David Frum writes in Canada’s National Post:
..At York, speech is free — better than free, subsidized — for anti-Israel haters. But for those who would defend Israel, York sets very different rules.
In advance of York’s annual hate-Israel week, the campus group Christians United for Israel applied to use university space to host a program of pro-Israel speakers.
The university replied that this program could only proceed on certain conditions.
It insisted on heavy security, including both campus and Toronto police — all of those costs to be paid by the program organizers. The organizers would also have to provide an advance list of all program attendees and advance summaries of all the speeches. No advertising for the program would be permitted — not on the York campus, not on any of the other campuses participating by remote video.
These are radically different and much harsher terms than anything required from the hate-Israel program. The hate-Israel program is not required to pay for its own security. It is free to advertise. Its speakers are not pre-screened by the university.
The pro-Israel event, scheduled for this past Monday, Feb. 22, was cancelled when the organizers declined to comply with the terms. A university spokesman told the Jewish Tribune that it insisted on the more stringent requirements on pro-Israel groups “due to the participation of individuals who they claim invite the animus of anti-Israel campus agitators.”
The logic is impressively brazen: Since the anti-Israel people might use violence, the speech of the pro-Israel people must be limited. On the other hand, since the pro-Israel people do not use violence, the speech of the anti-Israel people can proceed without restraint.
Mr. Frum goes on to comment about what we’ve already stated on Jewlicious a number of times. York University has become a difficult place for Jewish students who wish to be involved in campus Jewish life to do so without being penalized by the current environment on campus. This is an environment that the university’s administration has indirectly fostered. An administration-appointed task-force committee put out a report over the aggressive hounding of the students who were hounded into the Hillel office last year, and concluded (incredibly) that both sides needed to take future responsibility for potential actions in similar ways. In other words, the instigators got off with nothing more than a mild warning and the pleasure of knowing their victims were held at fault to the same degree as they. Yes, the two ring-leaders were given a slap on the wrist, but some anti-Israel professors quickly gathered some funds to support them, so that not even a mild punishment was suffered by the offenders.
At that time, the Jewish community and the active Jewish organizations on campus accepted the verdict politely. They shouldn’t have, because it was a clear victory for the other side which had clearly crossed a boundary. They shouldn’t have because it means that even more Jewish students who might have reconsidered, decided to attend York.
Well, now it’s out in the open. If you’re Jewish and studying at York University, do your best not to be visually identifiable as a Jew, because somebody might hit you. Be sure not to participate in campus politics, because somebody might yell at you. Be sure not to take part in active Jewish organizational life, because you and your organization will be targets. Be very careful not to support Israel openly, because then you can be certain that you will be vilified and treated differently than all other students, not just by anti-Israel organizations, but, as Frum points out, by York’s administration.
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