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March 31, 2023 12:24 pm

McGill University Investigating Rejection of Pro-Israel Op-ed from Student Newspaper


avatar by Dion J. Pierre

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

McGill University has expressed concerns about its campus newspaper’s rejection of an op-ed by a pro-Zionist student, a Canadian nonprofit reported on Wednesday.

In March, Claire Frankel submitted “Queer McGill Is Not a Safe Space for Jews” to The McGill Tribune, which argued that the only Jew accepted in their social group is a “good Jew,” an “anti-Zionist Jew.”

The paper refused to publish it, telling Frankel in an email that Zionism is a “settler-colonial ideology that has perpetuated the ethnic cleansing of Palestine” and “your article doesn’t align with our values as a paper. We’re not going to be able to publish it.”

Frankel reported the incident to Honest Reporting Canada, a nonprofit that promotes information and media coverage about Israel and for whom she is an intern. The group subsequently sent a letter to the university alleging anti-Jewish discrimination.

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On Wednesday, the university responded to Honest Reporting Canada (HRC), explaining that it expects the Tribune to publish “in the spirit of free speech” a “range of views and opinions.”

“McGill University is deeply concerned to have learned this week that the McGill Tribune would have refused to publish an op-ed piece fro, student Claire Frankel,” Gabrielle Korn, an official with the school said, according to a release from HRC. “Furthermore, we take exception to assertions from the Tribune’s editorial board about the reasoning behind their decision, which only serves to divide the student community. McGill has stated unequivocally that it stands for openness, tolerance, and respect of all values that are fundamental to a university, and we remain vigilant and steadfast in providing a safe and respectful learning environment for all students, faculty, and staff.”

On Friday, the administration will meet with the paper’s editorial board to discuss whether it is compliant with its Memorandum of Agreement, a document outlining conditions under which it is allowed to function as a student club on campus, HRC said.

McGill University administrators has before denounced measures that would lead to discrimination against Jewish students. In March 2022, administrators promised to “take action” against a student government body if it upheld a controversial decision to boycott Israeli institutions.

The statement followed the Students’ Society of McGill University’s (SSMU) endorsing a policy accusing Israel of imposing “settler-colonial apartheid” on Palestinians and calling for a boycott of “all corporations and institutions complicit” in the alleged practice. SSMU members advanced the policy over the objections of its judicial board, which had repeatedly ruled that participating in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign would violate both the SSMU constitution and the university’s policy on equity and inclusion.

“The current initiative by SSMU will lead to polarization that fosters a culture of ostracization and disrespect on the basis of students’ identity, religious, or political beliefs,” a university spokesperson said that the time. “The McGill administration will also take necessary measures to ensure that our students to continue to feel safe and free of harassment, including holding SSM accountable to the principles and values of its own constitution.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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