Jewish student groups, community strongly condemn CSU for inviting anti-Israel radical to speak on campus
Jewish students have the right to feel safe at Concordia
MONTREAL, QC – Sept. 15, 2022 – The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) and Federation CJA support student voices from Hillel Montreal, Hasbara Canada, and StandWithUs Canada in their call to condemn unequivocally the Concordia Student Union’s (CSU) decision to invite radical anti-Israel militant Ali Abunimah to speak on campus today.
“Abunimah’s track record of antisemitic statements and his repeated calls for the erasure of the world’s only Jewish state should have been enough to disqualify him from receiving an invitation to speak from an organization purporting to sustain values of ‘community and inclusivity,’” said CIJA Quebec Vice-President Eta Yudin. “Those responsible need to take a long, hard look at CSU’s mission statement and realize its Jewish student minority has the same right to safety as all other students.”
CSU’s mission statement claims the organization is “driven by values of community, inclusivity, and sustainability.” Administrators have confirmed CSU is behind today’s event where Abunimah will be the featured speaker.
Abunimah is best known as the founder of the Electronic Intifada, an online pamphlet that has been accused of whitewashing the atrocities committed by Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and promoting antisemitic views.
Past statements from Abunimah include equating Zionism – support for the Jewish people’s right to self-determination – to a “continuation in spirit’ of the Holocaust, and he has responded to an initiative to recognize the Jewish High Holiday of Yom Kippur by stating, “Making Yom Kippur a UN holiday to honour the genocidal ‘state’ of Israel would be a sure way to increase anti-Jewish sentiment.”
Abunimah has also praised bombings of Israeli civilians, excused the Hamas-led execution of 18 Palestinian civilians, and relayed numerous statements from Canadian-listed terror group Hamas and its Al-Qassam Brigades.
He claims to be an expert on antisemitism.
“Abunimah’s expertise on topics like antisemitism comes more from experience as a perpetrator than from the lived experience of those he targets with his vitriol,” said Federation CJA President and CEO Yair Szlak. “It is distressing to our community that a student group such as CSU would choose to invite someone with such an overt hatred of Jewish people to speak on such a sensitive topic as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Student leaders need to step up and take action to keep hatred off campus.”
CIJA and Federation CJA agree wholeheartedly with Hillel Montreal, Hasbara Canada, and StandWithUs who are asking students, faculty, and community members to let Concordia and CSU know just how disappointed and appalled they are by CSU’s decision to invite a documented antisemite to speak on campus.
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