Independent Jewish Voices York (IJVY) strongly condemns the interference and bullying tactics that the pro-Israel organization Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) has employed at York University. FSWC CEO Avi Benlolo has been aggressively pressuring the York University Faculty Association (YUFA) to oppose a student- and alumni-led initiative calling on the Board of Governors to remove its investments from weapons manufacturers.
In this case, FSWC has become so desperate that Benlolo has also accused YUFA of anti-Semitism simply for raising the question of whether York would be honouring its own commitment to social justice by continuing to invest in weapons.
Furthermore, Benlolo has levelled defamatory statements against Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA York) for its role as one of five organizing groups of the campaign; not only does Benlolo use false accusations of anti-Semitism to shut down criticism of Israeli policy, he also uses them to defend all weapons manufacturers. Indeed, the logic of condemning the weapons-divestment campaign as anti-Semitic is that investing in weapons companies is pro-Jewish. We condemn this dangerous association, and we stand firm in our support for SAIA York in its advocacy for equal rights and social justice for all.
IJVY believes that YUFA, and any other labour union in Canada, has the right to make its own decisions about ethical investment, independent of the bullying of pro-Israel organizations. We hope that YUFA stands strong in defending against this latest incident of external influence on the York community.