Antisemitism At UBC as Geography Professors Boycott Hillel Gala

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Once again in the country of my birth, BDS rears it’s ugly, bigoted, antisemitic head.

After a narrow “victory” at Ottawa U last week (while BDS had a majority of votes, they didn’t have the two-thirds majority needed to win), a few hours’ flight away in British Columbia, a group of professors have decided to boycott a conference that was to take place at Hillel’s facilities – apparently because they disagree with their support of Israel.

The following post has been making the rounds of my Facebook news feed among the college set:

The professors from Geography Department at UBC boycotted a gala that was scheduled to be hosted at Hillel because they objected to the State of Israel. They threatened not to attend if it was hosted there. This is clear-cut antisemitism.

Recently, the Geography Students Association (GSA) cancelled a private event at Hillel due to pressure and intimidation from faculty members of the Department of Geography at UBC, who adamantly refused to attend the event if it was hosted at Hillel, the Jewish student centre on campus. As a result, a Jewish student resigned from the GSA executive as he felt targeted and discriminated against.

The excuse provided by these faculty members is that Hillel has too much of a “controversial” and “political” nature. Theirs is an absurd justification and a wrongful mischaracterization of Hillel. First and foremost, Hillel is a safe space for Jewish students, and a place where all are welcome to engage in dialogue. The truth is that what these faculty members object to is Hillel’s support of the existence of the State of Israel.

If the excuse provided by professors is the truth, that they are boycotting Hillel because they disagree with its “politics,” then these faculty members are guilty of actively suppressing the engagement of diverse perspectives, when it is they who should be aiding this process. As an individual you are entitled to your opinion, but as a professor you are not entitled to use your podium to promote intolerance or to intimidate students to advance your own political agenda.

This is a de facto boycott of Hillel and Jewish spaces on this campus. Of greatest concern, is that, not only are faculty members of a department at this university openly promoting antisemitism, but they are assisting in its normalization.

One professor proclaimed that “nothing would ever induce [me] to cross the threshold of Hillel House,” a sentiment which was reaffirmed by several other faculty members. This adamant refusal to “cross the threshold” of Hillel begs the question of under what conditions these faculty members would agree to do so.

That the faculty should set political pre-conditions upon which they will agree to associate with students on this campus, pre-conditions which they would not ask of any other group, is fundamentally anti-Semitic. These faculty members are saying to Jewish students that they reject a Jewish space on campus, and that they reject them unless they conform to their personal ideology.

Hillel being boycotted for being too pro-Israel is kind of ironic, considering I’ve posted in the past (here, here, here, and here) about Hillel being too tolerant of anti-Israel views that are so detrimental and damaging to the Jewish population it is tasked with serving.

Hillel, as the Center for Jewish life on campus, being boycotted for their political beliefs, reflects the same fascism the Left loves to show for those with whom it disagrees.

Updates to follow.

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Lex is a trained comedy actor who is Montreal's second-favourite export aside from poutine.

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