Jews Not Unwelcome At Concordia
In his column “Anti-Semitism in Egypt” [Feb. 7], Richard Kraus has unjustly accused Concordia University of “declaring Jews and Judaism unwelcome” by not bringing to light all the facts of the so-called “ban” on Hillel at Concordia. To begin with, neither Concordia University nor its administration “banned” Hillel. According to the Concordia University newspaper The Link, the Concordia Students Union (CSU) decided not to ban the group, but rather to suspend their privileges as a club pending an investigation of misconduct and possible illegal activity. The reason was that credible charges were brought against Hillel for possessing and/or distributing pamphlets that both violated CSU policy guidelines, namely for spreading racist ideas, and more seriously for potentially being in violation of Canada’s Foreign Enlistment Act, which forbids recruitment in Canada for the armed forces of a foreign state. The former reference is to a poster comparing a Palestinian to a KKK member, the latter to a pamphlet for an outreach program that offered time training with the Israel Defense Forces.
Furthermore, the suspension was overturned within a week by the CSU, reinstating Hillel to its former status, requesting solely that Hillel, along with all other CSU clubs, sign an integrity agreement that demands that the groups be “fully committed” to “respect for all persons, ... non-violent behavior,” to “not permit speech or materials that promote racism against any individual or group [or] that seek to recruit for any military or paramilitary organization,” a commitment to “reasoned respectful dialogue” and “to protect the core academic functions of the University.” Hillel refused to sign the agreement, choosing instead to file a lawsuit against the CSU.
Rafal A. Mickiewicz G