In Toronto Star Column, U Of T Prof. Falsely Claims Minuscule Group Of Anti-Israel Goons Represent Mainstream Opinion

There is a proverb, “there are none so blind as those who will not see,” meaning that for those who do not wish to see reality in front of them, no amount of factual evidence will sway them.

Judith Taylor, a sociology professor at the University of Toronto, would do well to heed that advice.

In a May 17 opinion column in The Toronto Star entitled: “How much history must students understand to protest for change?” Taylor wrote approvingly of the anti-Israel campus occupations present on a number of Canadian universities.

Taylor wrote that the “students who’ve set up encampments” are worthy of respect and praise because “they still think opposing atrocity and dishonesty is worthwhile.”

Taylor is either unaware or otherwise choosing to ignore the well-documented history of hate speech, violence, harassment, intimidation and support for Islamic terrorism that has characterized the encampments.

Mobs of miscreants have forcibly prevented anyone they deem inappropriate from entering campus, even if they are students or faculty.

As for Taylor’s repeated use of the word “students” to refer to the campus occupiers, this is highly misleading. As pointed out by the president of the University of Alberta before that encampment was disassembled, only a very small percentage of campus occupiers were students of the university, and video evidence from other occupations shows a hodgepodge of clearly older adults present, hardly the youthful picture of students that Taylor attempted to portray.

In her commentary, Taylor feebly sought to frame the campus occupiers as mainstream, writing that “students who are organizing, far from being fringe, usually symbolize broad refusal.”

It isn’t clear what the source of Taylor’s assertion that the occupations have wide appeal.

Across Canada, there are roughly 1.5 million university students, and yet there are perhaps a few hundred who are occupying campuses in protest against Israel. Far from being mainstream, this group thus represents somewhere in the neighbourhood of 0.03% of Canada’s university student body.

Furthermore, as a recent survey by Leger discovered, Canadians at large are opposed to the campus occupations by a significant margin.

Taylor asked rhetorically, in response to critiques that the campus occupiers are ignorant of history, “how much does a student have to know to protest credibly?”

If the misinformation in Taylor’s column is indicative of the intellectual calibre of the campus occupations, then the anti-Israel camp is far from educated.

Taylor wrote that “if students know only that Palestinians have been bombed indiscriminately and that well over 35,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israel since October, is this enough knowing?”

Does Taylor – or the so-called “student” campus occupiers she defends – know that the 35,000 death figure is entirely from Hamas, is unverified and not credible, and does not distinguish between civilians and Hamas fighters? Does Taylor or those she defends, know that Israel has taken more care to protect civilians than any military in history, and has consequently created a civilian casualty ratio so low it is virtually unheard-of?

In January, Taylor penned another column in The Toronto Star where she tried to frame anti-Israel activists who routinely break the law as hapless victims of an assault on free expression.

In her May 17 column in The Toronto Star, University of Toronto Professor  Judith Taylor, like the hateful and violent largely non-student campus occupation that she defends, spread ignorant anti-Israel misinformation with little respect for the truth.

Take action now by sending a letter to the editor to the Toronto Star. Send letters to: lettertoed@thestar.ca.

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