Three HRC Subscribers Published In The Toronto Star Condemning Illegal Campus Encampments

May 15, 2024

On May 11 & 13, HRC subscribers Steven Rayson and Larry Shapiro were both published in The Toronto Star after HonestReporting Canada published an alert regarding a Thomas Walkom commentary which defended the hateful anti-Israel protests at university encampments in North America and which attempted to place them in the same category as anti-Vietnam War protests of decades past.

Rayson rebutted this comparison stating that these protests at universities are nothing like the Vietnam protests from the 1960’s, as they are filled with clearly antisemitic and anti-Israel slogans, images, and rhetoric. For his part, Shapiro stated that these encampments are nothing more than antisemitic hate fests, and if allowed to continue, could set a dangerous precedent for the future, which could see boycotts of Israeli academics and institutions, then Jewish Canadian academics, followed by the ouster of Jewish students.

HRC subscriber Dr. Sheldon Cooper was also published in the Toronto Star on May 11, rebuking the Star for giving legitimacy to these campus encampments, as the protestors continue to willfully ignore the law, trespass, hide behind masks, and spew hateful and inciteful remarks and threats.

Israel has a moral obligation to protect its citizens

While acknowledging that the boycott demands by participants are widely considered “extreme,” columnist Thomas Walkom suggests that they are nevertheless “palatable” due to the world’s “watching Palestinian babies dying in real-time.”

He also suggested that critics of this movement, especially those calling participants’ behaviour antisemitic or objecting to its radical claims, are merely stuck on a “familiar story” and are upset about “the new emphasis on Palestinian rights.”

Walkom compares this “movement” to the Vietnam anti-war protests from the 1960s.

Nothing could be further from the truth. These university protests are filled with slogans and images that are clearly antisemitic and anti-Is- rael, and call for the destruction of Israel in particular, and Jews in general.

Israel has every right to exist, and a moral obligation to protect its citizens from further attacks. This conflict could end at any time if Hamas, a recognized terrorist organization, surrendered its weapons, recognized Israel’s legitimate right to exist, and exist peacefully, and returned the hostages.

Steven D. Rayson, Toronto

Protesters’ rights protected; Jewish rights are ignored

It is shameful that this newspaper gives legitimacy to those who ignore laws regarding trespassing, masking at a rally, uttering hateful and inciteful remarks, and even threats. It seems that the rowdy riff raff has all their rights-even illegal ones – protected while the rest of the public, in particular the Jewish members of the public, can have their rights ignored routinely.

I am a University of Toronto alumnus and I am embarrassed that the U of T has chosen the path of appeasement.

Dr. Sheldon Cooper, Thornhill

What if these demonstrations escalate?

Considering the antisemitic sense of the student demonstrations, there is a much darker speculation about where they could lead. The next step could be to boycott Israeli academics and institutions, then Jewish Canadian academics, followed by the ouster of Jewish students.

That would place Canada in an identical position as pre-Second World War Germany where the isolation and dehumanization of the Jews started in the schools.

What kind of message is coming from demonstrators? It is not clear who is standing for peace between the Palestinians and also Israel.

Larry Shapiro, Calgary, Alberta


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