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February 17, 2017 3:53 am

‘Punch a Zionist’ Tweet by McGill Student Rep Mobilizes Concerned Jewish Students Worldwide

avatar by Rachel Frommer

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

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

The encouragement on social media by a McGill University student body representative to “punch a Zionist” was the “tipping point” that mobilized Jewish student leaders worldwide, the head of an international coalition told The Algemeiner.

“The antisemitism is so overt and grotesque that people everywhere are really taking notice,” said Yosef Tarshish, chairperson of the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS), referring to Igor Sadikov’s violent tweet and subsequent doubling down on its contents, as The Algemeiner reported.

To “show our solidarity with Jewish students at McGill [in Montreal], and…amplify the collective voices of the WUJS community,” Tarshish drafted an “Open Letter to Igor Sadikov,” which condemns the student’s “offensive and distressing” comments, and compares his “verbiage” to that of the Ku Klux Klan and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

“[We] join the chorus of those calling for you to step down from your position,” the letter states.

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Over the course of a few hours, nearly 100 individuals from some 20 countries signed the letter.

Yoni Mann, the campus director at Jerusalem U — a leading Israel advocacy and education organization — praised the students for their “grassroots initiative” and “strong statement of unity.”

Tarshish said the incident presents an opportunity to “tackle antisemitism on campus more broadly,” but added that he believes the greatest obstacle to connecting and mobilizing the worldwide Jewish student community is the absence of a North American “democratic representative structure.”

“Jewish students would be safer on campus and more proud to be openly Jewish if such a body existed, because it would massively aid the fight against antisemitism,” he explained.

In addition, he said “it’s hard to know whom to contact,” when looking to connect with Canadian or US students.

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.

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