JERUSALEM, Israel – The University of Toronto’s Graduate Students’ Union has apologized for opposing a measure to make kosher food options available on campus because doing so would be considered “pro- Israel” and against the student body’s values.
The union said in a statement released Sunday evening that it had “unintentionally caused harm toward the Jewish community” by refusing to support the Hillel student group’s Kosher Forward Campaign. Hillel said a union member told a Jewish student the executive board would not support bringing Kosher food to the University of Toronto because it would go against the “will of the membership.”
The student body said in its apology it “did not intend to do harm in using this language, but recognizes that this is not an excuse for the harm that the wording of this response caused to the individual receiving it as well as to Jewish students at U of T.”
The student union also said it has reached out to Hillel to “request a meeting to discuss how to remedy harm and how to mitigate future harm towards Jewish students on campus.” However, the union notes in its statement that it has not made an official decision to support Kosher Forward Campaign.
Hillel acknowledged the apology but said the response “does not address the anti-Semitic nature of their original response. This is the core issue that must be discussed.”
The university’s Graduate Student Union voted in 2012 to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.
The Times of Israel reports a complaint against this BDS committee has been pending before the university’s Complaint and Resolution Council for Student Societies for more than six months.