The University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) board of directors voted at a meeting at the end of July to re-sign an open letter that demanded the university cancel a summer program in Israel and accused Israel of “genocide," according to The Varsity campus newspaper.
During an earlier UTSU board meeting, the letter had been criticism from a board member who argued that it was anti-Semitic due to using false definitions and applying a double standard to Israel, and for using terms that weren’t factually accurate, such as “apartheid,” “genocide,” and ethnic cleansing.” It was also argued that the letter, if signed, would alienate Jewish and Israel students at the university.
The letter also accused the university of being “complicit in the face of oppression and systematic change” if it did not cancel the summer program in Israel, “Coexistence in the Middle East Study Abroad” offered by the Munk School of Global Affairs.
At a July 25 meeting, the council voted to re-sign the letter, stating that by not signing the letter they were “[undermining] the suffering of Palestinian Muslim students.”
Before the vote, the directors allowed students to speak, including students in favor and against signing the open letter.
“We are very concerned about the process and outcome of the meeting and will be sharing our objections with the union's leadership,” said Hillel UofT in a statement on Instagram.
“Hillel UofT will continue to work to ensure that Jewish students' voices are represented across campus and that Jewish students are not excluded or marginalized due to their identity.”