McGill students claim forced out of student govt. due to antisemitism

Student Noah Lew alleges he was removed for being Jewish.

October 29, 2017 13:05
2 minute read.
MCGILL UNIVERSITY campus in Montreal

MCGILL UNIVERSITY campus in Montreal. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Three McGill University students were removed from the university's student government board of directors, reportedly over their work to stamp out BDS from the campus.

In response, the university has opened an investigation into their removal, as well as a hotline for students, faculty and staff to call to report ''incidents of intolerance based on religion or ethnic origin,'' a statement from the McGill said.

The students have alleged that their removal from the board - which reportedly came without any debate - was based on their religious background and their work against BDS.

Noah Lew, one of the students, took to Facebook to share his side of the story. He self-described himself as a Jewish 3rd year student at McGill. He wrote that, when he originally expressed his interest in running to the board, ''an older Jewish student with a great deal of knowledge'' told him he ''needed to remove everything related to Judaism and Jewish organizations'' from his resume, or he would have no shot at being elected.

Lew wrote that the campus's BDS faction launched a campaign called Democratize SSMU, which he claimed was meant to rid campus government of any and all Jewish organizations and leaders.

"I have no doubt that from the information circulated about me and campaign run against me prior to this vote that this was about my Jewish identity, and nothing more. I was blocked from being able to participate in my student government because I am Jewish, because I have been affiliated with Jewish organizations, and because I believe in the right to Jewish self-determination,'' he wrote.

While Lew said he hid his affiliations with Jewish organizations, he did not mention - nor did he deny - any links to Zionist organizations.

Democratize SSMU, the organization Lew said aimed to unseat him for his Judaism, also made a lengthy post on Facebook explaining their side of the situation. They accused the student government board of failing to adequately fulfill their duties by not publicizing meetings or the minutes from meetings and by suspending a board member without notice.

They also wrote that Lew was ''an active member of Zionist organizations'' and ''could not separate his politics from his duties as Director.'' They did not respond to any accusations of antisemitism against them.

Lew and the two other students who were removed have found solidarity in both the school's administration as well as among at least one Canadian Member of Parliament. Michael Levitt, a member of the York Centre Party and a McGill alum, tweeted that he was ''furious'' that a student had been targeted for his Jewish identity.

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