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VICTORY: B’nai Brith Welcomes Injunction Halting Anti-Israel Referendum at McGill

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McGill University (Montreal Gazette)

May 22, 2024

MONTREAL – B’nai Brith Canada is elated with the Montreal Superior Court for issuing an interlocutory injunction preventing McGill University’s undergraduate association from adopting an inflammatory anti-Israel policy.

The case stems from the so-called “Policy Against Genocide in Palestine,” which was included on the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) Fall Referendum ballot last year and passed despite overwhelming evidence that it is discriminatory and contrary to the Society’s own constitution and bylaws.

“Student democracy and freedom of expression are not absolute,” the Hon. Judge Shaun E. Finn wrote in his 38-page decision, released Wednesday. “Nor do they exist in a vacuum.”

The case was argued by Montreal lawyer Michael Bergman, a member of B’nai Brith’s Matas Law Society.

The judgement allows this B’nai Brith-backed legal challenge to the so-called “Genocide” policy to move forward to a trial on the merits, meaning SSMU cannot legally ratify or implement it until a final verdict is reached. The Court also partially granted the student plaintiff’s request to remain anonymous throughout the proceedings because they have received numerous thinly veiled threats and harassing messages.

SSMU has repeatedly attempted to pass anti-Israel policies in the past few years, but the “Genocide” policy – proposed only weeks after Hamas’ brutal Oct. 7 terrorist attacks on Israel – was among the most extreme.

“This is some much needed good news,” said Henry Topas, B’nai Brith Canada’s Quebec Regional Director. “Finally, the Courts have said what should have been obvious to everyone from the beginning – that there is no Charter right to harass and demonize Jewish students, and that student governments need to behave responsibly.”

Richard Robertson, B’nai Brith Canada’s Director of Research and Advocacy, echoed Topas’ sentiments.

“We consider this to be a major step in the right direction,” he said. “The Court has recognized that we have a very credible case and that the rights of Jewish students are potentially jeopardized by the controversial acts of some groups on campus.”

This latest decision to progress to a trial follows a Nov. 21, 2023, court order that was temporary and more limited in scope.

In the weeks since the Referendum, the climate at McGill has only deteriorated, with a group of radicals setting up an “indefinite encampment” at the university’s lower field. Their demands include those listed in the “Genocide” policy.