The Centre of Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), the Canadian Jewish advocacy group, on Saturday criticized the legislative council of the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) in Montreal, which voted this week to call for the resignation of a Jewish student from her position in the student government because she is taking part in an exploratory trip to Israel early next year.
According to The Post Millennial newspaper, which reported on the incident, Jordyn Wright, a Jewish student and part of SSMU’s Board of Directors, was targeted by her university’s student government over her decision to attend a trip to Israel sponsored by Hillel Montreal.
“This winter break, I have decided to participate in a trip called Face to Face that is being offered by Hillel Montreal, an organization that I have been involved with since I first arrived at McGill. The trip entails visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories to meet with politicians, journalists, and locals from all sides to better understand a very nuanced geopolitical conflict,” she wrote a post on Facebook.
“As a Jew, my connection to Israel is a core aspect of my identity, and I hoped that this trip would help me to experience Israel through a new lens,” she added.
Wright argued that SSMU targeted her because of her decision to attend this trip, writing, “The SSMU President personally singled me out, and actively encouraged others to attack me.”
She further said that only she was targeted “despite the fact that another non-Jewish Councillor will also be joining me on the trip.”
“I am outraged and disgusted, but not surprised. This is not the first time that Jewish students at McGill have been bullied out of student government,” added Wright.
According to The Post Millennial, the motion that was presented in SSMU’s council meeting on November 28 explicitly singles out Wright and that SSMU President Bryan Buraga also introduced amendments that only pertain to her and none of the other Board of Director members attending the trip.
The Science Executive committee also stated that she either withdraw from the trip or resign from her position.
“If I do not resign, I am being implicitly threatened with impeachment upon my return,” said wright. “I have been the subject of thinly-veiled and blatant anti-Semitism.”
Rabbi Reuben Poupko, Co-Chair of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, Québec (CIJA-Québec) said in response to the incident, “It is obscene that Jordyn Wright, a Jewish student at McGill University, is being subjected to relentless harassment by the SSMU because of her attachment to Israel. Clearly, the SSMU has not learned any lessons from its shameful attempts to impeach another of its councillors because of his Jewish identity in 2017.”
“While students engage in campus life to improve quality of life on campus, we are once again witnessing misuse of the student government platform to exclude a Jewish student. The SSMU’s persistent abuse of power and displays of hostility toward Jewish and pro-Israel students are clearly not representative of McGill’s mainstream student population. We call on McGill students to reclaim the SSMU from the ideological fringes and rebuild an open, tolerant and inclusive campus environment,” continued Rabbi Poupko.
“CIJA will never stand idle in the face of intimidation and antisemitism and will continue to ensure that our partners at Hillel and the McGill students have the support they need,” he concluded.
McGill University made headlines in 2017 when the then-director of SSMU, Igor Sadikov, tweeted “punch a Zionist today”.
Sadikov later resigned from his post as director of the Students' Society of McGill University, even after the Arts Undergraduate Society at McGill had voted by a majority of 22-16 not to impeach him.
In February of 2016, the undergraduates association at McGill passed a motion in support of the BDS movement by a margin of 512-357, but subsequently failed in an online ratification period.