HRC / AVI Campus Media Fellow Published In The Jerusalem Post: A Jewish Student’s Dilemma: Being Jewish Or Being Safe On Campus

July 3, 2024

On July 1, 2024, one of our Campus Media Fellows, Madison Rosenberg, was published in The Jerusalem Post about how since October 7, Universities have watched idly as their campuses have become breeding grounds for antisemitism, with Jewish students being accosted, harassed and mentally abused.

But Jewish students deserve to attend school and go to classes without worrying about their safety due to a lack of security, threats made by other students and harassment.

A Jewish Student’s Dilemma: Being Jewish Or Being Safe On Campus

By: Madison Rosenberg

It is no mystery that Jewish university students have been targeted on university campuses, especially since October 7. There have been many Jewish voices on campus calling for the university to implement policies and regulations that assist in the safety of their students; unfortunately, these voices remain ignored and unheard. Since the Hamas terror attack on October 7, Toronto Metropolitan University has become a breeding ground for antisemitism.

Personally, as a Jewish student at TMU, I have asked myself, “Do I have to choose between my Judaism and my safety?” and “Will advocating for myself and my community put me in danger on campus?” These are questions no person should have to ask themselves, especially when trying to get an education, like everyone else. 

While many schools, including mine, watch idly as students get accosted, harassed and mentally abused on campus, the antisemitism grows. When school administration and staff let injustices occur without consequences, this sends a clear message: “We do not care about our Jewish students’ safety” and “We are okay with what is happening on our property.” The school may not agree with those statements, but those are the messages sent out by their actions or lack thereof. 

Throughout this past school year, protests against Israel on campus have been loud and aggressive. They have occurred in places such as inside school buildings, outside the Student Learning Center, and other places on campus. School is supposed to be a neutral, welcoming place for everyone, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, sexuality, etc. The most recent example of the lack of neutrality is graduation, where students brought flags of Palestine, wore keffiyehs on stage, and were allowed to put them on by the Associate Dean of Toronto Metropolitan University. Instead of focusing on the success of each student, it was again made to be political. 

This university has chosen to allow blatant double standards. During this school year, students protested in front of the Starbucks inside the Student Learning Center because they believed it was “complacent with genocide.” There was a sign: “Zionists off our campus.” They were allowed to stay there with that sign even after students made staff and security aware of it. Meanwhile, SSI (Students Supporting Israel) was denied a request for tabling that said “Anti-Zionism is Anti-semitism” in the center due to “safety reasons.”

The students were told to hold the tabling in the engineering building, and they requested security in order to guarantee our safety. Security forces did not show up before the tabling started; they only showed up after being called multiple times when the students at the tabling, including myself, were getting screamed at and our property was being defaced. 

If Jewish students were denied the right to have a table in the Student Learning Center due to “safety,” then why was security not at the tabling in the first place? Why do disaster and aggression have to occur first before campus security shows up for their Jewish students?

On the TMU official site, they quote the Ontario Human Rights Commission and their definition of antisemitism, which is “latent or overt hostility or hatred directed towards, or discrimination against individual Jews or the Jewish people for reasons connected to their religion, ethnicity, and their cultural, historical, intellectual and religious heritage” (Canadian Race Relations Foundation, 2013). 

Our history as Jews is directly linked to Israel, yet they allow blatant anti-Zionism and hate against Israel on campus.

That is directly going against their own policies against antisemitism, as stated on their website.

Students deserve to attend school and go to classes without worrying about their safety due to a lack of security, a lack of upholding policies as set forth by the university, threats made by other students, and harassment. School should be a safe space for everyone, with no exceptions.

Madison Rosenberg is a student executive with Hillel, studying at Toronto Metropolitan University in the Faculty of Community Services and a campus media fellow with HonestReporting Canada and Allied Voices for Israel.


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