negligence, and take action towards better supporting UTM students.

As an academic institution, UTM bears the responsibility of halting disinformation. It must immediately disavow UTMSU’s promotion of senseless and vile hatred that is putting a stain on its name and reputation.

“We demand that the UTM administration takes accountability for the actions of its students and ensures a safe space for Jewish and/or Israeli students and their allies on campus. It is time to make clear that anti-Jewish hatred goes against the values of the University of Toronto and has no place on its campus or among its campus community,” said Daniel Koren, Executive Director of Allied Voices for Israel (AVI).

Given the important precedent McGill University set this week after revoking campus privileges for an anti-Israel student club that shared a similar statement online, UTM must take a strong stand against the glorification of terrorism – now.

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