Don’t Conflate McGill Student Politics With Anti-Semitism

McGill, like many other universities worldwide, has been the site of debates over the international movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of/from/on Israel (BDS) for the past few years.

A resolution was passed by the McGill Undergraduate Student Society (SSMU) in support of BDS in February 2016, but it was rejected in the subsequent online ratification process. However, an important caveat is needed here: after appeal, the online ratification process was ruled invalid because phone and email lists, paid advertisements and social media campaigning were used, in violation of the Internal Regulations. Unfortunately, this ruling only came after the school year had ended, and so there was no possibility of repeating the ratification process. Thus, the BDS motion was considered not ratified, and was not adopted.

To counter the BDS motion and pre-empt any similar ones in the future, the Judicial Board of SSMU ruled BDS unconstitutional according to SSMU laws. This decision was ratified on Sept. 17, 2017 by the Board of Directors (BoD) of SSMU.

At the SSMU Fall 2017 General Assembly (GA) on Oct. 23, students voted against affirming three appointed BoD members, two of whom were against BDS and supported the “unconstitutionality” ruling.

All these events, despite some question marks, irregularities and procedural concerns, remain within acceptable limits of student politics and the students’ practice of their democratic governance.

What is alarming is what followed. A claim was made — one that made media headlines — that the student directors were voted down in a show of anti-Semitism when, quite clearly, this was strictly a political difference and an exercise of democratic choice: the three students were not affirmed because they were anti-BDS or deemed unqualified by the student body, not because they were Jewish. In fact, only one of the students was Jewish.

As a Muslim and an Arab living in the West for decades, I understand how it feels to be the subject of discrimination or hate, and I would never take lightly any form of racism or discrimination. Anti-Semitism is a deplorable crime that cannot be ignored. I understand that very well and always combat it actively, although I am not personally a target.

Irresponsibly using the allegation of anti-Semitism in the context of the McGill SSMU events is dangerous.

On the other hand, being anti-Israel or anti-Zionism, or opposing Israel’s policies and

Source:: The Huffington Post – Canada Travel

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