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Join Ontario Students - Speak Out Against BDS

Nov 29, 2016

Want to learn what BDS (Boycott Divestment Sanctions) really means for Ontario? Hear from students on the front lines.

On Thursday, December 1, Gila Martow, Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) for Thornhill, will be presenting a motion in the Ontario Legislature that states that Ontario rejects the ideals and mission of the BDS (Boycott Divestment Sanctions) movement.

Across Canada, BDS is a movement that is particularly active on university and college campuses. Read below to see the testimonials of a selection of Hasbara Fellowships students as they state exactly what BDS means on campus. Please feel free to share these students' testimonials with your elected representative so they can see what BDS means to students on campus. Hasbara Fellowships Canada joins our partner organizations in speaking out in support of this motion and in opposition to BDS in Ontario.

If you wish to contact your MPP, click HERE

BDS was passed on my Campus at York University before I even got there. I can only imagine how things would've been different if it had not been passed, but my reality is an unnerving one. As a Jewish student I fear revealing my identity in classes and socially. I worry I will be treated unfairly by professors who espouse anti-Israel rhetoric whether relevant or not. I am discriminated against in progressive circles for who I am and for believing the Jewish people have a right to their ancestral homeland. BDS is a hate movement, and it affects me personally.
Rena Silver
York University

BDS hurts students' social life on campus, their academics and the overall school environment. School is about learning to build bridges, help one another learn and graduate and help create a positive and active social environment. With BDS, students are prevented from doing so. It is focused on fighting the "other" based on their differences in nationality, ethnicity and religion, creating a hostile campus environment for students to be at.
Natalie Anteby
University of Guelph-Humber

BDS is a movement that demonizes Israelis, supporters of the State, and creates tensions & divisiveness among communities (be it academic, or otherwise). It is usually detrimental to Palestinians too - the very people SPHR/SJP believes they are supporting (i.e. Sodastream shutting down a factory in Judean Samaria, and 600 Palestinians losing their jobs). BDS limits everyone's opportunities to work with Israeli products/technology and Israeli academics. As Canadians, we should continue to honour our relationship with the one true democracy in the Middle East. Having an open conversation about concerns within the region is valid, as it is important that we can be critical about leadership on both sides, but demonizing an entire people is the opposite action we should exercise.
Rebecca Starkman
Western University

As a student, I attend university in hopes of gaining knowledge and learning truths about the world. BDS is not only a group that is against one side in a two side battle, BDS contradicts the very principles of an educational institution by warping history and creating their own truths. School should be a place where one goes to learn the truth, not where truths get created.
Vlad Abramovitch
George Brown College

BDS  presents a dangerous single story to the student body by virtue of it systematically shutting down dialogue and debate. It has given legitimacy and a “green-light” to closeted Anti-Semites on university campuses to attack the Jewish People indirectly, by means of belittling and encouraging animosity against Israel. With every protest and event championing the BDS movement, the more blinded our fellow-students and faculty members become. In the current times, we live in today, with conflicts ongoing and the build-up of animosity being pitted against the Western World, it has gained the attention and support of anti-Israel entities on campus. This ongoing coalition has the intent of intimidating and silencing those who dissent and question. In the end, those who truly support a peaceful middle-east will have to face the consequences of BDS head on, and as students, we implore our figures of authority to take a concerted effort in gaining insight into the history of the ideology which birthed BDS and has inspired violence.
Matthew Chin
York University

I was a student at McMaster University when BDS passed. The campaign was detrimental to my and many other students’ well being. We were afraid to go through the Student Centre for the month-long campaign. There were false graphic images depicting violence in Israel, there were mock Israeli soldiers that went around harassing students, I know several students who were harassed for their Judaism and support of Israel. The holocaust was belittled and equivocated to the situation in Gaza. Israel was demonized. By passing BDS the student body sent a message to Jews and pro-Israel students that they were unwanted on campus. It made me and many others feel unsafe.
Aedan O'Connor
Ryerson University.

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