MONTREAL (Nov. 14, 2023) – Allied Voices for Israel (AVI) and StandWithUs Canada are calling on Concordia University to follow the University of Montreal’s example and take action against anti-Jewish hatred on campus.
Last week, the University of Montreal set an important precedent by suspending a professor who made antisemitic slurs towards a student. Concordia must follow suit and revoke the status of its “Students for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR)” student club that has continued to promote events and initiatives that have been called antisemitic by academic leaders.
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Recently, SPHR Concordia and other clubs circulated a series of posters calling on students to participate in a “rally for Gaza” that depicted individuals kicking and breaking glass windows. This led to a stern condemnation from McGill Principal and Vice-Chancellor Deep Saini, who said the flyers were both “antisemitic” and “deplorable.”
“Publicizing an event through allusions to destruction of property is troubling. Far worse is using an image of people breaking glass to encourage participation in an event planned for November 9th, the 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht, a series of violent attacks in Nazi Germany that saw mobs smash the windows of synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses,” he wrote.
SPHR was also part of a group of students that interrupted a Concordia vigil for the return of innocent civilians kidnapped by Hamas. Students faced violence, harassment, and discrimination from a mob of anti-Israel activists, as documented by several students and community members in attendance.
During the altercation, Yanise Arab, a history professor at the University of Montreal, was filmed yelling at a Jewish student that she should “go back to Poland, sharmouta (wh**e).” The University of Montreal has launched a full investigation into the matter and Mr. Arab has been suspended with pay.
Multiple Jewish students and their allies were accosted, including one who was hit while trying to recover his Israeli flag. At least one person was arrested.
“We welcome the University of Montreal’s decision and hope it no longer continues to employ a lecturer who yells hurtful and derogatory insults at students,” said Daniel Koren, Founder and Executive Director of AVI. “Concordia must follow this precedent and take action against anti-Israel student clubs and professors who authorities have labeled antisemitic – whether via censure, suspension, withdrawing funds, or other measures.”
Jesse Primerano, Executive Director of StandWithUs Canada, said, “Jewish students are being harassed and targeted on every campus in Canada right now. Universities must make it clear they stand against hatred and antisemitism, which are contrary to their guidelines and principles, and take action against students and professors who are creating an unsafe learning environment for Jewish students.”
The tensions at Concordia were one of several instances of anti-Jewish discrimination in Montreal. In the past week alone, bullets have been fired into a Jewish place of learning on two different occasions, and a molotov cocktail was thrown into a local synagogue.
On Thursday, the Startup Nation student club is organizing a peaceful rally outside Concordia at 12pm ET. AVI and StandWithUs Canada students and staff will be in attendance.