(Courtesy of Tammi Benjamin)
|Written by —|
|Wednesday, 24 February 2010|
TORONTO – At the last minute, York University has cancelled events organized by a coalition of Canadian pro-Israel students and organizations due to “security” concerns. The events organized by the Imagine With Us coalition were scheduled for this week in anticipation of Israel Apartheid Week (IAW), which begins on March 1.
The Imagine With Us coalition – a “multi-faith, multi-political movement that is concerned with maintaining Canadian values and keeping our campuses safe from hatred, discrimination and radical incitement, particularly from those subscribing to radical Islam,” explained Michael Mostyn, national director of public affairs for B’nai Brith Canada – is led by My Canada, a non-partisan organization of young adult Christians who are passionate about a variety of social justice issues, and B’nai Brith Canada.
On Monday and Thursday of this week, events were scheduled at York which included the participation of Middle East expert and political commentator Daniel Pipes, Israeli scholar of Arabic literature and political discourse Dr. Mordechai Kedar, ormer PLO terrorist Walid Shoebat, human right activist Rev. Majed El Shafie, social justice activist and founder of My Canada Faytene Kryskow, and B’nai Brith Canada CEO Frank Dimant. The events were scheduled to be streamed live to campuses across Canada and to be viewable online internationally.
On Monday morning, York University informed Imagine With Us campus partners Christians United for Israel (CUFI) that the university was cancelling the event due to the fact that Imagine With Us did not meet their requirements. York had required that the organizers include a formidable police and campus security presence paid for by the organizers, a list of all attendees in advance, a minute-by-minute synopsis of all speakers’ talking points and a ban on public advertising of the event at York and on satellite campuses.
York University has said that the requirements were demanded of the event organizers due to the participation of individuals who they claim invite the animus of anti-Israel campus agitators.
In an interview with the Jewish Tribune, Rob Kilfoyle, director of security at York, confirmed the event had been cancelled and stated that the need for security at events is determined on a case-by-case basis and that the participation of speakers such as Dimant and Pipes was the cause of the stringent requirements. When asked why similar demands were not made of the organizers of Israel Apartheid Week events, Kilfoyle stated that even though the organizers of those events will not be paying for their own security – as the university had demanded of Imagine With Us – York will be there “to monitor the activities.”
“York’s continued appeasement of anti-Israel agitators at the expense of Zionist Christians and Jews is unacceptable,” said Frank Dimant, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada. “Regardless of the fact that York has, in effect, banned me from lecturing on their campus, the show will go on despite all of the hurdles that are being putting in our way.”
The Imagine With Us event organizers continued with the event at an off-campus location for the benefit of the satellite campuses and international online viewers.
This week, the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy (CIJA) and Hillel, with the support of local federations, are also running a campaign. Entitled Size Doesn’t Matter, it stresses Israel’s remarkable achievements in science, medicine, technology, business and humanitarian aid. The following week, during IAW, The Truth Campaign will feature posters with messages challenging the veracity of anti-Israel messages. Last Updated ( Wednesday, 24 February 2010 )