(JNS) An anti-Israel group at York University in Toronto, Canada, disrupted a evening event on Nov. 20 organized by Jewish students that featured talks by reservists from the Israel Defense Forces, who came to speak about their experiences in the army and offer information about Israel.
Their visit sparked a “no killers on campus” campaign organized by anti-Israel student groups, who had vowed to disrupt the event.
In a letter written beforehand to York University president Rhonda Lenton and vice provost of students Lucy Fromowitz, the Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) organization urged that the university take action to ensure that the event go forward without disruption, and that the university take a firm stand against the anti-Semitic tropes being propagated by anti-Israel student groups on campus.
However, a fight started outside of the event between Jewish and pro-Palestinian students, who chanted “Free, free, Palestine” and “Viva, Viva Intifada!”
Police and campus security responded quickly to end the fight and send away the violent protesters. York University condemned the violence.
The previous day, the IDF reservists had sat at a table in York’s Vari Hall with sweatshirts that read “Defending Freedom From Hate,” inviting students to approach them with questions about Israel and its army.
According to FSWC, some students approached the table with genuine curiosity in hearing about Israel’s security challenges.
“What is BDS?” asked one student. “Why is Israel fighting Gaza?” asked another.
The soldiers engaged with student questions, armed with pamphlets, information and chocolates. Other students approached the soldiers with insults and swear words. “Baby killer!” one student shouted at a soldier. The soldier offered him a chocolate and asked if he wanted to sit down and talk, but the student refused.