Jewish student government member at McGill U threatened with impeachment over Israel trip


MONTREAL (JTA) — A Jewish student leader at McGill University in Montreal is fighting efforts to oust her from the student union for accepting a trip to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Jordyn Wright, a member of the Student Society of McGill University’s legislative council and board of directors, said she is “outraged and disgusted” by the student society’s call on Thursday for her to resign for agreeing to the trip sponsored by Hillel.

She is refusing to resign or quit the trip, despite the threat of impeachment upon return.

The trip, called Face to Face, leaves at the end of the month and includes visiting Palestinian areas of the West Bank.

“As a Jew, my connection to Israel is one core aspect of my identity, and I hoped that the trip would help me experience Israel through a new lens,” Wright explained in a post on Facebook.

She called the effort to have her resign “anti-Semitic.”

“The SSMU president singled me out and actively encouraged others to attack me,” she said in the post, adding that a non-Jewish councillor also planning to be on the trip has not received the same treatment.

On Monday, the university’s deputy provost of Student Life and Learning, Fabrice Labeau, criticized the bid to oust Wright from the student union, calling it “contrary to the University’s values of inclusion, diversity and respect.”

“[I]t appears to diverge from SSMU’s own Constitution and it represents a very serious breach of trust. For that reason, we call upon the SSMU Board of Directors to seriously consider the concerns raised by students and take proper action,” Labeau said in a statement.

The Anti-Defamation League in a statement from its national director, Jonathan Greenblatt, called the move “blatant anti-Semitism, period” and said the McGill administration must step in immediately to prevent the “discriminatory actions.”

A co-chair of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, Rabbi Reuben Poupko, said in a statement: “[W]e are once again witnessing misuse of the student government platform to exclude a Jewish student. The SSMU’s persistent abuse of power and displays of hostility toward Jewish and pro-Israel students are clearly not representative of McGill’s mainstream student population.”

In 2017, the SSMU failed in an effort to impeach a Jewish councillor for being pro-Israel. The same year, an ex-SSMU member tweeted to “punch a Zionist.”

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