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Monday, December 22, 2014

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Video footage casts doubt on assault at York

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TORONTO — Video footage has cast doubts on the accuracy of reports that two Jewish students were assaulted during a pro-Israel event at York University earlier this month, a campus official said.

“From a physical assault perspective, you definitely see that no such thing was occurring,” Alex Bilyk, York’s director of media relations, said of the footage taken by security cameras of a Feb. 1 event to raise awareness for kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit.

The video, made available to The CJN, shows animated discussions and gesturing between Jewish and pro-Palestinian students. The recording shows that some 30 students were involved in all.

Police weren’t called, but campus security intervened. The Jewish students lodged a complaint with the university’s student conduct and dispute resolution office, and York appointed an adjudicator to investigate.

York did refer the case to the Toronto Police hate crimes unit, but no charges were laid.

“The police are very helpful in any kind of incident. In this particular case, we were watching the video and didn’t have any audio. There were allegations that some statements may have been made,” Bilyk said.

York invited local reporters to view the video.

Tyler Golden, co-president of Hasbara Fellowships at York, said earlier this month that about 50 activists and protesters surrounded 20 or so Jewish students and began chanting anti-Israel and anti-Semitic slurs.

He said two Jewish students were slapped, one on the arm and the other across the face.

Golden said Hasbara members have yet to see the security footage.

“It doesn’t seem like we can comment on that unless we see the video footage,” he said, adding that Hasbara is in the process of viewing the footage.

With files from JTA

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