Premier Ford denounces ‘vile hatred’ at York U protests

Violent clashes erupted at a school-sanctioned event hosted by a Jewish group. Melissa Nakhavoly with the fallout from a tense, troubling situation.

By News Staff

Premier Doug Ford and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) are condemning violent protests that interrupted an event at York University on Wednesday night.

Toronto police tell CityNews Israeli soldiers were scheduled to talk at a lecture at Vari Hall between 7 – 9 p.m.

Several protesters showed up, sparking a tense confrontation. Video from the protests shows several police officers intervening as two groups shove and take swats at each other.

No arrests were made, but several people were escorted off the property.

In a statement, The CIJA said it was “appalled” by the violent protests “targeting a program run by a Jewish campus club.”

“We believe in the right of students to freedom of speech, including the right to criticize and contest ideas. However, there is no place on campus for intimidation or the disruption of student programs.”

“The fact that last night’s protests required such a significant police presence is alarming.”

In a tweet, Premier Ford said he was “shocked by the vile hatred” on display and he criticized the school. “I am disappointed that York University allowed for a hate-filled protest to take place last night …”

“I stand with the Jewish students and the Jewish community. There is no place in Ontario for racism and hatred.”

York University president Rhonda L. Lenton released a statement Thursday afternoon saying “acts of violence are not tolerated on our campuses and York University has zero tolerance for hate.

“There is simply no place for it in our community. Together with York’s faculty, staff and students, I am deeply disappointed by the behavior that was on display last night …”

Lenton said the school will work towards developing strategies for “fostering a more productive dialogue around these issues …”

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