Hillel of Montreal protested the illegal banning of Hillel activities at Concordia University by sponsoring a community-wide Chanukah celebration on campus on Thursday, December 5. More than 300 students from Concordia and McGill University, as well as community members attended the event. Anti-Israel protestors attempted to interrupt the celebration; one was arrested.
Montreal Hillel is moving forward with plans to bring legal action against the Concordia Student Union which voted 8-1 last week to ban Hillel activities on campus.
Students and community members around the world have expressed solidarity with Concordia Hillel. Hillel of Montreal welcomes international support. Students are invited to participate in Shabbatons scheduled for February and March. Contact Steinhardt JCSC Fellow Michal Kedem (email@example.com) for more information.
Community members are also encouraged to protest the CSU decision to Concordia Rector Frederick Lowy (Frederick.Lowy@concordia.ca), Dean of Students Dr. Donald L. Boisvert (firstname.lastname@example.org), and the Concordia Student Union (email@example.com). Messages of solidarity can be sent to Concordia Hillel (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Hillel President and International Director Richard M. Joel issued a statement denouncing the CSU action: "Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life condemns in the strongest terms the outrageous decision of the Concordia Student Union to exclude Hillel from campus and to deny it CSU funds. Hillel urges the CSU to rescind its decision. We support Montreal Hillel's efforts to pursue legal action against the CSU. We call upon the university to denounce this action which flies in the face of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of association."
The CSU took the vote after learning that Hillel made available a flyer recruiting Israeli Defense Force volunteers. The student government group was under the erroneous impression that the pamphlet was a violation of Canadian law.
This systematic denial of Hillel's right to meet on campus follows an incident earlier this year when violent protesters successfully prevented former Israeli Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from speaking on campus. "This pattern of harassment and discrimination must end once and for all," Joel said.