The McGill Daily published a statement last week about its ban in response to an anti-Semitism complaint by members of the Montreal university’s Jewish community.
“[U]pon 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 McGill Daily statement read. “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.”
The statement acknowledged that there were no Jewish members on its editorial board while adding “the broader Daily community contains Jewish voices.”
The pro-Israel media group Honest Reporting condemned the McGill Daily statement.
“The McGill Daily’s refusal to give a platform to pro-Zionist commentaries has racist dimensions and xenophobic overtones as the viewpoints of Jewish students, many in the Montreal Jewish community and supporters of Israel (avowed Zionists) are deemed persona non grata,” Executive Director Mike Fegelman said in a statement issued last week.
The McGill Hillel also slammed the newspaper’s position, calling it “an egregious violation of the most fundamental journalistic ethics of truth/accuracy, independence, fairness/impartiality, humanity, and accountability” in a message published on its Facebook page.
The McGill Daily statement did not mention any complainants by name. The Canadian Jewish News reported that McGill student Molly Harris had made a complaint in which she alleged that one of the newspaper’s writers had shared “a set of virulently anti-Semitic tweets” and that pro-Israel opinions were prevented from being heard at the newspaper due to a “culture of anti-Semitism.”
In August, Harris published an article in The Washington Post titled “So you’re a Jew and you’re starting college? Prepare for anti-Zionism.” In the article, Harris recounted anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist incidents that occurred on campus, including one with “a student publication.”
“When I asked if a student publication would write about instances of anti-Semitism on campus in its end-of-year issue, I was told that those instances were already covered in ‘mainstream Zionist media,’” she wrote.
Josefin Dolsten is a former news fellow at the Forward, writing about politics and culture, and editing the Sisterhood blog. She received an MA in Jewish Studies and Comparative Religion from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a BA in Government from Cornell University. Follow her on Twitter at @josefindolsten .