Last week, I wrote about the ugliness and hatred at York University after pro-Israel speakers from Reservists on Duty came on campus to begin a dialogue. In his own post, Leon Kushner, who was there, describes the ugly and hateful atmosphere from BDS supporters.
My friends and I left the lecture a few minutes early. From the high up view on a sort of balcony, we watched the hysterical intifada mob below us. They were about a hundred people or more. Their leaders were often standing on tables, shouting slogans like ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’ or ‘Viva viva Palestina’. You could feel their hatred from a distance.
As we made our way downstairs to exit the building, my short, firecracker female friend asked me if I want to enter the hall with the intifada mob. Without thinking I said yes and in we went. I had my Israeli flag with me of course. I bravely (read stupidly) started walking through the mob and doing a circle. I lost track of my friend as I paraded around the mob with a smile on my face and my flag held high. I think at first the mob was in shock to see an old Jewish guy walking through their mob by himself with an Israeli flag. No one knew I was there and I certainly had no protection. I was also wearing my old martial arts jacket from 30 years ago. I felt a sense of pride and a very uplifting feeling that I cannot describe. I almost made it through before their leader, a woman wearing a kaffiyeh (you can see her yelling in the video clip below), grabbed my flag and tried to rip it from my hands. Before I knew it there were dozens of other people all around me trying to pull the flag away and trying to pull me down. I went crazy and with my adrenaline pumping, fought them all off with the aim of holding on to the flag at all costs. Eventually the wooden spindle broke but I had my flag intact. Out of breath I ran to a nearby, bored security guard and asked if he saw what happened, that they tried to attack me and broke my flag. He didn’t even say a word, just shrugged.
Eventually I found my friends and at first we were going to be escorted out through a back door along with other Jewish attendees including members of the JDL (Jewish Defence League) who were on hand to help ensure that the event took place. The route was under construction and some of us (myself included) complained. It was our event. Why must we be treated like court Jews from medieval times, sneaking out through tunnels. I received the standard answer from the guard: ‘You are free to leave via any exit you want but we can’t guarantee your safety if you leave through the main exit’. I wanted to tell him that it’s your job to protect us, so do your job but I shut my mouth. Eventually we did decide as a group to turn around and leave through the main exit. We left without incident.
Unless you were there, words can’t explain the level of vile hatred we experienced. Many peaceful people who wanted to attend the lecture could not do so or would not do so due to the scare tactics of the intifada mob.
The university administration failed to condemn the violence by the anti-Israel thugs. In response, Howard Rotberg wrote an open letter.
This past week, a peaceful Jewish organization called Herut Canada presented an event at York University, where some veterans of military service in Israel, including two women and an Arab, talked about Israel and its steps to maintain basic freedoms and an ethical army, unheard of in the surrounding hostile Arab totalitarian regimes. This type of free expression, so long treasured in Canada, is being made difficult if not impossible, by violent intimidation and shouting down, by Islamist and Leftist students.
The York Federation of Students responded by justifying the anti-Semitic violence and blaming the Jews.
“A large number of York University students, community members, and student clubs organized a lawful, non-violent counter demonstration. The peaceful protesters were met with hostile event attendees who were verbally and physically abusive to a number of students,” YFS falsely claimed. “It is deeply concerning that York’s senior administrators allowed this event to take place, and failed to take the appropriate steps to maintain the safety of all students present at the event.”
By this, YFS meant the safety of the anti-Semitic students, not the Jewish students.
And now, Hillel York reports that YFS has gone further with a call to ban Israeli speakers.
Last night at their Annual General Meeting, the York Federation of Students (YFS) passed a motion aimed at preventing Israelis from being invited to speak on campus. This motion is a direct result of recent events at York. As the body charged with representing all undergraduate students, the YFS has failed, yet again, to accurately characterize the facts. There was nothing peaceful about last week’s demonstration, which was organized to shut-down free speech and intimidate Jewish students. Hillel York condemns the YFS for taking yet another step against free speech and against the Jewish campus community.
YFS is trying to finish the job of the anti-Semitic BDS bigots it supports.
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