Anti-Israel protest at University of Toronto
Anti-Israel protest at University of TorontoKyle Mazza/NurPhoto/Reuters

B'nai Brith Canada announced on Tuesday that it has filed to intervene in the University of Toronto's (U of T) legal efforts to disband an anti-Israel encampment that has been stationed at King's College Circle, on U of T campus, since May 2.

In a statement, B’nai Brith Canada said that since the establishment of this encampment, it has been vocal about the increasing hostilities and alarming incidents targeting the Jewish community on campus.

Among these incidents, it noted, a man was recorded shouting, "Heil Hitler… I wish he murdered all you guys," while making a Nazi salute. Other troubling displays include signs with the message "This is the intifada" and chants of "There is only one solution: intifada revolution” and “all Zionists are racists.“

In its court filing on Monday, the University of Toronto highlights several reported incidents around the encampment: antisemitic slurs, harmful and threatening speech, physical assaults, swarming, vandalism, and property damage. B'nai Brith Canada’s legal team will request the court to grant them intervener status to address these serious concerns and support the university’s efforts.

"The current situation on campus has created an environment of intimidation and fear, particularly for Jewish students, faculty, and staff," said Richard Robertson, Director of Research and Advocacy for B'nai Brith Canada.

"Jewish students should not have to face hostility and threats in their place of learning. The university must take definitive steps to ensure the campus is safe for everyone. Now is the time to stand against hate and violence and to secure a respectful and inclusive campus environment," he added.

The encampment at U of T is similar to anti-Israel encampments that have been set up at campuses across the US in recent weeks.

Toronto has seen an uptick in acts of antisemitism in the months following Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel.

In early November, an Indigo book store in downtown Toronto was vandalized with red paint and posters plastered on its front windows wrongfully accusing its Jewish founder and CEO, Heather Reisman, of “Funding Genocide.”

In January, a Jewish-owned grocery store in Toronto was spray-painted with the words “Free Palestine” and later set on fire.

Days later, Toronto police arrested four people on a highway overpass, located near a predominantly Jewish neighborhood, that has become the site of recurring pro-Palestinian Arab protests.

In February, an anti-Israel protest at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto turned into a display of antisemitism. At least one protester was documented scaling the hospital with a Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) flag.

Last week, the Kehillat Shaarei Torah Synagogue in the city’s north end was vandalized for the second time in four weeks.

Over the weekend, two gunmen opened fire on Bais Chaya Mushka Elementary School, a Jewish girls school located in the North York district of Toronto. There were no injuries in the incident, which took place at 4:52 a.m. local time.