MONTREAL (JTA) — Igor Sadikov, the student politician who called on his Twitter followers to “punch a Zionist today,” stepped down as a director of McGill University’s student government one day after the university’s Arts Undergraduate Society voted against impeaching him.
The 22-year-old political science student blamed “interference” by the McGill administration, he said in a statement Thursday.
“My continued membership on the [Board of Directors] is, at this juncture, a legal liability for the Society,” he said in the statement.
Sadikov’s decision buoyed the spirits of pro-Israel students and Jewish organizations. The Twitter controversy continued to roil the campus for nearly three weeks, with the pro-Israel side saying Sadikov incited violence with his tweet while Sadikov characterized the controversy as a “misguided joke.”
Sadikov, who also is active in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, has denied he is anti-Semitic, noting that his father is Jewish and his mother is half-Jewish.
“This is an important victory for Jewish and pro-Israel students and for tolerance in general at McGill,” said B’nai Brith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn.
Sadikov remains a member of the Student Society legislative council, but faces a March 9 council motion to remove him for “impropriety and for violation of the Constitution.”
Sadikov’s four-word tweet was posted on Feb. 6 and taken down three days later.
Sadikov later posted on Facebook: “I regret the way that I phrased my opposition to Zionism and the fact that some of my constituents and fellow students felt harmed by it.”