Offensive statements about Jewish students posted to social media by a professor at a London, Ontario university have been rebuked by Jewish groups who are calling for immediate action to be taken by school administrators.
In a series of tweets written on Sunday in response to an article about a University of Toronto medical school professor accused of being anti-Semitic, Western University assistant professor of transfusion medicine Zian Solh went after students who were Zionists, reported the London Free Press.
Comments included a tweet that singled out Jewish students. “If their culture is Zionism at the expense of the Palestinian people, they should be boycotted and sanctioned,” Solh tweeted.
Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center contacted Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine and Denstirty to lodge a complaint about Solh’s statements.
Schulich dean Dr. John Yoo said in a statement that Solh’s opinions expressed on social media are his own and do no reflect the views of the medical school or the university.
“Universities are places where controversial discussions and debates take place, and at times, unsettling ideas are presented and challenged. With this in mind, it’s important to note that individual faculty members have the freedom to express their opinions and beliefs, and those views are their own,” Yoo wrote.
“People feel that perhaps it looks better on them to be attacking and insulting Zionists than to be seen making those same comments about Jews,” said Jaime Kirzner-Roberts, director of policy at the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, in an interview with the Free Press. “Making this kind of distinction is absolutely false and our community rejects it.”
She said that Solh’s call for Jewish students to be singled out for their beliefs is antithetical to Canadian values.
“We are living in a moment right now where we are seeing Jew hatred hit the mainstream,” she said. “Right now more than ever we need our institutions to respond to that with a very clear message: ‘This is Canada. We respect everyone regardless of their religion and background.’ ”