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Letter: Defending Palestinian rights is against McGill’s standards

The university threatens Students over a democratic decision, again

At a time when we are encouraging individuals, groups and bodies to speak up against the Russian invasion of Ukraine and witness bodies, such as sports associations, who have historically distanced themselves from politics, speak up, McGill University is denying it’s undergraduate student union (SSMU) the right to democratically take a position in support of a nation that has been occupied for 74 years.

The administration, which has historically bowed to Zionist pressure has done it again now. 

“I have communicated these concerns to the SSMU leadership and advised them to take prompt and appropriate remedial action, consistent with SSMU’s obligations under its Memorandum of Agreement with the University, failing which the University will terminate this Memorandum of Agreement.” writes the Deputy Provost in a message to the whole McGill Community.

This is not the first time the administration threatens the students and forces a change in a position that was voted on freely by the student body.  It will not be the last as long as the administration gets away with it. 

At a time when the two most credible independent international human rights groups, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch both acknowledged that Israel is committing Apartheid against Palestinians, McGill decides to put its head in the sand so that it would not disappoint the Zionist lobby or “members of our community feel unwelcome or rejected.”  Why would someone feel that way by a resolution that calls for actions against “corporations and institutions complicit in settler-colonial apartheid against Palestinians”?  Defenders of apartheid?

McGill acknowledges the land rights of Indigenous peoples.  What a hollow, meaningless and hypocritical [acknowledgement] that becomes if the university does not allow expressions of support of the land rights of indigenous peoples all around the world, including Palestinians.

I hope that the SSMU [will] stand strong and not bow down to the administration and its pressure, whether it is about the University’s history, about its environmental policies, about international politics, or university governance.

A McGill community in which “all members feel that they can express their identity and their opinion without a fear of being ostracized” WITHOUT EXCEPTION is the real goal.