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A top Canadian Jewish group is calling on the University of Toronto to defy a campaign to install a violently anti-Israel academic at the head of one of its major programs.

The university was considering placing Valentina Azarova at the head of the International Human Rights Program (IHRP) at its law school.

The apparent decision not to hire Azarova has prompted howls of outrage from anti-Israel activists, who are putting immense pressure on the university to reverse its stance and hire her.

B’nai Brith Canada urged the university over the weekend not to cave to the pressure.

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September 27, 2020 11:53 am

CEO Michael Mostyn said, “Ms. Azarova is seeking a position that requires fairness, honesty, and academic integrity. But her uncompromising activism, in our opinion, would be a defeat for academic freedom on campus.”

“Public opinion is changing now that we are presenting the other side of this story for the first time,” he asserted. “We expect that this will continue, and that U of T will stand firm against the current lobbying campaign.”

Azarova has claimed she does not intend to do “Palestine work” in her new position, but critics claim that this is highly unlikely given her background.

They note that 90% of her academic work is on the Palestinian issue, with a stridently anti-Israel bias. She has also participated in platforms with aggressively pro-Palestinian positions, such as the hate site Electronic Intifada.

In addition, critics charge that Azarova has terrorist connections, having worked for the organization al-Haq, which has extensive ties to the terrorist group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), blacklisted as a terrorist organization by the Canadian government.

The University of Toronto recently took action against antisemitism after a representative of the student union said kosher food should be banned on campus because Jews support Israel.

University President Marc Gertler committed to oppose antisemitism, and met with a committee of university professors outraged by the incident, pledging to improve the situation.

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