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September 1, 2016 12:54 pm

Major Canadian-Jewish Organization Calls on York U to Discipline Staffer Who Called 9/11 a ‘Zionist Attack,’ Said Jews ‘Cut Deal With Hitler’ to Run Nazi Camps

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York University lab technician Nikolaos Balaskas. Photo: York.

York University lab technologist Nikolaos Balaskas. Photo: York.

Following the appearance on social media of antisemitic and anti-Zionist remarks by a York University staff member, an official from a major Canadian Jewish advocacy group told The Algemeiner that the school’s administration must take decisive disciplinary action.

Aidan Fishman, campus affairs coordinator for B’nai Brith Canada, was referring to a slew of hate-filled Facebook posts over the years by York Department of Physics and Astronomy lab technologist Nikolaos Balaskas, who accused Jews of being “imposters” and “followers of the Evil One,” among other epithets.

Fishman told The Algemeiner on Thursday that his organization became aware of Balaskas’ postings after receiving complaints from a number of Jewish students at York.

“We then investigated the matter ourselves, finding not only that the students were correct, but that Balaskas had written many other antisemitic posts in the past,” he said, adding that his organization “acted swiftly to file a formal complaint with the York administration over this issue.” As a result of this complaint, the York Human Resources Department launched its own investigation, which, it said, would be completed “expeditiously.”

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According to Fishman, it is extremely important for strict measures to be taken against Balaskas, “particularly given that previous York investigations into antisemitic conduct have yielded disappointing results, often including no punishment whatsoever for perpetrators.” A strong message needs to be conveyed, he stressed, that antisemitism will not be tolerated at such an institution. “The absence of such a message would signal that the phenomenon is not only tolerated, but welcome, at York,” he said.

Balaskas’ postings were offered as evidence by B’nai Brith Canada of his “violation of a number of York University policies,” Fishman said. 

One example provided a post from January 2014, in which Balaskas wrote: “Many of the [Nazi] concentration camps were run by Jews. Most of the Jews running the camps were Zionist Jews who had cut a deal with Hitler. Most of the Jews in the camps were Torah Jews who did not support Zionism, usury, slavery or the Babylonian Talmud.”

Another, from July 2014, called 9/11 a “Zionist attack on New York City…which could not have happened without the full knowledge of high-level American traitors.” And in June 2015, he called the story of Anne Frank a “hoax.”

According to Fishman, Jewish and pro-Israel students at York find themselves in “a very negative campus climate,” with many saying the university has an “antisemitism problem.” He cited an instance of “claims of a ‘Zionist conspiracy’ to hijack the York Federation of Students made publicly at it annual general meeting last year.”

In addition, as The Algemeiner reported in February, controversy erupted over a York Student Center mural depicting a Palestinian aiming a rock at Israelis. As reported by The Algemeiner, Canadian-Jewish media mogul Paul Bronfman, a major donor to the university, pulled his funding after becoming aware of the wall painting.

Commenting on the investigation, York’s chief spokesperson Barbara Joy told The Algemeiner, “York University takes all allegations regarding inequity and discrimination seriously. As such, upon learning of the concern, we took immediate steps to begin and investigation. Our human resources department is leading the process. As this is a confidential employee matter, I am not able to comment further.”

Reports of antisemitism and anti-Zionism on college campuses in Canada have been numerous. In June, McGill made headlines when its Judicial Board ruled that resolutions supporting BDS violate the Constitution and Equity Policy of its student government. The decision came after an 18-month period in which three consecutive BDS campaigns, all of which failed, were waged on campus.

In August, as reported by The Algemeiner, a pro-Israel student advocacy group filed a human-rights complaint against the Student Association and Faculty Association of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology for being denied the chance to take part in a “Social Justice Week” event on campus, due to its endorsement of BDS.

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