November 21, 2023
MONTREAL – B’nai Brith Canada is pleased with the Montreal Superior Court for imposing a temporary order to stop the ratification of an anti-Israel referendum by McGill University’s undergraduate association.
The Court did not rule on the Jewish student plaintiff’s application for a permanent injunction against the referendum but the results cannot be ratified or implemented until the next hearing on the matter in late March 2024.
The so-called Policy Against Genocide in Palestine was included on the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) Fall Referendum ballot this past week and passed despite overwhelming evidence that it is discriminatory and contrary to the Society’s own constitution and bylaws.
B’nai Brith immediately condemned the Palestine question and supported the student who sought the court order against SSMU today. In a separate B’nai Brith-backed lawsuit, the Genocide policy was incorporated as yet another example of the toxic situation for Jewish students on campus.
McGill also denounced the Genocide policy, warning that it would, if implemented, render SSMU in breach of its Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the university, which governs SSMU’s ability to collect fees and use the McGill name.
SSMU allowed the voting to continue even as the policy’s supporters harassed and intimidated Jewish students on campus and on social media. The results were tabulated and published despite multiple student-initiated challenges to the Palestine question.
“Today’s court order shows us that the Jewish community can have faith in the justice system,” said Henry Topas, B’nai Brith Canada’s Quebec Regional Director. “The anti-Israel bullies are continuously trying to weaponize the SSMU process against Jewish constituents, but they will not win.
“Democracies, even student ones, do not work without rules. Jewish students can take heart in knowing that those rules meant something today, and we hope the Court will further reinforce them at the next hearing in March.”
Michael Mostyn, B’nai Brith Canada’s Chief Executive Officer, said that the focus must remain on McGill to enforce its agreement with the student union.
“It is sad that a student had to go to the Courts for justice on this issue because the university has repeatedly failed to hold its student associations accountable for breaking their own rules,” he said. “Of course, we welcome the Court’s decision to stay the referendum until a final decision can be reached, but McGill does not have to wait until then to do the right thing.”
McGill is already engaged in a standoff with SSMU over a grotesque Oct. 7 social media post by the official club Student in Solidarity with Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR), which glorified Hamas terrorists’ brutal attacks and called them “heroic” for abducting hostages to Gaza. Following this, the university demanded that SSMU take “necessary” measures against SPHR and remove McGill from the club’s name, something that still has not been done.
“This is the time for McGill to stand up for its Jewish students and hold SSMU accountable for this outrageous, undemocratic referendum,” Mostyn said. “We cannot allow a vocal, radicalized minority to weaponize student democracy against Jews on campus – that is the definition of tyranny of the majority.”