Ontario’s premier has called a protest that broke out at York University during a pro-Israel event on Wednesday evening “vile.”
Protesters gathered at Vari Hall ahead of an event that included speeches from members of Reservists On Duty, an organization founded by former members of the Israeli Defence Forces.
During the event, members of an anti-Israel left-wing group allegedly assaulted Jewish students attempting to attend the event.
“I was shocked by the vile hatred that was on display last night at York University,” Ford tweeted Thursday afternoon.
“I have been clear that there is no place in Ontario for racism and hatred. My caucus and I stand with the students at York University who had to endure this,” said Ford.
I am disappointed that York University allowed for a hate-filled protest to take place last night at Vari Hall. I stand with the Jewish students and the Jewish community. There is no place in Ontario for racism and hatred. #onpoli
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) November 21, 2019
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Ford reiterated that there’s no place in the province for racism and hatred, and added that he’s disappointed that York University allowed for a hate-filled protest to take place at Vari Hall.
“I stand with the Jewish students and the Jewish community. There is no place in Ontario for racism and hatred,” said Ford.
“Israeli” soldiers were invited to York University by Herut, a Zionist organization..
Students however were strong and brave in disrupting the event by raising the Palestinian flags and chanting for freedom for Palestine. pic.twitter.com/Y10qjL9pNn
— Palestinians abroad (@PalesAbroadE) November 22, 2019
More videos coming from York University. Jews are no longer safe on campus after Palestinian activists violently assault students at a pro-Israel event. pic.twitter.com/1Keq2d7ClI
— BDS Report (@BDSreport) November 21, 2019
I was there. It was scary & really upsetting. I’m not Jewish but most of my friends & my boyfriend are. I’m in a Jewish sorority and take a class on the Jewish Experience. Nothing like being caught in the middle of that to bring that sobering reality to life. pic.twitter.com/c4YUuXf0VG
— Ashley Rose Murphy (@TheAshleyRose__) November 21, 2019
“No place for racism and hatred” pic.twitter.com/nuvAsoFQvz
— ليان (@LianJamal) November 21, 2019
Toronto mayor John Tory said he supports free speech and the right to protest, however, be said there’s no place for hate or violence.
“I am very disturbed by the apparent polarization and violence evident from the events of last night at York University,” said Tory.
“I have heard concerns from several Jewish groups in our city today. Anti-Semitism and violence is totally unacceptable.”
I am very disturbed by the apparent polarization and violence evident from the events of last night at York University. I have heard concerns from several Jewish groups in our city today. Anti-Semitism and violence is totally unacceptable.
— John Tory (@JohnTory) November 21, 2019
Rhonda Lenton, president and vice-chancellor of York University, said acts of violence are not tolerated on campus and the school has zero-tolerance for hate.
“Together with York’s faculty, staff and students, I am deeply disappointed by the behaviour that was on display last night,” said Lenton in a statement.
“In democratic societies, universities play a central role in facilitating debate on difficult issues. Shouting, threats of violence and attempts to intimidate community members are not consistent with the responsibilities we all share. The fact that external groups were on campus last night for the sole purpose of fomenting conflict should be especially disturbing to everyone at York.”
Lenton added the University will be reviewing this week’s events very carefully to determine what specific follow-up actions are required.