Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Neal Sher, an attorney practicing in New York City. He, along with Professor Ed Morgan from the University of Toronto, is presently representing Sammy Katz, a student at York University in Toronto, who has charged York with legitimizing an anti-Jewish environment on campus.
Previously, Sher was the Director the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations, which investigated and prosecuted Nazi criminals in the U.S. In that capacity, he was responsible for bringing many dozens of prosecutions and for barring former UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim from coming to this country. He also served as the National Executive Director of AIPAC and was the President of the American Section of the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists.
FP: Neal Sher, welcome back to Frontpage Interview.
So tell us about this case involving Sammy Katz.
Sher: The complaint by Sammy Katz stems from a February 2010 incident at a pro-Israel event held on campus and describes how he was subjected to verbal abuse and a physical assault by persons vehemently hostile to students who support the Jewish state, while campus security failed to intervene or control the volatile situation.
Katz also reveals how York made public statements about the assault aimed at discrediting him, and convened meetings of the media and Jewish organizational leaders at which it spun its own inaccurate version of the episode. The truth is that a university review of the incident concluded that the Jewish students had been swarmed and that Katz had, in fact, been assaulted.
The incident, lack of quick response by York security and the oppressive behavior by York administration in the aftermath, is just the latest demonstration of the lack of even-handed treatment by York University against Jewish student groups. Whereas York has legitimized and encouraged anti-Jewish events such as Israel Apartheid Week and makes no proactive effort to address growing incidents of anti Semitic graffiti and vandalism around campus, it has also treated pro-Israel Jewish students to a higher level of scrutiny and suspicion.
I would add that there is a sense of fear and anxiety over being openly Jewish at York University felt by Katz and many other students. The administration exacerbates these feelings with a poisonous atmosphere of aggressiveness and antagonism towards organized Jewish student groups. There is a feeling that some groups (i.e. anti-Israel groups) are more preferred than others (i.e. pro-Israel groups).