Yep, our friends at Gaza U are at it again. The CSU has passed a motion that effectively shuts down Hillel, banning it from tabling or booking space, until it formally apologizes and submits to an “investigation”. This time, the supposed trigger was a brochure on Hillel’s table that was allegedly “recruiting” for the IDF:
Concordia Hillel has had its funding and tabling privileges revoked late last night after allegedly distributing recruitment material for the Israeli Defence Force. The motion demanded an apology from the group as well as a Concordia administration investigation if they wished to be reinstated. The motion was presented by Arts and Science councillor Adam Slater.
Palestinian activist Samer Elatrash objected to the material, saying it supports “a military brigade set specifically to guard settlements.” Arts and Science Councillor Patrice Blais also agreed with the motion, citing a student vote to forbid military recruitment on campus. “The students voted to have the [Hall Building] mezzanine declared a de-militarized zone a while ago,” Blais said.
The motion was ruled out of order by Chairperson Omar Badawi who cited lack of notice. The ruling was overruled by the Council. “If we don’t do anything about this how do we know we won’t be held responsible?” asked President Sabine Friesinger.
The motion passed with a vote of 8-1.
Hillel spokespeople have said that they were unaware of the contents of the brochure, but I don’t even know why they’re trying to apologize at all. I think Hillel should stand by its handouts and instead, call the SPHR to task for the many virulently racist and discriminatory pamphlets and handouts on its tables. Concordia has no right to shut down the only group fighting for Israel in the middle of a pro-Palestinian enclave that is the campus, based on a few brochures for the Machal program (a program for non-Israeli Jews who want to help the IDF, from what I understand).
Hillel has been criticized before, and the pro-Palestinian CSU has tried every trick in the book to de-legitimatize the group. Just last week, a Hillel flyer with the headline “We’ve ‘JIHAD’ enough: it’s time to stop using the Koran to justify murder: there’s a whole world of Muslims who still believe Islam is meant to be a religion of peace.” was criticized – if you can believe this – for “mocking Jihad”! Yes, you read it right. One of several letters in this week’s Link contains the following statement:
They are deliberately undermining an important Islamic concept. Jihad literally means struggle, and there are many forms this struggle can take. One sort of Jihad is the struggle to be a decent and moral person, another type of Jihad is standing up and speaking the truth in the face of a tyrant or despot, and yet another type is the right to defend oneself when one has been kicked out and robbed of one’s home; which incidentally is exactly what is happening in Palestine. But all that is beside the point. Who is Hillel to determine what Jihad is? How dare they make fun of it? How dare they insinuate that Islam is a religion promoting murder? How dare they say that Islam is no longer a religion of peace?
As a student and as a Muslim, I demand that Hillel issue a public apology for their vulgar, distasteful provocation, and take steps to ensure that this sort of thing does not ever happen again.
Vulgar and distasteful? The only thing that is vulgar and distasteful is that Hillel – who went out of its way to make it clear that it is not referring to all Muslims, but only to extremist terrorists waging “holy war” – could be criticized by someone who calls suicide bomb attacks “the right to defend oneself”. If anyone should demand an apology here, it should be Hillel.
Sadly, this lack of moral grounding has become the norm at Concordia. In the topsy-turvy world of the Hall building, any defense of Zionism or Israel is racist, and any criticism of it is “legitimate free speech”.
But this latest motion has gone too far. The CSU is doing everything in its power to shut down the voices of its critics and opponents. They must be stopped. Please spread the word about what’s going on at Concordia.