Give a listen to this interview with Gayle McFadden, York University's Vice President of Operations for the York Federation of Students on CBC Radio's As It Happens:
The interview comes in the wake of the news that philanthropist and businessman Paul Bronfman has withdrawn financial support for York University over its refusal to remove a controversial mural in its student centre which many Jews find deeply offensive. The mural portrays a Palestinian clutching large rocks, with the implication they are to be used against Israelis. Many Israelis have been murdered by Palestinian rock-throwers. Also in the mural is a map of Palestine in which Israel has been eradicated, reflecting the chant so often repeated by anti-Israel activists at York, "from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free." From the river to the sea refers to the entire territory from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean, which includes both Israel and the Palestinian Territories and by "free" they mean free of Jews.
In defending her position not to remove the mural, McFadden continually deflects to the talking point that criticism of Israel is not of itself antisemitic. It's a strawman argument, since Bronfman himself concedes that point. However obsessive efforts to delegitimize Israel's right to exist, and to uniquely try to deny the Jewish people a right to self-determination, which is a facet of the "Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions" campaign the mural represents, are indeed antisemitic
In the interview with host Carol Off, McFadden admits that a number of Jewish students at York have expressed to her that they were upset about the mural in York's Student Centre that they consider antisemtic and an incitement to violence against Israelis.
Astoundingly, while agreeing that the Student Centre is a place that is supposed to be welcoming to all students, in response to a question in the last minute of the interview, McFadden says that she believes the Centre is welcoming to all students with the mural on the wall.
Considering that McFadden and York's President acknowledged that many students have explicitly told her they find the mural hateful and discriminatory, it is difficult to find an alternate way of explaining McFadden's claim other than that she must be either a bald-faced liar or has some sort of mental defect.
Well this Irish Catholic, thinks it is violently and menacing anti-semitic. We ought to call it the genocide mural as it clearly advocates the obliteration of a whole nation.
Lorne Sossin has a very short memory. In 2009 Jewish students at York had to be escorted from the building under police guard in order to protect them from a mob of anti-Jewish protesters.
In my opinion our public universities need to be de-funded so that they can be forced to refocus on core activities. Student unions are parasitic bodies that students should be able to opt out of. All funding should be dispersed directly through the client, student, directly to the faculty.
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