Protest (Illustration)
Protest (Illustration)Thinkstock

The student union of Toronto's Ryerson University voted to join the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement against Israel on Wednesday, in an annual meeting.

Representatives of the university's Hillel Jewish student group left the meeting to protest the decision, reports Shalom Toronto.

The vote caps a chain of anti-Israel decisions among Canadian institutions of higher education.

Just two weeks ago, Toronto's York University student union voted to join the BDS movement. It was preceded by Windsor University in Ontario in early March. In mid-March, students at the University of Ottawa launched a campaign to have Sabra hummus banned from campus because of its alleged connection with “Israel apartheid."

Similar votes for a general boycott on Israel have recently been passed in other universities, such as the University of Toronto's Scarborough and Mississauga campuses, Regina University, Carlton University and others.

"Anti-Israel fanaticism"

Berel Nadler, chairman of the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), responded to the Ryerson vote, saying the student union "demonstrated a shameful exhibition of anti-Israel fanaticism."

The call to boycott Israel "isn't a process supporting the Palestinians or peace, but rather and anti-Israeli process, whose single goal is to label only Israel as a target to delegitimize," remarked Nadler.

Nadler added that the decision was based on biased and "poisonous" disinformation, and will cause Jewish students to feel estranged on the campus. He emphasized that similar decisions by student groups have not influenced university managements to cut academic ties with Israel.

The vote was an "expression of discrimination...on the basis of nationality," according to Shannon Riley, president of Ryerson University's Hillel student group. 

"This divisive and poisonous campaign won't create on the campus anything but an intolerant and hostile environment towards Jewish and pro-Israel students," added Riley.

The BDS campaign, initiated in 2005 by "Palestinian Civil Society" organizations, urged discrimination against Israel in a general boycott, along with a denial of the country's status as the Jewish state.