Where anti-Semitism and racism thrive, it is often symbolic of larger problems at an institution. The student association of York University, Canada’s third largest university, a public university in Toronto with 55,000 students recently passed a resolution endorsing the global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.
And while they received attention for this initiative, there’s so much more negative media attention that they have received, even a top crisis PR agencycouldn’t solve things for them.
York University’s Student Association called for universities to divest from holdings in companies that do business with Israel and to cut ties with Israeli academics. Interestingly, they made no mention of the civil war in Syria where tens of thousands have been killed in recent months, laws forbidding homosexuality in much of the Arab Middle East, or any of the other major issues that bleeding heart liberals often jump up and down about.
Of course it’s all part and parcel of recent Anti-Semitic history at York University:
Local Aish Hatorah Rabbi, Aaron Hoch accused the University of supporting Anti-Semitism, and regarding previous incidents noted that York’s President “..has again showed his amazing tolerance for anti-Semitism and lack of vigilance regarding the feeling of safety for Jewish students on campus.” An outspoken – yet surely accurate stance.
Just before Passover, Jewish students were repeatedly harassed during counter-protests against an anti-Israel rally on campus. Flaming liberals (who would probably be lynched in Gaza) posted massive banners reading “Zionism is Racism,” as can be seen in the video below:
Meanwhile, also in the video, one can see the flag of an illegal terrorist organization, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) a designated foreign terrorist organization popularly referred to as the Tamil Tigers, flying proudly at this rally. Terrorists are permitted to speak out – Jewish students are harassed.
In 2009, members of Jewish student group Hillel were threatened by Palestinian students, and the leaders of Hillel have previously condemned anti-Semitism at York University. Quite a troubling environment exists at this so-called institute of higher learning.
A bad environment for Jews isn’t the only problem at York University.
In the past month, there have been many serious crimes on campus – two sexual assaults, two armed robberies and a case of assault where a student was struck with a piece of metal. There have been abnormally high rates of crime committed at the school, and police are seeking additional victims related to sex crimes.
There were repeated rapes in dormitories in 2007, a security guard was shot in 2009, in April 2010 a student was sexually assaulted walking back to her apartment off campus, resulting in very serious injuries, in April 2011 an international student was murdered at York University Village, and on November 23 2012 a female student was sexually assaulted in Vari Hall, the school’s most iconic building.
Seems like the school has a lot they need to get a handle on. Even more recent media reports indicate that York University staff were aware of fraud taking place at a key campus division but didn’t alert senior management as they were afraid of reprisals.
Yet, last week on campus, the school showed “Tsar to Lenin”, a movie which they claim “ranks among the greatest documentary films of the twentieth century.” As university posters proclaimed, “In these troubling times, the working people of the world have seen the interests of the wealthy run roughshod over their rights and liberties…A closer examination of this legacy is a necessity for a new generation of workers and young people.”
Perhaps fitting for a University where Professor Alex Levant of the Political Science Department teaches about the importance of “Rethinking Leninism,” and writes of the need to “re-consider Lenin’s legacy, suggesting new ways of understanding his political thought.” As he wrote, “Rethinking Marxism has won a measure of legitimacy in the academy, but rethinking Leninism continues to exist largely on the margins.”
A school which honors one of the foremost communists in history and is home to rampant crime and anti-Semitism seems like a school in need of help – surely not an institution of “higher learning.”
Ronn Torossian is a New-York based entrepreneur.