You are here:  Home  >  BDS  >  Current Article

Jewish Community Alert: York University Faculty Association Executive Endorses Divestment (Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies)

By   /   February 17, 2016  /   No Comments

    Print       Email
Jewish Community Alert
York University Faculty Association Executive Endorses Divestment
Toronto – 2.17.16: Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC) is issuing a Jewish Community Alert cautioning Jewish students from choosing to attend York University, should the union’s Stewards’ Council support the union executive’s endorsement of boycott initiatives aligned with discrimination against Israel and the Jewish people.
This Alert comes on the heels of Friday’s endorsement by the Executive of the York University Faculty Association (YUFA) of ‘#YUDivest’- a cover for the anti-semitic and discriminatory Boycott Divestment and Sanction campaign against the Jewish people.  The campaign is initiated by Students against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) – an organization known for its anti-semitic and anti-Israel positions.
In a comprehensive pre-vote letter to YUFA President Richard Wellen, FSWC President and CEO Avi Benlolo encouraged YUFA to consider the following:
  • The antisemitic nature of boycott campaigns against Jewish people;
  • YUFA’s mission statement/Objects/Constitution may not allow for endorsement of boycotts under union business;
  • YUFA may be voiding its Equity statement on inclusivity of staff;
  • YUFA may be contravening the Ontario Human Rights Code, particularly by enhancing a poisoned environment and potential existence of discrimination, exclusion and a toxic environment.
  • YUFA may be contravening the Ontario Business Discriminatory Act.
According to Mr. Benlolo, “YUFA’s 51-member Stewards’ Council still has a chance to counter the Executive in a Council vote on March 4th.  They may not realize that this boycott movement, couched in the language of human rights, is in reality a malicious campaign that targets and singles out the Jewish community as a collective; demonizes Israel and Israelis; applies unfair double standards to Israel at the exclusion of other nations in the Middle East; and rejects the legitimacy of Israel as the only Jewish State in the world – and therefore incites discrimination.”
According to early reports, YUFA’s Executive passed the resolution on February 12th and will bring the matter to Stewards’ Council vote in March.  In a subsequent note to Dr. Wellen, Mr. Benlolo asked, “why not simply submit a resolution that condemns investment in arms, rather than align York’s entire faculty with the profoundly anti-semitic Students against Israeli Apartheid organization? What is gained by this, other than to sow further tension and hostility on campus?”
According to a faculty member who wishes to remain anonymous, “I might now feel uncomfortable participating in many university activities out of fear of being discriminated against just because I am Jewish and I support Israel.  This endorsement could create an atmosphere at the university where I am afraid to walk around and interact with other community members, administrators, faculty and students in a free and fair manner without being judged or discriminated against.  I publicly disavow any association with the YUFA Executive and its anti-semitic and discriminatory decision.”
It is refreshing to note that a number of York University faculty, including Dr. Carl Ehrlich have been working overtime to oppose this resolution.  In a memo to YUFA Stewards, Dr. Erlich wrote, “While I do not doubt the innocent motives of most of those who have signed on to the #YUDivest petition, the fact of the matter is that whether we include a disclaimer or not, the perception of our membership and of the community at large will be that YUFA and its associated faculty members support BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions).”
“As York’s faculty Executive has now joined a censorship campaign against Israel and the Jewish people, coupled with the controversial cleansing of Israel mural hanging in the Student Center and reinforced by a climate which neglects student and faculty complaints of exclusion and a toxic environment, it is with great sadness that we are cautioning Jewish students from attending this university at the present time,” said Mr. Benlolo.
“We have tried nearly everything to bring the university and its organs to recognize that we are concerned for the safety and security of its Jewish students and faculty.  As a York Alumnus myself, I am disappointed with the Board of Governors and faculty.  Never in my career in the Jewish community have I seen such a discriminating environment against the Jewish citizens of this city and country.”

NOTE: In order to discourage York University faculty from supporting this anti-semitic campaign, FSWC will distribute this release and its letter to YUFA to as many faculty members as possible, to the media and to the community at large.  FSWC encourages the community to reinforce this educational campaign by contacting York University faculty.

Stacey L. Starkman
Director, Communications and External Relations
Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies
5075 Yonge Street, Ste. 902
Toronto, ON M2N 6C6
Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) is a leading Canadian non-profit human rights foundation directly representing over 30,000 members. FSWC is committed to countering racism and antisemitism and to promoting the principles of tolerance, social justice and Canadian democratic values through advocacy and educational programs including workshops, Freedom Day, Spirit of Hope Benefit, Tools for Tolerance and its widely acclaimed new Tour for Humanity. FSWC is affiliated with the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international Jewish human rights organization headquartered in Los Angeles, which has won two Academy Awards, has built two Museums of Tolerance (with a third being built in Jerusalem) and is an NGO at the United Nations, UNESCO, OAS, OSCE, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament. Visit us atwww.fswc
Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies  | 416.864.9735 |  www.fswc.ca
    Print       Email

Leave a Reply

You might also like...

Just desserts: Welcome to anti-Semitism: 2020, by Vivienne Grace Ziner (TOI)

Read More →