Ryerson University’s Student Union (RSU) is pressuring Canada’s largest student lobby group to boycott Israel for being an apartheid state.

At the Canadian Federation of Students’ national general meeting on Nov. 21, the RSU’s VP-education, Heather Kere, will present a motion that proposes a task force investigate a potential boycott.

Were the intended boycott to occur, Kere explained it would involve a campaign educating members on the situation of apartheid in Israel, uncovering the student unions’ ties to Israel, and subsequently cutting those ties.

Justin Opert, the program director for Western Hillel, does not believe people would just be boycotting Israel as a nation.

“My brother goes to Ryerson, and as a Jewish student he would be uncomfortable,” Opert said.

Kere assured the boycott has nothing to do with religion or nationality.

“We represent all students ... we have Jewish and Israeli students on our equity committee,” Kere continued. “They’re able to separate apartheid from nationality.”

Western Hillel president Kyle Lichtman said a boycott would limit education about the issue.

“You should be critical of what is going on ... even Jews should be open to that idea,” Lichtman said. “By boycotting, you’re shutting it out.”

Western’s Israel on Campus president, Bailey Koplowitz, echoed the sentiment: “Academic freedom must be protected ... silencing dialogue and boycotting others does nothing to advance a meaningful discussion.”

But the RSU has precedent for taking stances on similar issues, such as wars or human rights abuses in Haiti, Kere noted.

“At Ryerson, we have a clear direction on human rights and what we stand for,” Kere said.

She noted two campus campaigns involved with the RSU support an Israel boycott: the Anti-apartheid Campaign and Education Not Occupation Campaign.

The President of Ryerson, Sheldon Levy, issued a statement supporting Israeli academics, which Kere referred to as “very one-sided.”

Kere said Levy did not take into account Palestinians who cannot attend school.

With conflicting positions on the boycott apparent, a forum will take place at Ryerson on Nov. 28.

As for the upcoming motion, CFS’ deputy national chairperson, Brent Farrington, said the CFS has no opinion on the issue. The motion still requires a seconder before it can be debated.

“Obviously, it’s a very sensitive issue, so we’ll see what happens,” Farrington said.