March 25, 2018
By Aidan Fishman
National Director of the League for Human Rights
B’nai Brith Canada
OTTAWA – B’nai Brith Canada is applauding students at the University of Ottawa for defending human rights and defeating a third anti-Israel motion within the span of five months.
On Sunday, the Board of Administration of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) rejected a motion to endorse the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. The Board had disapproved an almost identical motion in November and BDS was also defeated at a general meeting of the SFUO earlier in March.
Just days before the vote, a Jewish student with assistance from B’nai Brith filed a complaint with the University of Ottawa’s Human Rights Office, alleging antisemitic and anti-Israeli discrimination by the SFUO and its leadership. B’nai Brith has consistently argued that the proposed BDS measures are not only immoral, but also illegal, insofar as they violate the SFUO’s own anti-discrimination policy.
In late 2017, SFUO leadership also attempted to revoke the club status of Hillel Ottawa and the Israel Awareness Committee, the only two registered Jewish clubs on campus.
Rabbi Chaim Boyarsky, co-director of the Rohr Chabad Student Network of Ottawa, hailed the latest victory. “Jewish students have shown incredible resolve in standing up to and defeating these hostile forces again and again. We hope this is the last time that it proves necessary.”
“This is yet another impressive victory for Jewish and pro-Israel students in Canada,” added Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “However, the SFUO’s repeated acts of discrimination and flouting of the law must be stopped. B’nai Brith will spare no effort to ensure that this year’s campaign of antisemitism at the University of Ottawa does not repeat itself again.”
Sunday’s vote marked a whopping 11th defeat in a row for BDS on Canadian campuses. Over the past two years, BDS votes have failed at the University of Toronto (twice), the University of Waterloo, McGill University, the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, the University of Winnipeg – and now three times at the University of Ottawa.