HRC / AVI Campus Media Fellow Published In The Toronto Sun & Times Of Israel: Palestinian University Encampments A Threat To Humanity’s Values

June 26, 2024

On June 25 & 26, one of our Campus Media Fellows, Adi Moran, was published in The Toronto Sun, and The Times of Israel, about how despite the University of Toronto’s campus encampment’s professed solidarity with the Palestinian cause, the encampment’s ideologies seem to reject fundamental principles of democracy and respect for human rights.

The University must take decisive action against its encampment to protect its community and prioritize the safety of its students and staff. It’s time for action, not delay!


Palestinian University Encampments A Threat To Humanity’s Values

By: Adi Moran

The pro-Palestinian encampment at the University of Toronto began on May 2 as a form of student resistance against the conflict between Hamas and Israel.

The encampment’s primary demand is for U of T to divest from companies with financial ties to Israel, particularly those connected to the Israel Defence Forces (IDF). While the encampment claims to support Palestinian resistance, its actions and statements have raised concerns regarding its questioning of Israel’s legitimacy, the only Jewish state in the world and home to half of the world’s Jewish population.

Despite its professed solidarity with the Palestinian cause, the encampment’s ideologies seem to reject fundamental principles of democracy and respect for human rights.

For example, the slogans used at U of T encampments, such as “intifada,” “from the river to the sea,” and “one-state solution,” directly call for the genocide of Jews and elimination of the state of Israel. These extreme positions not only create divisions among the university community but also normalize violence as a form of advocacy.

Hamza Howidy, a Gazan Palestinian peace advocate, believes their actions are fuelling deep-seated hatred for Jews and fostering anti-Semitism. Since the encampments began, there has been an increase in hate crime calls to the police, which has risen since the demonstrations started. Incidents of anti-Semitism indicate a growing atmosphere of fear and hostility toward the Jewish community.

Further, these voices are not only attempting to silence Jewish and Israeli perspectives, but also distorting the reality of Palestinians under the Islamic terrorist regime of Hamas. Howidy has shared his story of torture and oppression by Hamas, and highlights that most pro-Palestinians in these encampments haven’t spoken up in the past when Hamas was inflicting suffering on Gazans, nor are they currently demanding that Hamas surrender.

The reason this war continues is due to Hamas, a genocidal terrorist group who slaughtered 1,200 people and kidnapped 220 others into Gaza on Oct. 7, 2023. Yet, the international community asks for no accountability from this terror organization.

Hamas has been oppressing Gazans for more than 20 years, building a tunnel system to launch rockets into Israel. The plight of the hostages, who still remain in Gaza enduring daily physical and mental abuse, has been continually disregarded. While one side strives for genuine peace, the other pushes a dangerous narrative rooted in radical Islamist ideologies and hatred. The continued existence of these encampments represents support for that ideology here in Canada.

The university’s continued tolerance of these protesters on their grounds will lead to long-term consequences for its reputation as a place of learning and discourse. The encampments require individuals to show a form of ID or have someone vouch for them to enter, which can be seen as a form of profiling, and exertion of power over those who may challenge the harmful narratives being propagated. The fact that these encampments are closed off to anyone not subscribing to radical ideologies indicates that this is not just an anti-Semitic issue but also an attack on democracy and free discourse.

Yet, U of T president Meric Gertler has allowed these illegal encampments to remain for over a month, with no regard for the harmful implications they will have on the staff and students who value the school, and the Jewish community. These encampments not only endanger the safety of Jewish communities but also affect how we treat one another in society. We all deserve to feel equal, treated with respect and dignity, and work towards positive change together. When will the fuel of hatred against Jews be extinguished? How many more hateful demonstrations will humanity allow in the guise of fighting for social justice?

U of T must take decisive action against encampments, following the example set by York University, which resolved the same issue swiftly, to protect its community. U of T must prioritize the safety of its students and staff. It’s time for action, not delay!

Adi Moran is a recent graduate in Social Work from Toronto Metropolitan University and a Campus Media Fellow with HonestReporting Canada & Allied Voices for Israel.

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