According to Canada’s CityNews, a mural hanging in country’s York University student centre, seen by some as anti-Semitic, has prompted media mogul Paul Bronfman to pull his support from the university. Bronfman heads William F. White a media equipment company.
“The upshot is that if that poster is not going by the end of day today then William F. White is out of York,” Bronfman had said. “York is going to lose thousands of dollars of television production equipment used for emerging student filmmakers, access to technical people who do education and student training and student seminars, workshops and open houses at William F. White Center that help them develop the hard skills needed to fill industry infrastructure positions like gaffer or grip: they will no longer be invited. York University will be persona non grata at William F. White International until they take that poster down.”
The mural depicts a man with rocks in his hands looking at a bulldozer near a building. On his back is a Palestinian flag and a map of Israel without borders. Below that are the words Justice and Peace.
Danielle Shachar, a Jewish student at the University said, “If a mural condoning violence against any other nation was hung on campus, it would rightfully be condemned. Only when it pertains to Jews do we see this disturbing double standard.”
There have been been a number of anti-Israel protests and hateful graffiti appearing on campus. Shachar describes the campus as “a breeding ground for violence, hate and discrimination against Israel and its student supporters.”
In a statement from York University, Joanne Rider said the artwork displayed in the Student Centre is overseen by a separate Board of Directors and is a separate legal entity from the University.
“We consulted widely with experts who told us that we are not in a legal position to compel the Student Centre leadership to remove the artwork,” she said, adding that the school encourages freedom of expression.
“Freedom of expression is one of York’s guiding principles. Members of the York community have the right to express their views and to test and challenge ideas, provided they do so within the law and in a peaceful and non-threatening manner. We are an inclusive university and we care about how our students feel.”
She also said she is disappointed with Bronfman’s decision to pull his company’s support.
“We deeply regret Mr. Bronfman’s decision and would like to thank him for his support,” she says in the release. “Our Arts, Media, Performance and Design students have benefited from the experiential learning activities made possible by his generosity.”