Attack on Jews at university in Canada pushed back

By Steve Penner
March 18, 2024

A proposal for the student government, known as the Alma Mater Society, to organize a referendum at the University of British Columbia to evict the Jewish students’ organization Hillel from campus by cancelling its lease, was rejected Feb. 28. After four hours of closed debate, the vote was no by 23-2. The referendum had been proposed in a petition signed by over 1,000 students.

The referendum also would have condemned Israel’s attempt to destroy Hamas, the terrorist outfit that carried out the Oct. 7 pogrom killing 1,200 Israeli Jews and others, as “genocide” against Palestinians. It also would have ended all exchange programs with Israeli universities, withdrawn investments from companies that do business with Israel and endorsed the Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement against Israel.

Jewish organizations had strongly protested the proposal. The Rabbinical Association of Vancouver wrote, “This [is] a stark reminder of the antisemitism that Jews have faced for centuries as we’ve been driven from, and prohibited from, public spaces, and even forcibly removed from countries themselves.”

Katy LeRougetel, Communist League candidate in the Montreal federal by-election in the LaSalle-Emard-Verdun district, sent an open letter characterizing the proposed referendum as a “dangerous, outrageous act of Jew-hatred.”

“Now is the time to step up defense of Israel’s right to exist as a refuge for Jews, not attack it,” she said, “and to protest the increasing acts of Jew-hatred emanating from campuses and more broadly across North America and internationally.”