University of Ottawa rejects BDS a third time

University of Ottawa rejects motion to endorse anti-Israel movement.

Elad Benari,


The University of Ottawa, in Canada’s capital city, on Sunday rejected for the third time a motion to endorse the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

B’nai Brith Canada applauded the students for defending human rights and defeating the motion.

The Board of Administration of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) had rejected the motion after having already disapproved an almost identical motion in November. BDS was also defeated at a general meeting of the SFUO earlier in March.

Just days before the vote, a Jewish student with assistance from B’nai Brith filed a complaint with the University of Ottawa’s Human Rights Office, alleging anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli discrimination by the SFUO and its leadership.

B’nai Brith has consistently argued that the proposed BDS measures are not only immoral, but also illegal, insofar as they violate the SFUO’s own anti-discrimination policy, it said in a statement.

In late 2017, SFUO leadership also attempted to revoke the club status of Hillel Ottawa and the Israel Awareness Committee, the only two registered Jewish clubs on campus.

Rabbi Chaim Boyarsky, co-director of the Rohr Chabad Student Network of Ottawa, hailed the latest victory.

“Jewish students have shown incredible resolve in standing up to and defeating these hostile forces again and again. We hope this is the last time that it proves necessary,” he said.

“This is yet another impressive victory for Jewish and pro-Israel students in Canada,” added Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “However, the SFUO’s repeated acts of discrimination and flouting of the law must be stopped. B’nai Brith will spare no effort to ensure that this year’s campaign of antisemitism at the University of Ottawa does not repeat itself again.”

The University of Ottawa is not alone, as in recent years, there have been attempts to promote BDS in several universities in Canada. Some of these attempts have been successful while others have failed.

Last October, the University of Winnipeg Students’ Association (UWSA) voted against a motion in favor of adopting BDS, thanks to students who organized a campaign opposing the motion.

Last May, the Teaching Support Staff Union (TSSU) at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia rejected a call to support BDS.

In January of 2017, a planned referendum at a university in London, Ontario, on whether to endorse BDS was cancelled after Jewish students successfully argued that it violated the mandate of the college’s student council.

Several months earlier, in November of 2016, the General Council of the University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union voted down a proposal to transform its “BDS Ad Hoc Committee” into a permanent fixture of the organization.