McMaster University Reviewing ‘Disturbing’ Social Media Posts by Students Who Praised Hitler, Palestinian Terrorists
McMaster University in Ontario, Canada is investigating social media posts made by students who glorified Adolf Hitler, praised Palestinian terrorists, and perpetuated negative stereotypes against Jews.
“The University is actively reviewing some disturbing social media posts after being made aware of them this week through a published internet news report,” McMaster announced in a statement on Wednesday.
The posts — unearthed by the clandestine watchdog group Canary Mission — were first reported on by The Algemeiner on Tuesday. Canary Mission’s research uncovered dozens of individuals affiliated with the campus group Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) at McMaster, who made hostile and sometimes explicitly violent comments against Jews, Zionists, and Israel in recent years. SPHR is an autonomous chapter of the anti-Zionist group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).
The tweets in question expressed “love” for Hitler and called him a “great leader,” promised to “get rid” of Jews, claimed “Zionists don’t count as human beings,” and praised the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) — a blacklisted terrorist group in Canada.
“McMaster is unequivocal in its condemnation of acts of anti-Semitism, hatred, and discrimination,” the university wrote. “Quite clearly these social media comments do not reflect McMaster’s campus-wide commitment to inclusivity, civility, and respect.”
The tweets were also denounced as “offensive and antisemitic” by the Jewish campus organization McMaster Hillel.
“It is shameful and disgusting to see SPHR activists at McMaster post such hate on social media, including antisemitic conspiracy theories and the glorification of Hitler,” the group said in a statement on Tuesday. “This is just the latest shocking proof of how the anti-Israel movement is tainted by vicious antisemitism, and how, for some, opposition to Israel is a convenient cover for the hatred of Jews.”
One of the students mentioned in Canary Mission’s report — Nadera Masad, listed as a senior studying political science and government on LinkedIn — doubled down on social media following the exposure of her views.
Masad — who tweeted in 2012, “Yel3an il yahood [Curse the Jews]-amen” — wrote on Tuesday, “In case you mother f*****s at Canary Mission need a more recent tweet to screenshot: the only good Zionist is a dead Zionist. Add that to my profile.”
She later tweeted, “I keep saying, we need to cleanse the world of creatures such as these dirty white Americans.” Masad subsequently took her account offline.
SPHR, for its part, released a statement on Tuesday repudiating “all forms of anti-semitism within our organization,” saying, “Vile comments made to support the genocide of Jewish people is intolerable in every sense of the word.”
The group acknowledged that two of the students mentioned in The Algemeiner‘s report on Canary Mission’s research “have came out to our events” — a claim backed by screenshots obtained by Canary Mission.
However, SPHR maintained that it has “no direct affiliation” with these students, then claimed that the SPHR executives identified by the report “have long shed anti-semitic sentiment.”
SPHR added that while the “tweets are inexcusable in every aspect,” the “two execs who have tweeted those tweets dates back 5-6 years ago, and since then, have received education on the differences between Judaism and Zionism – which Zionist hasbara has done so well at conflating the two together.”
The tweets included in The Algemeiner‘s initial report were published between 2011 and 2017.
Canary Mission dismissed SPHR’s defense, saying, “denial has become the standard practice for each and every chapter of SJP at the moment their vile bigotry is exposed.”
“After SJP members called for Jews to be killed and showed love for Hitler, they call Canary Mission right wing,” the organization told The Algemeiner. “It’s not exactly a winning argument.”
“Besides, when did fighting Anti-Semitism on the far right, far left and among anti-Israel activists become right wing?” Canary Mission asked. “Fighting racism and bigotry is a universal value, common to decent people on the left and right.”
Aidan Fishman, interim national director of the advocacy group B’nai Brith Canada, also called SPHR’s statement “totally inadequate,” noting that it “does not address why the current President of the group continues to tweet antisemitic material and promote the PFLP terrorist group, which has murdered many Israelis and even some Canadian Jews.”
SPHR president Lina Assi, a self-described Marxist-Leninist majoring in labor studies and political science, has often expressed support for the PFLP. The terrorist group has claimed credit for multiple lethal attacks against civilians, including a 2014 massacre at a Jerusalem synagogue that killed six Israelis.
“It is also despicable,” Fishman told The Algemeiner, “that McMaster SPHR seeks to shift the blame for its members’ vile antisemitism onto pro-Israel groups, claiming that is the result of Zionism ‘conflating the two [Judaism and Zionism] together.’”
Fishman cast doubt on whether the SPHR executives named in the report “have long shed anti-semitic sentiment.”
“If that is true,” he asked, “why would they allow virulently antisemitic tweets to continue to stand in their name until publicly exposed?”
Fishman noted that B’nai Brith Canada filed a complaint with McMaster administrators about Assi and SPHR more broadly in June, highlighting her controversial tweets and instances when SPHR promoted PFLP.
“Obviously, it is totally unacceptable for a registered student club to promote the PFLP, which is no different from promoting ISIS or al-Qaeda,” Fishman observed. “We urged an investigation of McMaster SPHR’s conduct in general, which if undertaken, might well have uncovered the antisemitic conduct by other club members as well.”
McMaster officials informed B’nai Brith Canada at the time that they will not be investigating the matter further, Fishman recalled. He described the university’s latest decision to review the tweets as “a positive development,” but said “it is critical that disciplinary action be undertaken, in order to demonstrate that antisemitism truly is unacceptable at McMaster.”
Some McMaster students have also been vocal in condemning the tweets, which were shared on Tuesday in an online forum popular on campus. “Those kinda people make Muslims look very close minded and ignorant,” wrote Noor Al-Alawi, who identified herself on Facebook as a life science student at McMaster.
“People need to understand that Islam respects all religions and Muslims and jews are legit the same,” she added, claiming that equating Judaism with Zionism is “like saying all muslims are Isis.”
Fady Sulaiman — who is listed on his Facebook profile as a health sciences student at McMaster — wrote, “Anti-semitism is huge in the Middle East and kids are fed garbage about Jews and Israel from a very early age.”
“I remember hearing racist anti-Jew chants as early as elementary school that compared Jews to dogs,” Sulaiman observed. “So when Jews are demonized on the regular in Arab media and Arab (mostly Muslim) households, this sort of stuff is not very surprising.”
Canary Mission told The Algemeiner on Tuesday that the result of its investigation into McMaster SPHR “comes as no shock,” considering it’s “the same sort of anti-Semitic invective we have come to expect from SJP chapters across the United States.”