Concordia's Thursday Report

Vol. 29, No.6

November 18, 2004


B'nai Brith is going to Human Rights body


B'nai Brith, the Jewish rights organization, will take a complaint against Concordia to the Quebec Human Rights Commission for "not defending the rights of Jewish students."

The complaint was sparked by the university’s refusal to allow former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak to speak on campus because of security concerns.

However, spokesmen for B’nai Brith said that there is history of “systemic discrimination” at Concordia that predates the aborted speech of Benjamin Netanyahu in September 2002.

Concordia president Frederick Lowy has issued a statement correcting an impression left by the media that the university had recently reversed its decision not to let Barak speak.

The university’s position remains the same: that Concordia is willing to co-sponsor his speech at a non-university venue, and alternatively, that he will be invited to speak at Concordia sometime this academic year if a secure venue can be created.

For its part, the Canadian Jewish Congress has distanced itself from B’nai Brith’s position. The local Federation CJA (Canadian Jewish Appeal) applauded Concordia’s decision to invite Barak to speak during this academic year, “the precise date to be determined once security concerns have been addressed.”

There have been letters to the editor of The Gazette on the issue, notably from Jewish students who deny that they have been victimized at the university.