Antisemitic incidents occur on and off Queen’s campus

‘Nothing will stop us from sharing our Jewish pride’

Image by: Orlie Soroka
A Mezuzah outside a door.

Kingston and Queen’s Jewish communities unite following a week of antisemitic incidents.

In Leggett Hall Residence, a Mezuzah was removed from the doorpost of a Jewish student and damaged on Oct. 22.

A Mezuzah is a small box mounted on the right doorpost of Jewish homes. The box contains a scroll with Torah verses and holds spiritual and cultural significance.

“Some people believe that the Mezuzah provides special protection over the residents of the home where it hangs,” Queen’s Hillel said in a statement posted to their Instagram. “When they pass by a Mezuzah some people have the custom of kissing it (usually touching the Mezuzah with their hand, then kissing their hand).”

In response to the incident, students who previously didn’t have Mezuzahs on their doorposts put them up to make it clear antisemitism has no place at Queen’s. Queen’s Hillel Director Yos Tarshish and Rabbi Sruly Simon came to campus on Oct. 22 to put up new Mezuzahs on doorposts.

According to Residence Life and Services (ResLife), the on-call residence staff immediately responded to the incident and connected the student with support.

The incident was reported to the Kingston Police and an investigation has been launched in accordance with the University’s Harassment and Discrimination Policy.

Residence Life emailed residents in Leggett Hall, condemning all acts of violence, and reaffirming their dedication to creating a safe and inclusive environment for students living in residence. The University is using Flex dollars to incentivize students to anonymously identify the responsible individual.

“Acts of harassment and discrimination are unacceptable; they violate the university’s Harassment and Discrimination Prevention and Response Policy and expectations outlined in the Residence Contract, and will not be tolerated,” ResLife said in the email.

While ResLife asks students to report incidents, Queen’s Hillel encourages the Jewish community to stand together.

“For every act of antisemitic hate, we’ll counter with a hundred acts of Jewish pride and unity,” Queen’s Hillel said in a statement posted on Facebook.

Elsewhere on campus, Nati Pressmann, ArtSci ’25, explained that posters advocating for the return of Israeli hostages were taken down. The posters are part of a global campaign bringing awareness to the 200 Israelis taken hostage by Hamas on Oct. 7.

“This campaign uses posters with ‘Kidnapped’ written in red, along with a photo of one of the hostages, including their age and nationality,” Pressmann said in a statement to The Journal.

The posters were placed on light poles and traffic crosswalks on Division and Union and University, but Queen’s Facilities took the posters down.

“Placing posters on Queen’s or City light standards violates the Queen’s signage policy and City of Kingston bylaws respectively,” Queen’s University said.

There are several posters on campus calling for an “Intifada” meeting in Douglas Library, Pressmann told The Journal. Intifada refers to two Palestinian uprisings against Israel which led to many deaths on both sides.

“Israeli and Jewish students, like myself, grew up with retellings of horrific stories from the Intifada,” Pressman said. “To call for an Intifada is to call for violence against Jewish students at Queen’s. […] To call for an Intifada is to endorse terrorism as resistance and contribute to an increasingly unsafe environment for Jewish students.”

These posters haven’t been taken down over several days Pressman said. Campus Security claimed it wasn’t within their jurisdiction to remove the posters calling for Intifada since some were posted on City of Kingston property, according to Pressmann.

The University claims any material posted in contravention of university or departmental policies will be removed and discarded by the authorizing department or by university security or custodial personnel.

Off campus, Kingston Police arrested an 18-year-old male suspected in relation to a hate motivated incident following a Kingston Jewish Community rally held in Market Square on Oct. 17.

Participants leaving the rally were crossing the street when a black truck accelerated and turned into the crosswalk, almost hitting participants in the process. After investigating, the police believe the incident was motivated by hate directed towards the Jewish community, according to a police bulletin sent on Oct. 20.

The incident remains under investigation by Kington Police.


Antisemitism, leggett hall, rabbi

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Comments (7)

  • Antisemitism should not be tolerated ever. However it seems there seems to be a lot of folks conflating anti-Zionism as antisemitism which isn’t accurate or fair. There are many people who want to see a free Palestine and condemn the violence that Hamas and Israeli governments have perpetrated. Tensions are high and students rightly feel unsafe but not just Jewish students. And this article reads biased. Why didn’t you interview students/staff/faculty who are calling for Intifada so they could explain what it means to them?

