Campus groups address one another, York admin via press release

By Ryan Buchanan
Published: March 18, 2009

The recent sanctions York imposed on the Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA), Hillel at York and Hasbara Fellowships at York were not enough to silence the groups. Less than a week after the conclusion of the controversial Israel Apartheid Week, the opposing organizations issued press releases condemning the other of harassment, intimidation and actions contrary to the sanctions recently imposed against them. On March 13, Hillel at York and Hasbara Fellowships at York issued a press release to ask the York administration why they continued to allow SAIA to operate on campus, despite the sanctions imposed against them.

“It is outrageous for York University to issue a news release announcing disciplinary actions while refusing to take action itself against a suspended group operating contrary to the sanctions against it,” stated Daniel Ferman, president of Hillel at York, in the March 13 press release. York University vice-president students Rob Tiffin said there is a difference between representing a group and sharing the group’s views. “I think what they [Hillel and Hasbara] might be referring to is Vari Hall, where we have a very liberal policy for people who come in to set up,” Tiffin said. “My understanding is that the people coming to set up are not members of SAIA per se, but may certainly be supportive of SAIA’s views.”. . .

Continue reading the March 18, 2009 article from York University's Excalibur.

Related Articles On Pro/Anti-Israel Student Clashes At York U From Excalibur

Shoukri’s task force

Students and admin work to improve York University

By Scott McLean
Published March 18, 2009

In an effort to prevent intimidation and harassment on campus, York University president Mamdouh Shoukri announced that he would set up a task force to review concerns about the student environment on campus.
He, however, stopped short of potentially setting restrictions on the use of Vari Hall. The York president said he would be surprised if the task force resulted in tightened restrictions on the use of Vari Hall since he was proud of easing the restrictions last year when he saw peaceful demonstrations. He explained that there were only a few incidents where he “thought the dialogue was not at the level that one should expect.”

Shoukri didn’t cite a specific event that sparked the need for a task force but spoke in general terms about the environment on campus in recent weeks. “With all of these events, I feel that it is really important that we look at what we are doing, and we look at our current policies, whether they improve the learning environment or actually are creating hurdles for our students to learn,” he said. Shoukri released the names of seven faculty members of the task force. Among them were Patrick Monahan, the dean of Osgoode Law School and newly appointed vice-president academic, and Rob Tiffin, York vice-president students. The task force will also consist of seven students chosen through an application process.

Adonis El-Jamal, a spokesperson for the Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) – one of the groups recently fined by the university for recent events in Vari Hall – said he didn’t think the task force was independent. “We would be better served if this was an independent task force, absent from individuals such as Rob Tiffin, who just recently arbitrarily suspended and fined groups for participating in a political protest,” he said. . . .

Continue reading this article . . .

Apartheid Week quiet

York University began the winter term in a controversial fashion. Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) arrived on York’s Keele Campus, stirring the emotions of an often-divided student body.

By Ryan Buchanan
Published: March 11, 2009

IAW is a controversial event; its goal is to raise awareness about the alleged Israeli apartheid system. [Alternate Video Link to Israel awareness at York University, above] “The overall goal of IAW is to raise awareness about the plight of the Palestinians and the state of Israeli apartheid,” said Adonis El-Jamal, SAIA media spokesperson. The protests were tamer this year compared to recent years. This is likely due to the sanctions that the university issued against SAIA and two of York’s Jewish student organizations – Hillel at York and Hasbara Fellowships at York – for disrupting classes in Vari Hall during protests last month.

Hillel at York president Daniel Ferman disagreed with the sanctions but said he wanted to see the university impose them more equally. “I think the university needs to take a closer look at how it’s applying the Student Code of Conduct,” he said. “What we are looking for is for it to be applied fairly to every incident and not just in isolated cases.” Aaron Rosenberg, president of Hasbara Fellowships at York, disagreed with the distribution of the sanctions to an even greater degree. “It’s obvious that these sanctions are not fair because they gave different sanctions to different groups,” he said. “It’s never fair when sanctions are handed out unevenly.” El-Jamal condemned the sanctions as oppressive.

“We condemn the use of the Student Code of Conduct and think it’s an illegitimate code used to repress student activity and political debates on campus,” said El-Jamal. . . .

Continue reading this article . . .

Middle-Eastern conflict affects students at York

Pro-Israeli students say university failed to properly defend their rights

By Alexandra Birukova
Published: March 4, 2009

Over the past month, York University’s Keele Campus has seen a number of clashes between pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian students, leading some groups to accuse the university of not doing enough to protect students from intimidation. The events that took place on Feb. 11, [Alternate Link to Excalibur Video, above] specifically the impromptu protest outside Hillel’s office in the Student Centre, have raised concern from some students. Daniel Ferman, the president of Hillel at York, said that the heated atmosphere on campus has left some students feeling intimidated. “I think the university should take its Code of Conduct and enforce it on a regular basis. [They should] apply it equally to all parties involved and ensure that it’s applied equally and fairly,” Ferman said.

Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) spokesperson Adrianna Boni said none of the events of the past few weeks have been ethnically or religiously directed toward the Jewish community. . . .

Continue reading this article . . .

Related News On Censorship Of Canadian Student Activists:

"Jewish Canadians": Criticism of Israeli Apartheid Week like McCarthyism!

Published: March 20, 2009

Daily Muslims [full text with 150 signatories] is undoubtedly delighted to print this:

Statement: Jewish Canadians Concerned about Suppression of Criticism of Israel

We are Jewish Canadians concerned about all expressions of racism, anti-Semitism, and social injustice. We believe that the Holocaust legacy "Never again" means never again for all peoples. It is a tragic turn of history that the State of Israel, with its ideals of democracy and its dream of being a safe haven for Jewish people, causes immeasurable suffering and injustice to the Palestinian people.

We are appalled by recent attempts of prominent Jewish organizations and leading Canadian politicians to silence protest against the State of Israel. We are alarmed by the escalation of fear tactics. Charges that those organizing Israel Apartheid Week or supporting an academic boycott of Israel are anti-Semites promoting hatred bring the anti-Communist terror of the 1950s vividly to mind. We believe this serves to deflect attention from Israel's flagrant violations of international humanitarian law.

B'nai Brith and the Canadian Jewish Congress have pressured university presidents and administrations to silence debate and discussion specifically regarding Palestine/Israel. In a full-page ad in a national newspaper, B'nai Brith urged donors to withhold funds from universities because "anti-Semitic hate fests" were being allowed on campuses.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff have echoed these arguments. While university administrators have resisted demands to shut down Israel Apartheid week, some Ontario university presidents have bowed to this disinformation campaign by suspending and fining students, confiscating posters, and infringing on free speech. . . . --NewsHammer 3/21/2009

Continue reading this article in Judeopundit . . .

Related Middle-East News

UN demands Israel compensation for stikes on Gaza facilities, accuses government of lying, AP, May 5, 2009

Israeli soldiers say army rabbis framed Gaza as religious war, McClatchyDC, March 20, 2009

Palestinian reconciliation talks break up, no deal [Hamas/Fatah] AP, March 19, 2009

ANALYSIS / Why isn't Netanyahu backing two-state solution?, Haaretz, March 3, 2009

More student coverage of Israel-Palestine in NewsHammer On Campus . . .

More coverage of Israel-Palestine in NewsHammer . . .