A pro-Israel campus group says its members were met with anti-Semitic taunts at a Ryerson Students’ Union meeting Tuesday.
In a letter sent to RSU president Obaid Ullah, a spokesman for Hasbara Fellowships Canada said he was writing “on behalf of concerned Ryerson University students who are shocked and unsettled” after the meeting.
Robert Walker, the Canadian director of the group, said the RSU “has a duty to investigate this matter immediately and to take concrete, substantive steps to ensure that Ryerson University’s campus is not further poisoned by such anti-Jewish incitement and intimidation.”
Ullah told the Ryersonian late Wednesday that the RSU does take the reported incident seriously, and will begin an investigation.
In an email distributed by Walker and containing the letter he sent to the RSU, he says the remarks were made at the RSU’s semi-annual general meeting (SAGM), where some students presented a motion asking the RSU to commemorate Holocaust Education Week.
The email, which the Ryersonian has seen, says that anti-Semitic remarks were directed at Jewish students present at the meeting, and that a “mass walkout” took place before the motion could be voted on.
After the motion had been discussed back and forth, the room lost quorum, meaning there were fewer than the 100 students present necessary to vote.
The meeting was adjourned shortly after, at about 10:30 p.m., without the motion having been voted on.
According to Ullah, there are accusations that the Muslim Students Association (MSA) staged a walk out. However, he says that the MSA members had their own meeting to attend that night, and left the SAGM because of time considerations.
Hasbara Fellowships Canada describes itself as “the country’s largest pro-Israel campus advocacy organization.” It says it “assists students in telling the truth about Israel on universities and colleges across the country” and provides resources to combat “anti-Israel propaganda.”
With files from Avery Friedlander