By Jonathan Bradley
Ryerson students are raising concerns after anti-Semitic flyers were discovered in Ryerson’s Library on Jan. 15.
The flyers were removed by Ryerson security only after they were brought to the university’s attention by students.
Images of the flyers were posted to Facebook by pro-Israel campus activism organization Hasbara Fellowships Canada. They allegedly had anti-Semitic statements such as “The Star of David is the cult of witchcraft” and “Zionist infiltrators control Canada” written on them.
Aeshah Ahmed, a first-year business management student, said that she received one of these flyers outside of the Eaton Centre in November. Ahmed said that as she was given the flyer, she thought the individual said, “know your rights.” However, after reading it, she realized he told her “you have no rights.”
Ahmed also said that she was shocked these flyers were found on campus.
“I think they shouldn’t be handed out, and it makes me feel really bad that they were,” she said. “I’m really happy that they had these flyers removed because they shouldn’t be here.”
After finding out about the flyers, Hasbara Fellowships Canada reached out to Ryerson president Mohamed Lachemi. Ryerson had these flyers thrown out within 24 hours of Hasbara Fellowships Canada reaching out.
“The flyers were brought to the attention of the university and we immediately asked our Community Safety and Security team to attend to LIB 072 and surrounding areas,” said Ryerson’s statement in an email to The Eye. “Security removed all of the materials and did a sweep to ensure there were no other issues in the area (vandalism, graffiti, or other materials).”
The co-presidents of Hillel Ryerson, Sarah Krupat and Mike Shulman, provided a statement to The Eye saying that these flyers are disturbing.
“Associating Jewish symbols and Zionism with these negative messages is hurtful to see on campus, but we understand these horrific viewpoints are held by a very small minority of people, and in no way represent the majority opinion of Ryerson or of the downtown Toronto community,” they said in their statement.
Devi Mehta, a fourth-year creative industries student, said that it is “messed up” these flyers were found on campus.
“It’s just weird,” said Mehta. “I feel like that sort of language is cult-like in itself, and I don’t understand why they put so much energy into wasting paper and space.”
Krupat and Shulman’s statement said that they are grateful Ryerson had these flyers removed quickly.
“While Hillel Ryerson works tirelessly to advocate about anti-Semitism and all forms of anti-Jewish hate, we know that there is always more to be done to educate the Ryerson community about the ongoing anti-Semitism that occurs on campus, in Toronto, and across this country,” they said in their statement.
“We are always looking for more campus allies to work with us to fight discrimination and appreciate our current collaborations with the president’s office as well as the RSU in this effort.”
Ryerson’s statement said that Ryerson security will continue to monitor this area and are instructed to remove copies of the flyers if any are found.