You might be astonished to learn that for the third time in the past month, Israel’s apologists in Canada have banned a Palestinian human rights group from organizing on campus. On Tuesday, Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) at York University was officially banned until January 2014 by the university’s administration for staging a protest that was purportedly too noisy. A York alumnus who organizes with SAIA was also given a trespassing notice, simply for organizing with the group. This is a total affront to freedom of speech and academic freedom.
It’s obvious what is happening at York and at campuses across the country: censorship of voices that are critical of Israel’s discriminatory policies. Through SAIA’s dedicated organizing, the Graduate Student’s Association and the York Federation of Students both recently passed motions in support of the Palestinian civil society call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel. The group also collected over 5,000 signatures for a petition in support of divesting from companies that the University’s pension and endowment funds invest in—companies that produce weapons and technologies that support Israel’s occupation and the maiming of innocent Palestinian civilians.