    • What a terrible comment. There should never have to be a however or but after condemnation of anti-Semitism. The incidents in this article are specific to Jews. I’m sure if an Islamophobic incident took place there would be a similar article. And I can assure you that no one would comment, “what about the others?”. In response to your Intifada remark, Intifada means one thing. What are the organizers going to say? Are they going to justify October 7th or redefine what Intifada means? Might I suggest you check your own biases before commenting.

    • M Auger what an ignorant comment. Someone driving a truck at Jews in Canada has nothing to do with anti Zionism. How do you know the views of the students. They were targeted because they were Jews. That’s called anti semetism and you sir are complicit with it given your comment. Shame on you.

    • Universities have been drenched in DEI politics over the last ten years, a constant preaching of tolerance and inclusion.

      And yet not far below the surface lies hatred and bigotry.

      Something is not right with this.

  • I’m so sorry, but how can anyone compare Hamas to Israel? Israel is a democratic state, where people (not just Jews, but almost 2million Arab Muslims) make up the population of voters, who also serve in all aspects of government and social life.

    Hamas is a terror organization dedicated to wiping Jews not just out of Israel, but “into the sea”, that has been in total control of the independent Gaza Strip for almost 20 years, with no such elections or representation.

    While Israel as a country is far from perfect, it allows for protest and debate and it is NOT a terrorist organization funded by countries who seek to destroy democratic governments around the world.

    Those same governments (i.e. Iran) have allowed for billions of dollars of aid to go to building not civilian infrastructure for ordinary Palestinians to prosper, but to build an underground city of tunnels and munitions facilities under the civilian population that helped to facilitate a terror attack and hold innocent civilians of all ages, from dozens of countries, hostage. If all that money went instead to Palestinian support vs. military terror that represented THOUSANDS of rockets launched at Israel over years, this would not be the war that it currently is.

    Yes, both “sides”, whoever the honest brokers ultimately become who don’t seek to destroy the state of Israel, need to come to the table together at some point or these horrors will continue. To ignore the reality of the present, let alone of the past that justified the creation of the state of Israel, is just a modern version of the same historical societal support for previous attempts to demonize and destroy the Jewish people.

    Lastly, I have yet to see any violent Jewish protests anywhere in Canada calling for the destruction of anyone other than Hamas. All I’ve seen is the pleading for attention and support from Jewish groups that just don’t want to be demonized. I know that there are Arab and Muslim and Christian and other groups that support the Palestinian cause that are non-violent and stand with Jews, but the number of people who do not is what’s caused the fear to spread like wildfire around Canada

  • In 2005 Israel voluntarily, completely withdrew every single Israeli in 21 Jewish communities that co-existed in Gaza AND left Gazans with tons of infrastructure in place such as greenhouses, buildings for the Gazans to use to improve their lives. The Gazans celebrated their freedom from Israeli rule by quickly and utterly destroying what was left behind for them. Sound familiar?
    What happened on 10/7 was so heinous so horrific that even the most peaceful Israeli knows that Israel must destroy hamas and any others ability to wage war. Hamas brought this destruction on Gaza and only their unconditional surrender with the release of all hostages will end this Hamas instigated war. This is Israel’s survival. There will never be another attempt to wipe out Israelis in communities on their southern sovereign border.

  • There is pain on both sides. The impacts of this war are horrifying, including the increases in both Antisemitism and Islamophobia. The pain and fear felt by both groups is understandable. It is important to remember the main perpetrators of this type of bigotry are white supremacists. When looking at the horrific crimes occurring, you have to understand that, by definition, it is an apartheid. Cutting off food, water, and electricity is a war crime. That does not mean any violence that has happened is justified. In the future, if this war stops, we might have to reconcile with the fact that we watched a genocide occur on live TV in an open-air prison where 50% of the population are children. Hate begets hate, and the hate you give little infants fucks everyone. Again, the Antisemitic acts occurring on campus are disgusting and should not be tolerated. There is no evidence that the people perpetuating these crimes are associated with the Intifada posters, and such an implication shouldn’t made, especially as mentioned before, it is more likely the crime was committed by a white supremacist, who would also be Islamophobic. My heart goes out to all those who are suffering or in fear. The only solution to stop this violence and bigotry is to call for a ceasefire now.

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