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York faculty group recommends defining support of Israel as ‘racism’


The document concludes that the university’s pledge to ‘fight racial inequity’ can’t be done unless administrators actively seek to isolate and destroy the Zionist ‘settler colonial project’

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A York University faculty committee has recommended that the school henceforth define any acknowledgement of Israel’s existence as evidence of “anti-Palestinian racism.”

According to an April 5 “recommendations report” leaked to National Post, an official committee within York’s Department of Politics has proposed that any defence of Israel be viewed as “anti-Palestinian, Islamophobic, and anti-Arab.”

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The document cites York University’s official pledge to take “proactive steps to fight racial inequity,” and concludes that this can’t be done unless administrators actively seek to isolate and destroy the Zionist “settler colonial project.”

“The struggle for Palestinian self-determination will support the liberation of all humans and non-humans from colonial oppression,” it reads.

The nine-page document was released by the Department of Politics Palestine Solidarity Committee. In a preamble, the body writes that they were created with faculty approval on Nov, 14, 2023 with a mandate to draft “a departmental definition of anti-Palestinian racism.”

“It is the systematic and structural denial of the Palestinian right to self-determination and national liberation, and the collective existence of the Palestinian people, while upholding Zionism,” reads the final definition.

It adds, “Zionism is a settler colonial project and ethno-religious ideology in service of a system of Western imperialism that upholds global white supremacy.”

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The committee complains that York University is becoming a landscape of “surveillance, fear, intimidation and repression” for anybody advocating “Palestinian liberation.” As one example, they say that faculty members “should not be pressured to condemn Hamas.”

“More students have expressed or reported feeling that the university has become an unsafe environment,” it reads.

The document makes several references to the importance of “academic freedom” and “free speech.” “Academic freedom allows us to comment and critique on historically and philosophically relevant topics in context and allows for the pursuit of truth and fulfillment of university objectives,” it reads.

However, it is made very clear that these principles should not apply to anybody supportive of Israel, working with Israeli academics, or having any peripheral connection to Israel whatsoever.

The document advocates “severing ties with Zionist departments and institutions” and imposing a total commercial boycott on anything Israeli.

The committee even recommends boycotting the coffee companies Aroma and Starbucks. Both companies are headquartered in the United States and have no Israeli ownership or management, but in recent months they’ve nevertheless become the target of boycott Israel campaigners.

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In Aroma’s case, it’s because the chain operates locations in Israel. Starbucks does not have any Israeli locations, but it made the hit list purely because it sued a U.S. worker’s union for trademark infringement after they attached the Starbucks logo to a statement issued in the wake of the October 7 massacres declaring “Solidarity with Palestine!”

The document not only recommends a broad definition of anti-Palestinian racism, but demands that the university implement a streamlined system for “reporting anti-Palestinian racism and harassment.”

As part of this, they propose heightened consequences for anybody falling within their definition of anti-Palestinian racism. “We propose that the department advocate for a more transparent and effective University process for handling complaints and violations of the code of conduct, including reparatory justice and/or grounds for suspension or removal for individuals who violate the code of conduct and community safety standards,” it reads.

The Department of Politics is ultimately told that they cannot hope to fight York’s apparent crisis of “anti-Palestinian racism” until they issue a departmental statement that endorses an Israeli boycott and supports “the struggle for Palestinian liberation.”

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