Premier Doug Ford weighs in on clash at York University pro Israel event

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Ontario Premier Doug Ford speaks to the media outside of his office in the Ontario Legislature in Toronto on Thursday November 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Toronto police say they had to remove several people from a mostly peaceful protest at York University that saw pro-Palestinian activists rally against an event featuring former soldiers with the Israel Defense Forces.

Const. Allyson Douglas-Cook says there was a physical altercation involving several people at the protest Wednesday night, and one person suffered minor injuries.

Douglas-Cook says a few people were removed from the event, but no one was arrested.

A variety of politicians have been weighing in on the rally, including Premier Doug Ford, who called it “vile” and “hate-filled.”

Ford says he’s disappointed that York University allowed for such a protest to take place, and he stands with the Jewish students and the broader community.

The president of York University, meanwhile, says external groups were on campus “for the sole purpose of fomenting conflict.”

Rhonda Lenton says the university is reviewing the events to determine whether there was hate speech, harassment, threats or discrimination _ all of which go against the school’s free speech policy.

Lenton also says she wants to foster a “more productive dialogue” around the thorny Israeli-Palestinian issue, so she’s asked officials to create a strategy on it.