Muslim Students Association at Western University demands ban on "pro-Zionist narrative"

Student association also demands an end to "any club's right to free speech" as Zionism has "many definitions."

Dan Verbin ,

London, Ontario, Canada
London, Ontario, Canada
iStock

The Muslim Students Association at Western University in London, Ontario released a statement to the student council demanding the elimination of “all pro-Zionist narrative” from campus.

In a multi-part social media post on June 5, the club, which is one of the largest of the 216 clubs at the university, made the demand of the university administration, tying it to the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas, in which Hamas launched over 4,000 rockets at Israeli civilian centers.

They stated, “Western’s Muslim Students’ Association unequivocally stands in solidarity with all the victims of mass genocide, incarceration, and eviction in Palestine.”

They also alleged, “To put it simply, this is not a conflict; Israel is committing genocide against Palestinians and it is an Apartheid state.”

Under the banner, “We demands action from Western University and the University Student Council,” they listed three demands, stating that “Western University is home to many Palestinian refugees who are victims of traumatic events.”

The first demand was for university president Alan Shepard and the student council to produce a statement “condemning the eviction, genocide and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.”

The MSA wrote that short of producing the statement, the school was supporting “the genocide of (Palestinian) people.”

The second demand was for Western to “remove all pro-Zionist narrative from campus.”

The MSA stated that because Zionism has “many definitions” it is therefore necessary to “be careful what we allow clubs to say and support as the USC is committed to providing an environment free of harassment towards everyone, which always trumps any club’s right to free speech.”

They added that the “Pro-Zionist narrative" contributes to a "poisoned environment.’”

“The University Student Council needs to be taking more serious action towards pro-Zionist narrative as allowing any Western-affiliated organizations to support Zionism is an example of harassing and discriminatory behaviour towards Palestinian students, which is absolutely unacceptable.”

The third demand was for “Western University to cut off any professional or financial ties to any individuals or companies or organizations that fund or support Israeli Defense Forces, or are situated on occupied Palestinian land.”

The MSA’s second demand would in effect make it impossible for most Jewish clubs and organizations, such Hillel, to operate on campus.

At the end of the Instagram post, the MSA goes on to condemn anti-Semitism and hateful anti-Jewish symbols used at pro-Palestinian rallies.

Western Hillel staff reacted swiftly to the post, scheduling a meeting with Western president Alan Shepard.

“This level of toxicity and marginalization is unacceptable, and we have conveyed our serious concerns both to the University Student Council leadership and the university administration,” said Western Hillel senior director Scott Goldstein in a statement to the Canadian Jewish News.

When Hillel met with Shepard, Goldstein said they spoke about “the alarming rise in anti-Semitism directed at Jewish students in Ontario, and what steps the university might take to support our students.

There are currently approximately 3,000 Jewish students at Western University.

Multiple incidents of anti-Semitism have occurred at the Canadian university in recent years.

At the beginning of June, a Western professor was rebuked for singling out Jewish students with offensive remarks.

In a series of tweets written in response to an article about a University of Toronto medical school professor accused of being anti-Semitic, Western assistant professor of transfusion medicine Zian Solh went after students who were Zionists, reported the London Free Press.

Comments included a tweet that singled out Jewish students. “If their culture is Zionism at the expense of the Palestinian people, they should be boycotted and sanctioned,” Solh tweeted.



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