The McGill Daily, the largest campus paper at McGill University in Montreal, recently responded to an SSMU Equity complaint filed against it by two Jewish students who accused it of antisemitism. The complaint, filed by two McGill students, was related to Daily‘s refusal to publish pieces by Jewish voices that do not represent their own beliefs. Following her complaint, The Daily requested to meet with her in person. In a Facebook post, one of these students writes:
The meeting had nothing to do with BDS, and very little to do with Zionism, but rather about the excuses that their editors have used time and time again to stop articles that represent Jewish voices that don’t align with their own from being published. We talked at length about the lack of sensitivity that the Daily has shown towards Jews on campus and Jewish contributors – they acknowledged that they hold Jewish contributors to a higher standard than they would any other minority, and agreed that this is inherently anti-Semitic. We spoke extensively about developing anti-oppression training for their editorial board that would cover anti-Semitism in a way that the Jewish community at McGill was comfortable with. I left the conversation feeling incredibly hopeful.
In her conversation with The Daily, editorial staff admitted to holding Jews to a higher standard, and making excuses for refusing pieces that did not align with their worldview. They honoured the conplainant’srequest to publish an editorial, yet the result was not only disappointing, but shocking.
The Daily admitted that “anti-Semitism is a persistent and pervasive reality of our society.” However, they immediately backtracked, stating that “upon reviewing this complaint, we found that it largely rested on the conflation of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, which we understand to be distinct from one another.”
The belief that Israel, which happens to be only the Jewish State in the world, is the only country which has no right to exist, is antisemitic. There is no way around it. It is evident that no amount of human rights abuses committed by other countries negates their right to exist their eyes, so why is Israel held to this double standard?
The Daily maintains an editorial line of not publishing pieces which promote a Zionist worldview, or any other ideology which we consider to be oppressive. While we recognize that, for some, Zionism represents an important freedom project, we also recognize that it functions as a settler-colonial ideology that perpetuates the displacement and the oppression of the Palestinian people. We acknowledge, however, that there exists a lack of clarity with regard to the standards by which we reject or accept articles. Going forward, we will be making our editorial guidelines and procedures more detailed so that contributors have a clearer understanding of what we will and will not publish.
Here is the answer many of us Jewish students who have tried to submit pieces in vain have been searching for – in clear wording. The McGill Daily has an editorial policy of not publishing Zionist voices as they deem them oppressive. They further delegitimize Zionism as an indigenous movement, and deny the indigenous status of the Jewish people, amounting to nearly 4000 years of history. In so doing, they are committing the same type of crime that UNESCO was under fire for in recent weeks.
Now does it still surprise you that the current climate is such that a UNESCO resolution can pass by a landslide, amounting to the erasure of an indigenous, oppressed people’s ties to their homeland, and so-called “anti-oppressive” publications such as these don’t even bat an eye?