Ryerson Pro-Israel Student Organization Pulls Sponsorship From Controversial Conservative Event After Harassment by Jewish Community, Group Executive Says
A pro-Israel student organization at Canada’s Ryerson University pulled co-sponsorship from a controversial event this week, after being harassed by the Jewish community for participating, a group executive told The Algemeiner Friday.
The school’s chapter of Students Supporting Israel (SSI) was set to back Wednesday’s program on free speech featuring Ezra Levant, the Jewish founder of the right-wing online platform Rebel Media, but rolled back its involvement after being flooded by antagonistic messages from Ryerson students and the greater Toronto community, said the student executive, who asked to remain anonymous.
“We got a lot of flak and harassment, all from other Jews. We received messages that we aren’t ‘real Jews,’ that we are ‘terrible people’ or that someone’s ‘synagogue stands against us,'” the student said, adding that the group also reevaluated its affiliation, “because some SSI members were themselves uncomfortable being associated with Levant.”
The group withdrew a few days before the event and it was run entirely by Ryerson Campus Conservatives.
Ryerson student Aedan O’Connor wrote at the conservative news site the Daily Wire that Levant’s speech was heavily protested, including by anti-Israel demonstrators chanting the popular slogan, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
According to local paper the Torontoist, protesters held signs reading such statements as, “My Judaism Rejects Israeli Apartheid and Ezra Levant.”
Levant was found guilty of libel in 2014 — after referring to a law student as an “illiberal Islamic fascist” and antisemite — and later warned that his case could have far-reaching effects, including it soon becoming illegal to publicly call out Jew-hatred in Canada.
As The Algemeiner reported, members of Ryerson’s Jewish community were enraged last month when it came to light that the student council president had lied about his direct involvement in derailing a vote on a proposal to instate “Holocaust Education Week.”