Pro-Palestinian tent protests have spilled onto Canadian campuses. What happens next?

Pro-Palestinian students set up a tent encampment on April 29, 2024, at the University of British Columbia. (Photo by Maria Kleiner)

At least five Canadian university campuses are now home to temporary tent cities erected by pro-Palestinian students protesting Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza. The U of T, McGill, Western, the University of Ottawa and the University of British Columbia have all become focal points for protestors insisting they won’t leave until their schools divest of financial ties to Israel, among other demands. Other post-secondary institutions, such as Toronto Metropolitan University, are coping with sit-in protests.

So far, local police departments have not forcibly cleared out the compounds, as happened earlier this week at Columbia University in New York, where the movement began. But protests on this side of the border are equally polarizing: some Jewish students and faculty have joined them, while Hillel and other Jewish organizations argue these demonstrations aren’t peaceful, and are in fact calling for the destruction of Israel and kicking Zionists off campus.

So what’s behind the phenomenon? And where will it go next?

On today’s episode of The CJN Daily, we hear from Opher Baron, a management professor at the University of Toronto who’s worried that protests could derail an important annual conference he’s hosting next week; then we’re joined by Arno Rosenfeld, the Forward’s antisemitism beat reporter, who’s been covering the chaos from Columbia to UCLA, the University of California, Los Angeles.

What we talked about:

  • Read more about McGill encampment, in The CJN
  • Follow Arno Rosenberg’s work and get his Antisemitism Notebook newsletter in the Forward
  • Learn more about Opher Baron at Rotman’s School of Management
  • Listen to Wednesday’s interview with three Canadian Sunday school students who took home the top prizes at the International JewQ contest, run by Chabad, on The CJN Daily

Credits:

The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Zachary Kauffman is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To subscribe to this podcast, please watch this video. Donate to The CJN and receive a charitable tax receipt by clicking here. Hear why The CJN is important to me.