HRC / AVI Campus Media Fellow Published In The Toronto Sun & Jerusalem Post: Jewish Students No Longer Feel Safe At Toronto Metropolitan University

June 18, 2024

On June 16 & 24 2024, one of our Campus Media Fellows, Vicky Sirkovich was published in The Toronto Sun and in The Jerusalem Post, about her experience as a student at Toronto Metropolitan University, where Jewish students have had to deal with campus-wide propaganda and hateful rhetoric against Israel – including being compared to Nazis.

If Toronto Metropolitan University cares about the safety, diversity, and inclusion of all students, they should not allow this Jew-hatred to occur on campus.

Jewish Students No Longer Feel Safe At Toronto Metropolitan University

By: Vicky Sirkovich

University is supposed to be a time when we think critically about the world around us, learn how to conduct proper research, and formulate personal opinions. The disinformation being spread throughout campuses proves the exact opposite. 

As a Jewish student at the Toronto Metropolitan University, I’ve noticed campus-wide propaganda and hateful rhetoric against Israel – including being compared to Nazi Germany – that has dehumanized the Jewish population. It has made me feel less safe when walking through the halls or attending classes, including the conflicting decision of whether to wear my Star of David or Hamsa in public. 

The Student Learning Centre (SLC), a place dedicated for seeking educational resources or getting work done, has been plagued with anti-Israel demonstrations occupying the main hall. 

“From the river to the sea” stickers are sold at the entrance – a call to destroy Israel. Donations are collected and sent to “pro-Palestinian” movements that invariably enable Hamas in some way. They refer to the “oppressive israeli occupation,” but the uncapitalization proves another point of lack of acknowledgment of the State of Israel. Can I not simply enjoy an apolitical space, free of harassment, and study in peace? 

Then there’s the recent display of leaflets being dropped all over the first floor. They say: “This is how the oppressive Israeli occupation forces notify Gazans of their death, by dropping papers over their heads. Imagine being notified of your death this way, as you make your way to class or to see your friends. Speak up and demand a ceasefire now!” – and includes a QR code for a petition to impose embargoes on arms trades between Canada and Israel. The real leaflets in Israel, of course, are used as evacuation orders to prevent further civilian casualties, and as a call to help locate the hostages.

Hamas propaganda is also being spread on students’ social media, another frustration Jewish students have had to deal with. Some of them include the Hamas lies about the bombing of the Shifa Hospital–confirmed to be a Palestinian rocket misfire. Another lie spread is that the Nova festival was attacked by Israeli Apache helicopters (debunked easily by the GoPro cameras of the terrorists). 

The posts I have seen from fellow classmates have been, at the very least, disturbing and inexplicably filled with hate. 

Now, every time I ask questions in our course group chats, I am responded to with a chant that Israel commits genocidal, and digs at my support for Israel, even going as far as to write, “anyone who supports Israel should kill themselves.” It is clear that Jewish students are being blamed for the actions of the Israeli military in a time of war. 

Rather than advocating for peace, including a two-state solution, students advocate for the ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Jewish people from the land of Israel. These violent calls to action have become an unfortunate chapter of my first year of university experience. 

There have also been countless demonstrations occurring on the Yonge-Dundas intersection, where every student, including myself, has to walk by, to get to and from class. If the Toronto Metropolitan University Student Union cares about the safety, diversity, and inclusions of all students, they should not allow hateful protests to occur on campus.

Vicky Sirkovich is a first-year university student at the Toronto Metropolitan University and a Campus Media Fellow with HonestReporting Canada & Allied Voices for Israel.


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