Downtown Concerned Citizens Organization

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A graduating student based at University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus told a town hall on anti-Semitism Tuesday night that he has the “utmost disdain” for the university and its administration because, he says, they have failed to make him “feel safe” as a Jewish student.

Tyler Samuels, who is a Jamaican Jew, said he stopped wearing his kippah on campus after constantly being “harassed or stopped.

“As I leave U of T, I would blatantly say I would not come back for a grad degree,” Samuels told a virtual audience consisting of attendees from around the world and 34 Jewish groups. “I would not recommend it (U of T) for Jewish students … anti-Semitism has ingrained itself at the university.”

Chaired by B’nai Brith CEO Michael Mostyn, the hour-long town hall heard from both Jewish professors and students who say they have experienced anti-Semitism at all three U of T campuses and who all claimed the university’s administration has done nothing about it.


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Yardena Rosenblum, who is in second-year neuroscience at U of T Scarborough, said one student asked her, “where are your horns?” — one of the classic anti-Semitic tropes.

Gabriela Rosenblum, in her fourth year at U of T Scarborough, said recent motions have been passed that state every executive member of the student union needs to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) and that the union will no longer support any Jewish clubs.

In a virtual annual general meeting last November, the Scarborough Campus Students Union (SCSU) reaffirmed its commitment to the BDS movement. It also approved two motions stating the SCSU will not engage with any organizations that “further normalize Israeli apartheid” and that any future elected representatives and staff of their union uphold their commitment to justice in Palestine.

BDS is a worldwide campaign that seeks to delegitimize Israel by encouraging academics, singers and other artists not to appear in Israel and pushes for boycotts of Israeli products.

Grad student Chaim Katz said Jewish students have to demonstrate that they are a “good kind of Jew” to be accepted — meaning one that is on the “right side of the Israeli conflict.”

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Howard Tenenbaum, a professor with the faculty of dentistry, said he was so upset 1 1/2 years ago when the Graduate Students Union refused to allow the provision of kosher food on campus, he penned a letter to the university’s president Meric Gertler — which was signed by 40 professors.


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After months of discussion and a Kosher Forward campaign, UofT began offering kosher food options at food vendors on its downtown campus in January of last year.

That notwithstanding, Tenenbaum said when he didn’t get an answer from the president for six months, he said he asked for a meeting with Gertler at which the president was provided a report on how to tackle anti-Semitism on campus.

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He claimed he never got a response to the report and a committee set up to study anti-Semitism on campus has made “very little progress.”

“Anti-Semitism is not taken as seriously as racism (at U of T),” Tenenbaum said.

  1. Chaim Katz is pictured in an undated photo

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  2. B'nai Brith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn.

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A statement issued to the Toronto Sun by U of T Wednesday says officials “condemn in the strongest possible terms, anti-Semitism” and any allegation of anti-Semitism received by the university is treated with the “utmost seriousness” and is “investigated fully.”

The statement clarified that the Anti-Semitism Working Group was only established in December 2020 and is “working hard to fulfil its mandate.”


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