B’nai Brith Canada on Monday urged McGill University in Montreal to withdraw funding from the university’s Students’ Society after it voted to adopt an extreme “Palestine Solidarity Policy,” ignoring its own Judicial Board’s ruling against holding the vote.
The call came after members of the Students’ Society at McGill University (SSMU) were asked to endorse a document accusing Israel of engaging in “settler-colonial apartheid against Palestinians,” and committed SSMU to boycott all entities “complicit” in this activity, among other measures.
B’nai Brith Canada noted that the document’s language is so broad that it may compel SSMU to boycott virtually all Jewish clubs and associations on campus.
In 2016, SSMU’s Judicial Board issued a landmark ruling to the effect that it would be “unconstitutional” for SSMU to adopt the antisemitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement against Israel, and in breach of SSMU’s Equity Policy.
As a result, Jewish students turned again to the Judicial Board in a bid to block the recent SSMU vote. That led to a Judicial Board ruling in March of this year that the anti-Israel referendum question should be removed from the ballot until a full ruling on its legality could be made, but Elections SSMU ignored the ruling.
“SSMU’s behavior over the past week has not only been antisemitic, but contrary to the rule of law,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “We call on McGill University to immediately cease funding SSMU until it rescinds this bogus referendum result.”
McGill University has been in the headlines in the past due to antisemitism. In 2017, 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 2019, the SSMU Legislative Council voted to remove a Jewish student from the SSMU Board of Directors simply because she was planning on participating on a Hillel Montreal trip to Israel.
McGill’s administration later sided with the Jewish student, Jordyn Wright, saying that the SSMU's decision fostered “a culture of ostracization” and that it is “contrary to the university's values of inclusion, diversity and respect.”