December 2nd, 2018
Toronto, ON, — StandWithUs Canada and Hillel Ryerson, supported by Hillel Ontario, strongly condemn Ryerson University’s Social Work Students’ Union (SWSU) for endorsing Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and the discriminatory Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. Though cloaked in deceptive wording about human rights, the ultimate goal of BDS is the elimination of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, an inherently antisemitic goal. Furthermore, SJP has a disturbing record of spreading antisemitism on campus, supporting violence and violating free speech at campuses across North America.
“I am a Jewish social work student who feels targeted by the SWSU aligning itself with BDS. This stance provides a platform for antisemitism and the promotion of violence on campus,” said Frankie Aviv, StandWithUs Canada Emerson Fellow, executive member of Hillel Ryerson and Students Supporting Israel (SSI).
In 2017, the Ryerson Student Union (RSU) adopted the Ottawa Protocol as their definition of antisemitism. As part of this definition, the RSU recognizes that antisemitism includes denying Jewish people the right to self-determination, demonizing Israel, and holding the Jewish state to a double standard. These forms of hatred are frequently promoted by BDS and SJP, denying Jewish and pro-Israel students the right to feel safe on their own campus. Indeed, BDS is antisemitic in its effect, if not in its intent. For the SWSU to suggest that they can decide what is and is not antisemitic is simply wrong. No minority group would allow anyone else to define what is hate against their community, and neither should the Jewish campus community.
“As a social work student I honestly feel unsafe to express my Jewish identity. I feel as though my voice has been silenced. Antisemitism is real and is here on campus in my own social work program. I refuse to remain silent”, said Carly Elmalem, a third year social work student.
StandWithUs Canada and Hillel Ryerson call on the SWSU to retract their statement and apologize. We will continue to work together to support the Jewish student community at Ryerson as they fight bigotry and promote tolerance on their campus.
Rebecca Katzman, Canada Campus Coordinator, StandWithUs Canada
Elyse Wieskopf, Director, Hillel Ryerson
Ilan Orzy, Director, Advocacy & Issues Management, Hillel Ontario