By Jared Hillel, photo is a screenshot.
The Algemeiner, an American newspaper focusing on political, social, and cultural events in the Jewish community, recently published a list of the U.S. and Canada’s worst schools for Jewish students.
The University of Toronto (U of T) and McGill University respectively ranked third and fourth in North America.The ranking was supplemented by two studies, which found 54 per cent and 75 per cent of Jewish students had witnessed or experienced anti-Semitism on American campuses.
To compile this list, the newspaper stated they considered several factors, such as the occurrence of anti-Semitic incidents on campus, the number of groups in opposition or support of Israel, and the availability of Jewish resources.
The publication also interviewed experts, campus activists, and students to gain additional insight.
U of T’s inclusion on the list was a result of several events hosted at the school that portrayed the Jewish state as “barbarous and colonialist,” according to the The Algemeiner.
The publication also cited “blatant” displays of racism, with the recent appearance of several swastikas around the campus.
The national director of Hasbara Fellowships Canada, a pro-Israel activist group, said in the publication that anti-Israel programs and initiatives are regularly organized at the U of T.
As for McGill, the paper said its appearance on the list was due to incidents in which support for Israel had prompted anger on campus. Recently, access to a pro-Israel “peace wall” was blocked by protesters on campus.
The McGill Daily, the university’s student newspaper, also recently admitted to “censoring pro-Israel content,” according to The Algemeiner.
Daniel Freed, a second-year cultural studies and Jewish student at McGill University, said he has not personally felt discriminated while on campus.
However, Freed said he understands where the complaints are coming from. He said a recent Israeli celebration “got shut down on [the university’s] lower field by protesters, and left a lot of Jews feeling shaken.”
“There’s a strong anti-Israeli sentiment that’s led to very vocal support for [the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement], which is a movement with the goal to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians, and pressure the country to comply with international law,” he added.
Rob Nagus, Hillel U of T director, said he does not agree with The Algemeiner placing U of T on their list.
“The list does not accurately represent the experience of most Jewish students on our campus, and is, in fact, rather misleading,” Nagus said. “The article focuses only on isolated anti-Semitic and anti-Israel incidences, which does not tell the complete story of the robust campus experience most Jewish students have.”
He said the list “does not account for the great work done by Hillel and others building a vibrant and dynamic Jewish student community with many educational, social justice, and community themed programming and opportunities.”
Carleton University was not featured on the list. Michaela Van Mourik, a first-year Carleton criminology student who is Jewish, said she did not feel any worries of anti-Semitic ideologies circulating around campus.
The Algemeiner also compiled a list of schools with the least anti-Semitism, which featured Yeshiva University from New York City in first place.