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November 9, 2016 9:30 pm

McGill University Student Paper Defends Censoring Pro-Israel Content

avatar by Lea Speyer

McGill University campus. Photo: Paul Lowry/Wikimedia Commons.

McGill University campus. Photo: Paul Lowry/Wikimedia Commons.

An independent student newspaper at McGill University in Canada admitted in an editorial this week to censoring pro-Israel content, on the grounds that Zionism “functions as a settler-colonial ideology that perpetuates the displacement and the oppression of the Palestinian people.”

The editorial, which appeared in the McGill Daily on Monday, was published in response to a Student Union (SSMU) Equity complaint, filed by Jewish students at the school, alleging that the paper is antisemitic.

In its defense, the paper wrote that though it “takes allegations of antisemitism seriously, as we recognize that antisemitism is a persistent and pervasive reality of our society,” after reviewing the SSMU complaint, “we found that it largely rested on the conflation of anti-Zionism and antisemitism, which we understand to be distinct from one another.”

While the editors said they recognize that “for some, Zionism represents an important freedom project,” the Jewish self-determination movement is predicated on harming another people.

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The filing of the SSMU complaint was spurred by the September publication of a satirical article — entitled “White tears increase on campus” — which outraged many Jewish students, who considered it to be downplaying antisemitism at McGill and mocking failed attempts to counter Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activity.

Following the publication of the piece, Jewish students accused the McGill Daily of thwarting their efforts to speak out against BDS by rejecting all articles they had submitted on the issue.

The editorial ultimately acknowledged that the “conflation of whiteness and Jewishness implied in the [‘White tears’] article is harmful” and pledged to “work to make sure ideas like this, whether implicit or explicit, are not condoned by or published in our paper.”

McGill University has been the repeated focus of controversy over antisemitic and anti-Zionist activity on campus. In June, the school made headlines when its Judicial Board ruled that resolutions supporting BDS violate the Constitution and Equity Policy of its student government. The decision came after an 18-month period in which three consecutive BDS campaigns, all of which failed, were waged on campus.

In August, as The Algemeiner reported, a third-year Jewish McGill student issued a warning to incoming freshmen — which garnered international attention — about the harsh reality they will likely face on campus for their religious and political identities.

“I’ve been called a ‘Zionist b****.’ I’ve been told several times that Jews haven’t suffered… I’ve seen my friends mocked for their Judaism in crude, hateful language on popular anonymous social media platforms,” she wrote.

Jewish students must “prepare” themselves, she wrote, and understand that the “years to come will be challenging.”

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