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March 22, 2022 3:50 pm

McGill University Faces Call to Defund Student Society Over ‘Extreme’ Israel Boycott Measure


avatar by Dion J. Pierre

Fine Arts Building of McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. Photo: DXR/Wikimedia Commons

A Canadian Jewish group called on McGill University to defund a student government body after it endorsed a boycott of Israel over the objections of its own judicial board.

The “Palestinian Solidarity Policy” motion, placed on a winter referendum ballot by the Students’ Society at McGill University (SSMU), was passed with 71% of participating students voting in favor. It accused Israel of imposing “settler-colonial apartheid” against Palestinians and backed a boycott of “all corporations and institutions complicit” in that alleged practice.

On Monday, B’nai Brith Canada called the resolution “extreme,” warning that “the document’s language is so broad that it may compel SSMU to boycott virtually all Jewish clubs and associations on campus.”

B’nai Brith noted that voting on the measure had proceeded against the counsel of SSMU’s own Judicial Board. The board has twice ruled that joining the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, which opposes Israel’s continued existence as a Jewish state, would violate not only SSMU’s constitution but also the university’s policy on equity and inclusion.

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“SSMU’s behavior over the past week has not only been antisemitic, but contrary to the rule of law,” B’nai Brith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn commented. “We call on McGill University to immediately cease funding SSMU until it rescinds this bogus referendum result.”

That demand followed a precedent-setting decision earlier this month, when the University of Toronto withheld thousands of dollars in student fees from the school’s graduate student union over its efforts to boycott the Jewish state.

McGill’s Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights campaign on Tuesday welcomed the result of the referendum in an Instagram post, saying it was “ready to face” efforts by the administration and external groups to “overturn the democratic voice of the students.”

Neither McGill University nor the Students’ Society of McGill University immediately responded to The Algemeiner’s requests for comment.

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