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At last, a $15 million-dollar (CDN) class action lawsuit has been launched against Concordia University for failing to address antisemitism. In a Canadian Press article: “Lawsuit accuses Concordia, student union of failing to address antisemitism,” Canadian Press, November 17, 2024:
A proposed class-action lawsuit accuses Concordia University in Montreal and its student union of creating a safe space for antisemitism on campus over decades, leaving students and faculty psychologically scarred.
The lawsuit application seeks $15 million in damages for members of the proposed class, which includes Jewish students, faculty and staff currently at the school or who attended or worked there in the last three years. Two Concordia students and one professor are leading the application, filed in Quebec Superior Court Thursday, and are requesting anonymity in legal proceedings because they fear retaliation.
The lawsuit comes as Concordia and other universities across the country struggle to contain heated tensions on campus that are linked to the Israel-Hamas war. One of the examples of on-campus antisemitism listed in the class-action application is the violent altercation last week at Concordia between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian students that led to one arrest and injuries to two security guards and one student….
….The application lists other examples of incidents that it says demonstrate a decades-long history of antisemitic sentiment on campus……
But it really goes beyond a decade. The university has an extensive history with anarchists and Palestinian activism, as the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs exposed back in 2008:
This was a gradual process at Concordia, climaxing in September 2002 with a riot protesting Hillel’s attempt to bring former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak. The ongoing battle between pro- and anti-Israeli factions at Concordia was not diffused by this violence, nor by the involvement of the Jewish community at large. Indeed, the confrontation continues.
Tensions Rise on Campus
Concordia University announced its entrance into Middle East politics in November 2000. The student union, in conjunction with the student group Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR), called for a general assembly to support UN motions against Israel and demand Israel’s immediate withdrawal from the territories.
In a new escalation since October 7, Jewish students at Concordia have been subject to violent antisemitism, extreme discrimination and intimidation, resulting in post-traumatic stress symptoms and “significant psychological injury’ — including nightmares, flashbacks, fear of being on Concordia campuses and fear of identifying themselves as Jewish — for themselves and members of the class.”
No one in free societies should be enduring this. The biggest question is why are Jews subjected to such antisemitism in a country with a government that promotes itself as opposing “all forms of hatred,” and that even installed an “Islamophobia Czar,” stood by the appointment and waited for the backlash to dissipate. And when Black Lives Matter was on a violent destruction spree (while handsomely profiting fr
Black Lives Matter founder Patrisse Cullors once stated: “If we don’t step up to end the imperialist project that’s called Israel, we’re doomed.” Days ago, Concordia Dean of Students Andrew Woodall “notified Jewish students that the administration was not permitting them to set up a pro-Israel table on campus that would call for the release of Israeli hostages.” Concordia now has sent out an alumni letter in “solidarity” with Palestinians, demanding an end to the “ongoing and escalating genocide of the Palestinian people at the hands of the Israeli state.” Of course, it ignores the reasons for the Israeli war on Hamas.
The lawsuit against Concordia was long overdue. In addition to this legal challenge, Concordia’s President Graham Carr, the Concordia Student Union, and Solidarity and Palestinian Human Rights Concordia have also been served a formal legal letter which demands that “threats of violence, harassment of Jewish students and antisemitic graffiti be stopped immediately.”