Union leaders back U of T anti-Israel encampment: 'academic boycott of complicit Israeli universities'

'The administration says they are protesting on private property, a claim we reject entirely. They are protesting on stolen land,' reads a statement from the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

Union leaders back U of T anti-Israel encampment: 'academic boycott of complicit Israeli universities'
The Canadian Press / Christopher Katsarov
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Union leaders from various public sectors throughout the province have committed their support to the anti-Israel encampment recently erected at the University of Toronto.

U of T administrators issued a notice on Thursday, informing anti-Israel protesters that continuing their demonstrations on school premises after 10 p.m. could lead to legal consequences.

This warning prompted the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario and three local chapters to issue a solidarity statement.

"U of T would rather threaten involving law enforcement than address the calls for divestment from companies funding an active genocide — a stance that reveals the colonial core of its character. The administration says they are protesting on private property, a claim we reject entirely. They are protesting on stolen land," the statement claims.

"We expect a potential escalation this evening, so we are calling upon all community members to show up at 7PM and help us defend their encampment. They will not be leaving until they achieve divestment, disclosure, and an academic boycott of complicit Israeli universities," it continued. "The people united will never be defeated."

Video shared on social media Thursday evening showed CUPE Ontario president Fred Hahn, whose union represents close to 300,000 public sector workers in the province, shaking hands with anti-Israel demonstrators.

He was seen holding union flags and wearing a keffiyeh, a controversial Arab garb that has been adopted by supporters of Palestine.

CUPE Ontario also called on members to participate in an anti-Israel rally outside the American consulate in Toronto. That rally was run by the Palestinian Youth Movement, which celebrated the October 7 attacks by Hamas on innocent Israelis. The group has also supported the terrorist group Popular Front for Palestinian Liberation.

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