The University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) voted on Wednesday to endorse a Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) motion that called on the union to “wholly divest funds and further on forbid investment to firms complicit in the occupation of Palestinian Territory.”
According to a statement from Hasbara Fellowships, over 500 students, many of whom voted by proxy, attended the Special General Meeting. The BDS motion passed by approximately 50 votes.
Hasbara Fellowship noted that vaguely-worded statement did not elaborate on what it refers to as “Palestinian Territory,” especially given that many anti-Israel activists advance the notion that the Jewish State has no right to exist.
The University of Toronto has been in the headlines several times in recent years in relation to anti-Israel conduct.
In March of 2019, the Graduate Students’ Union approved a motion to make its Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Committee permanent.
In 2020, B’nai Brith Canada condemned CUPE 3902, a labor union at U of T, following a series of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic tweets issued by its official Twitter account.
This past November, the University of Toronto at Scarborough (UTSC) student union passed two motions which eliminate funding for student groups that support Israel. Following backlash, the university walked back the controversial move.
Daniel Koren, Executive Director of Hasbara Fellowships Canada, delivered an open letter delivered to university President Meric Gertler demanding that the university take concrete action against antisemitism on campus.
The letter noted, “When our organization, Hasbara Fellowships Canada, reached out to you in December 2021 asking what U of T was doing to ensure the UTGSU would comply with these measures, we were told that submissions regarding the UTGSU had just been submitted and were ‘under review.’ We have not heard from your administration since.”
The letter calls on the University of Toronto to “step up now, adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism – which would clearly illustrate how these actions are antisemitic – and protect the rights of Jewish students.”