U of Toronto Graduate Student Union opposes campus kosher food as ‘pro-Israel’
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U of Toronto Graduate Student Union opposes campus kosher food as ‘pro-Israel’

Organization tells local Hillel representative that support for campaign for kosher items is against ‘will of the membership,’ which is for boycotting Israel

Illustrative: A protester holds a sign reading 'Boycott Israel, Free Palestine' during a Quds-day demonstration in Berlin, on June 9, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / Tobias SCHWARZ)
Illustrative: A protester holds a sign reading 'Boycott Israel, Free Palestine' (Tobias SCHWARZ/AFP)

A University of Toronto student union refused to support a campaign by the school’s Hillel to make kosher food available on campus, since doing so would be “pro-Israel.”

The Graduate Student Union told a Jewish student representing Hillel in requesting support for its “Kosher Forward” campaign in an email that supporting the kosher food campaign would go against the “will of the membership,” Hillel said in a statement alleging discrimination on the part of the student union.

The Graduate Student Union voted in 2012 to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS movement against Israel.

“Hillel strongly condemns this type of rhetoric, which associates support of the State of Israel with a campaign to make campus more accessible for Jewish students,” the statement said.

“This inability to separate Jewish individuals from the Israeli government’s actions is, indeed, a form of anti-Semitism,” the statement also said.

The Graduate Student Union at University of Toronto is the only student union in Canada with a committee dedicated to promoting the BDS movement, according to B’nai Brith of Canada. A complaint against this BDS committee has been pending before the university’s Complaint and Resolution Council for Student Societies for over six months.

On Sunday, B’nai Brith of Canada wrote to officials at the university, asking them to swiftly condemn the Graduate Student Union’s stance on the kosher food initiative, ensure that the complaint against the GSU BDS Committee is expedited, and work to make kosher food more accessible on campus.

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