Toronto
Toronto iStock

The undergraduate student union at Toronto’s York University is under fire for hiring a pro-BDS group to host an anti-Semitism training session that took place this week on Tuesday, the day of the Jewish holiday of Shmini Atzeret.

The York Federation of Students (YFS), which represents over 50,000 undergrads, at first asked the university’s Hillel chapter for names of groups who could provide the training, the Canadian Jewish News reported.

The YFS initially decided upon Yavilah McCoy, a Boston diversity consultant. However, later they switched to Independent Jewish Voices of Canada (IJV). The group bills itself as the “first national Jewish organization to endorse the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.”

York University told the Jewish News that the YFS’s choice to lead the event, as well as it falling on a Jewish holiday, were problematic.

“We are disappointed to learn that not only has YSF not selected a trainer from the list Hillel provided, but further, that YSF has decided to hold the anti-Semitism training session on a Jewish holiday,” university spokesperson Barbara Joy said.

“[York is] very concerned that YFS has turned away from its commitment to work together with Hillel on this important initiative to build confidence that YFS is seeking an inclusive and collaborative relationship with Jewish students.”

Speaking to the Jewish News, York student and Hasbara fellow Taylor Levy called IJV a “fringe group” and said that the YFS’s decision to hire the group to conduct anti-Semitism training was “very tokenizing.”