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Hatred at York University By: Dan Rabkin
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Nadav Eliyahu Samuels has not had a chance to read the 28th issue of the Excalibur, York University’s student newspaper. As of late, the 14-year old Canadian boy has not had the opportunity to do much of anything. With multiple bullet wounds scattered across his body and numerous broken bones, Nadav is fighting for his young life in the intensive care unit at Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital in Jerusalem.

The time was 8:36pm and it was a regular Thursday evening for Nadav and his classmates at Mercaz HaRav. Crowding into their school’s library, Nadav and about a dozen of his more studious friends wanted to get in some extra study time before they went to sleep. Alaa Abu Dhein, in the meantime, had decided that this was his day to become a martyr for Allah.

Having worked at the school as a driver, the Israeli Arab had no trouble getting inside and knew exactly where to go to cause the most bloodshed. Rushing to the library carrying his box full of ammunition, Alaa loaded his first AK-47 magazine and went to work.

About 20 minutes and 600 shots later, the library’s books were soaked in blood, eight young Jews were dead, ten more lay wounded, and Abu Dhein was in “paradise.”

As had happened after the appalling acts of 9/11, thousands of people across the Islamic world immediately rushed into the streets to celebrate. People were dancing and candy was being given out; the usual reaction to one of their brethren attaining the status of shaheed. It is both remarkable and sad, that we have come to expect this kind of reaction and would be more astonished if such ghastly celebrations did not occur.

But what was the reaction in the Western world? Right here, in my very own city of Toronto?

Lama Aggad, a young Torontonian and York University student, started thinking about possible justifications for Abu Dhein’s actions. Naturally, this thinking led her to write, and later publish, her justifications in her university’s student newspaper, the Excalibur.

Titled “Jewish Attack Not a Surprise,” she rationalizes Abu Dhein’s massacre by asserting that “this school has direct connections to the Israeli Defense Forces and its graduating students are committing a holocaust in Gaza.”

Aggad’s article begs the question, how can our youth spend their most impressionable years being educated in an environment where the cold-blooded slaughter of eight defenseless students in a library can be justified with the assertion that their school “combines Talmudic studies and military service”?

The answer, to be honest, lies in the fact that York University is not your emblematic Canadian university. York has been a hotbed of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activity for years.

Numerous times a week groups such as Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights, Students Against Israeli Apartheid, and the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid host “The Apartheid Wall” display in one of the most visible areas on campus. According to Orna Hollander, a York student associated with Betar (a pro-Israel student group), the display is a “mock replica of Israel’s security fence designed to display inflammatory information which glorifies terrorism.” One of the more prominent pictures on the “wall” shows an “Israeli” soldier with the words, “Born to Kill,” etched into his helmet. In reality, the picture was taken in Afghanistan and the soldier in question is Canadian.

York is also the university that sponsored a speech by Islamist Mohamed al-Asi a few years ago. During his lecture al-Asi spoke at length about the “Jewish lobby” being the nefarious force behind a grand scheme that saw Mossad and the CIA infiltrate “Islamic combatant groups" in Afghanistan and orchestrate the attacks on September 11, 2001. All of this, according to al-Asi, because Muslims in America were beginning to stand up for themselves and, as a result, “the Jews” were furious.

Middle East expert and fellow FrontPage columnist Daniel Pipes, on the other hand, was threatened with cancellation and briefed by Toronto police about “hate speech” when he came to York. More than that, his audience was assaulted by pro-Palestinian protestors and forced to pass through metal detectors. Former Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Natan Sharansky was met with a similar climate when he came to speak this past week.

It is all too easy to blame this on Aggad and the other students who share her ideas. Maybe it has something to do with their culture or the type of religious institution they were exposed to as children.

But, deep down, we all know the problem is much larger.

Would Aggad waste her time writing the article if she didn’t think her editor would publish it?

Would her editor, Zalina Alvi, publish it if she didn’t think there was enough support for “Palestinian resistance” amongst the student body?

Would the student body have those beliefs if their professors hadn’t continuously lectured them about “Israeli aggression”?

Would those professors have lectured about “Israeli aggression” so much if York President Mamdouh Shoukri and his administration had objected to it?

Would the administration have objected more if they thought their public funding was in jeopardy?

We, as a society, have to start both asking and answering these questions.

If we don’t, more and more “apartheid wall” displays will go up across our campuses and, with them, more and more Lama Aggads will find ways to excuse an Islamic terrorist’s lust for black-eyed virgins.

Our hearts are prayers go out to the families of Avraham David Moses (16), Ro’i Roth (18), Neria Cohen (15), Yonatan Yitzhak Eldar (16), Yochai Lifshitz (18), Segev Peniel Avihail (15), Yehonadav Haim Hirschfeld (19), and Doron Meherete (26).

Dan Rabkin is a Middle Eastern Affairs and National Security analyst based in Toronto, Canada.  He was Canada’s 2005 Governor General’s Medalist.  He can be reached at rabkin.dan@gmail.com.

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