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February 9, 2017 3:52 pm

McGill U Student Leader Justifies Encouraging Social Media Followers to ‘Punch a Zionist’ Due to Israel’s ‘Colonialism of Palestine’

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

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

A student leader at McGill University in Montreal justified encouraging his social media followers to “punch a Zionist,” due to the policies of the Israeli government.

Igor Sadikov told The Algemeiner on Thursday that his recent tweet expressed his “opposition to Israel’s dispossession and colonization of Palestinian land and to the treatment of Palestinian people as second-class,” just as he opposes “colonialism in Canada, the United State and elsewhere in the world.”

“I neither condone nor advocate violence on the basis of membership in any identity group,” he added.

mcgill punch a zionist twitter

This comment on the part of Sadikov, a member and representative of the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU), prompted fellow students to call for his resignation from his leadership position.

In a Facebook post, anti-BDS group Vote No McGill called it “appalling that an elected representative who holds significant power within the McGill community is advocating violence against Zionists, a significant portion of McGill students,” adding, “Tweets like these cause many McGill students, both Jewish and non-Jewish, to feel unsafe. We hope Mr. Sadikov will take responsibility for his actions and resign immediately. As long as Mr. Sadikov continues to hold power…thousands of members of the McGill community will feel unsafe at their own school and threatened by their student government.” 

Sadikov rejected the demand for his resignation, telling The Algemeiner that his “opposition to colonialism as expressed in this tweet is in line with the SSMU values of human rights and social justice.”

According to Canadian human rights organization B’nai Brith Canada, Sadikov is a prominent supporter of the BDS movement at McGill. He is also the former news editor of The McGill Daily, which, as The Algemeiner reported, openly admitted to censoring pro-Israel content on the grounds that Zionism is a product of “settler colonial ideology.”

Amanda Hohmann, National Director of B’nai Brith Canada’s League for Human Rights, called Sadikov’s message a “clear incitement to violence,” and said her organization expects him to be “censured appropriately.”

McGill — which ranked fourth on The Algemeiner‘s 2016 list of the “40 Worst Colleges for Jewish Students” in North America — has been described by students as one of the most contentious institutions in Canada for Jews and Israel-supporters.

Neither SSMU nor McGill officials immediately responded to The Algemeiner’s request for comment.

— Rachel Frommer contributed to this report.

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