Antisemitism rise in Canada’s major universities being probed by MPs

Antisemitism. Image credit: Unsplash/ Levi Meir Clancy

 Ottawa/CMEDIA: Facing reportedly a tide of antisemitism and fear for their safety, Jewish students on major university campuses are being forced to hide their Jewish identity which school administrators are failing to protect them from, a group of students said Wednesday.

With a rise in antisemitism on their campuses triggered by the Israel-Hamas war, six students from schools in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta appeared on Parliament Hill to raise the alarm.

The students spoke with several Liberal MPs including Anthony Housefather which resulted in the initiation of a parliamentary committee study about antisemitism on campuses, supported by all parties, scheduled to begin Thursday.

“My friends who used to wear kippot on campus instead now wear baseball caps…because our universities have fostered and created an environment where being openly Jewish could be a threat to our physical and emotional safety,” said Nati Pressman, founder of the Canadian Union of Jewish Students.

Many students have reported a dramatic rise in antisemitic behaviour since Oct. 7, the day Hamas militants launched an attack on southern Israel, killing 1,200 Israeli civilians and military members.

To protest Israel’s war against Hamas, students and pro-Palestinian activists have recently set up encampments at some Canadian universities including McGill University, the University of Toronto, University of Ottawa and University of British Columbia.

Concerned about antisemitic chants and slogans featured at the protests, administrators and Jewish leaders said hate will not be tolerated.

The students on Wednesday said that school administrators had failed to respond to their safety concerns and hold people accountable for targeting Jewish students.