York University, Toronto
York University, TorontoReuters

The York Federation of Students (YFS), the undergraduate students’ union at York University in Toronto, passed a motion stating that it will actively work to oppose “representatives of the Israeli state” who appear on campus, the Canadian Jewish News reports.

The vote on the motion followed the recent violent protest against IDF reservists who spoke at York University, in which anti-Israel protesters were documented chanting “Viva, Viva Intifada” and “Free, Free Palestine.”

According to the motion, which was passed at its annual general meeting on November 28, YFS will oppose “representatives of the Israeli state or any other imperialist power (that are) invited (to campus) to gather support for war and occupation in Palestine and elsewhere (by organizing) mass mobilizations of students, workers, marginalized communities in opposition.”

The YFS passed the motion just over a week after the November 20 incident, in which pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel protesters clashed outside of the event that brought IDF reservists to campus to answer questions about Israel.

The YFS motion described the protests by saying that “both Jewish and non-Jewish students were protesting the actions of the Israeli state; members of the Jewish Defense League (JDL), a far-right organization, were present resulting in the assault of a number of students who were peacefully demonstrating.”

Hillel at York responded to the motion by condemning YFS for discriminating against Israel and failing to properly represent both the facts and its students.

“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,” the statement said, according to CJN.

Daniel Koren, executive director of Hasbara Canada, said that it is impossible for a protest that includes shouts of “Viva, Viva Intifada!” to be considered peaceful, and that YFS lied by saying that only one side was hateful and violent.

“Go to Gaza, go to the West Bank, go see what (intifada) means to them. Go see that numerous innocent Jews were killed, mothers stabbed while sleeping in their bed, Americans stabbed on the street just walking around,” he said.

“This, to us, is what the intifada looks like. If you’re calling for an intifada on campuses like York University, to us, to the Jewish and the pro-Israel community, which is really one and the same, you’re calling to murder and stab all of us,” he added.

The violent protest was condemned by several Canadian officials, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Doug Ford, and Roman Baber, Member of Provincial Parliament for York Centre.

This is not the first time that YFS has taken action against Israel. In 2013, the union passed a resolution to endorse the Global Campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel.