Several Canadian politicians and Jewish community representatives have denounced protests targeting former Israeli soldiers who spoke at York University in Toronto on Wednesday, following an evening filled with heated language, intimidation, and several physical altercations.
The anti-Zionist group Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) led the protest after campaigning for days against the event, which was organized by Reservists on Duty (RoD) and Herut Canada. Witnesses repeatedly described the demonstrations as charged, as several hundred protesters with loudspeakers and Palestinians flags faced off with some 100 event attendees and supporters holding Israeli flags.
Chants of “Free, free Palestine” could be heard throughout the evening, along with the slogan, “Viva, viva Intifada!” — a reference to popular Palestinian revolts against Israel that also featured suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks. Some counter-demonstrators responded with “Am Yisrael Chai” and “Hamas is a terrorist organization.”
Video footage showed a violent scuffle breaking out next to the event hall shortly before the presentation began, while physical confrontations were also recorded within the event space as protesters repeatedly interrupted speakers.