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January 31, 2017 5:12 pm

Canadian Trade School Retracts Policy Rejecting Israeli Students Following Jewish Community Uproar

avatar by Rachel Frommer

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Island School of Build Arts. Photo: Bnai B'rith Canada.

Island School of Build Arts. Photo: B’nai Brith Canada.

A Canadian trade school has retracted its policy of rejecting students based on their Israeli nationality, following major blowback from the local Jewish community.

The change by the Island School of Building Arts (ISBA) comes after advocacy group B’nai Brith Canada intervened on behalf of Israeli Stav Daron, who was turned away by ISBA with an email stating: “Due to the conflict and illegal settlement activity in the region, we are not accepting applications from Israel.”

According to B’nai Brith, ISBA — located on the small Gabriola Island of British Columbia — has also promised to publish an apology on its website.

Daron, an engineering student and budding carpenter, expressed appreciation for the “outpouring of support” he received from the “grassroots Canadian Jewish community,” the group said in a statement.

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According to the Jerusalem Post, Daron had been in contact with ISBA’s manager of student services, Patricia Rokosh, about signing up for a four-week course, and mentioned that he was from the Jewish state. Rokosh then sent him the email stating that ISBA does not accept Israelis.

According to the report, Daron responded, “It’s really sad to hear that a place that takes pride in taking students from across the world would behave like this.”

Rokosh wrote back, “It is sad that decisions being made halfway around the world impact us here as we have had a number of students from Israel attend the school in the past. This is a question of staying in line with our moral compass, which will always be important to us. We are still inclusive and cannot support that which is not inclusive.”

Daron then told Rokosh, “not taking applications from Israeli students just because they are from Israel is racism.”

Canadian universities have seen frequent incidents of anti-Jewish hostility in recent years. As The Algemeiner reported, a tenured York University professor was recently suspended and placed under investigation after espousing antisemitic conspiracy theories for years; an instructor at University of Toronto was exposed for harassing Jews online; and Ryerson University was the scene of a student protest against a vote to institute a Holocaust Education Week.

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