Igor “Punch A Zionist” Sadikov Quits Remaining Student Post Due To “Mental Health” Reasons

An interesting development in the Sadikov saga:

The McGill University student who tweeted “punch a Zionist today” gave up his last remaining student government title, citing “personal reasons related to mental health.”

Igor Sadikov, 22, a political science major at the Montreal school, resigned last week from the Student Society legislative council.

Sadikov, who had described his Feb. 6 Twitter post as nothing more than a bad joke, had faced pressure to resign but refused. He cited his own Jewish roots and the fact that he had pro-Israel parents, and also issued a carefully worded apology.

But the McGill administration and pro-Israel students and organizations who considered him anti-Semitic or as inciting violence against Jews never relented. He resigned from the board of directors of McGill’s Student Society on Feb. 23, and pre-empted a move by the Student Society’s legislative council to impeach him on March 9 by resigning from the body a day earlier.

In the wake of Sadikov’s actions, the society’s president also resigned, without explanation.

Efforts continue through an online petition to have Sadikov expelled.

At first I thought of adding a Surgeon General’s Warning: encouraging the punching of Zionists may not be good for your mental health. But then I did some investigating, and it seems the mental health issues might have been triggered by something else.

Apparently, Sadikov had written an article in the McGill Daily criticizing a letter failing “to acknowledge our share of responsibility as SSMU councillors for the institutional failure of SSMU in responding to disclosures of gendered and sexual violence committed by (SSMU VP) Aird.” But in the article, he admitted to his own participation in rape culture – almost as an aside.

But this cannot be done without first critically assessing the role of our student institutions in perpetuating rape culture and excusing gendered and sexual violence – one that I have witnessed (and participated in) within both SSMU and my faculty association this year.

Prompting an ex-girlfriend to write the following:

Igor, I am disappointed by the article you recently published in response to your colleagues’ letter regarding David Aird. I do not appreciate that you place your admission to participating in rape culture in parentheses. That is not a side note that readers should take for granted or gloss over for one reason: all men benefit from patriarchal structures, but not all, in fact, have a history of abusive behaviour like yours.

You said in one of your (many) recent public Facebook posts: “I know what it means to do harm and commit violence. I have inflicted harm and violence on others in the past, and I have not always been held accountable for it.” Speaking as one of those “others” – specifically, the ex-girlfriend/colleague that you subjected to a significantly damaging amount of psychologically abusive behaviour over the course of a 1.5 year relationship – I can corroborate that statement. With these vague references you’ve made to your history of and complicity with gendered violence, you appear to be under the impression that this behaviour has given you some sort of epistemic privilege on the matter. It has not.

Frankly, I am not convinced that an accountable community or student society is something in which you are genuinely interested. Going back to your post on violence (made about two weeks before David’s resignation), you also said: “I understand and share the indignation at the fact that people who commit violence continue to hold positions of power. I navigate this as best I can, and I understand the importance of taking responsibility and experiencing the consequences of one’s harmful actions.”

What form does this indignation take given that you yourself are, as you admit, a person who has committed violence and holds a position of power? Given that you said nothing about your colleague’s behaviour? Based on David’s statement, it seems that prior to resigning he admitted that he had caused harm and had sought therapy – do you think these things sufficiently constitute “taking responsibility and experiencing the consequences of one’s harmful actions”? Finally, is centering yourself in – more than that, positioning yourself as someone fit to lead – the discussion about gendered violence in our student societies really an appropriate way of “taking responsibility” for your own behaviour? If I may be so fucking bold as to pass judgement, I think it looks more like a self-serving grab at rad points that only piqued your interest when it became politically opportune for you to act.

This background certainly lends credence to the view that his statement about punching Zionists was not meant as a joke, but rather the rant of a psychologically troubled bully prone to abusive behavior.


David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media

Help Keep This Important Work Going