Home News Canada Concordia student union defends ‘Passover against Apartheid’ event

Concordia student union defends ‘Passover against Apartheid’ event

This poster advertised an event called Passover Against Apartheid held at Concordia University, co-hosted by the student union.

The Concordia Student Union (CSU) is defending its association with an event called Passover Against Apartheid by pointing out that the initiator is Jewish.

Pro-Israel student organizations and Jewish groups charge that it is offensive to politicize a religious holiday, that it amounts to cultural appropriation, and that it’s counter-productive to dialogue.

“This event was organized by a Jewish undergraduate student. I’m not sure how she would be appropriating her own cultural traditions. The CSU co-presents many different kinds of student events and initiatives over the course of a year,” CSU general co-ordinator Lucinda Marshall-Kiparissis told The CJN.

That student was Marion Miller, a fine arts student, CSU councillor, Concordia student senator and incoming CSU vice-president academic and advocacy.

Passover Against Apartheid, held April 13 in the CSU lounge, was “co-hosted” by Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR), the Fine Arts Student Alliance (FASA), and the CSU, according to a poster for the event. That publicity was discovered on April 10, just before the start of Passover, by pro-Israel student Eden Moalem.

She decried it on social media as “cultural appropriation of Judaism [for] the Palestinian agenda” and “a disgrace.”

If the intent was to promote discussion and dialogue, as stated, holding it during Passover made it difficult for many Jewish students to attend, Moalem said.

Concordia Hillel said it was “appalled” by the event. “The important Jewish holiday of Passover and its traditional seder should never be politicized and used to further a controversial political agenda. We will not stand for it. We are deeply upset,” Hillel posted on Facebook.


Israel on Campus Concordia, another CSU-affiliated group, similarly condemned “the use of a religious and cultural symbol to further a political agenda. The holiday of Passover is about unity, but this event only creates division and ostracizes Jewish and Israeli students from their campus.

“The political appropriation of this Jewish holiday has only succeeded in blocking the road toward a peaceful dialogue.”

Passover Against Apartheid consisted of an art exhibit, followed by two discussions, the first to learn about the holiday through “the lens of BDS” –the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel – while the second was geared to Jews critical of Israel and seeking alternative narratives at the seder.

Passover, with its theme of liberation, according to the poster’s text, is an appropriate time to consider the oppression of the Palestinians.

A replacement for the traditional blessing of “Next year in Jerusalem” and how to criticize Israel within “institutional Judaism” or the family was scheduled to be discussed.

A “Hillel sandwich” was offered to participants. The poster was illustrated with a bowl of matzoh balls in which a Palestinian flag was staked.

According to the online invitation, the exhibit was of Miller’s ceramic seder table, which incorporates familiar and non-traditional elements and includes “surprising guests” Emma Goldman and Bernie Sanders.

The artwork was inspired by “liberation seders” created by feminist and LBGT groups. “This seder spread challenges us to bring Palestine to the table in our telling of the story of liberation from oppression,” the invitation reads.

Miller is described as having grown up in “a white, settler, secular Ashkenazi Jewish and Acadian family in rural Nova Scotia.”

She could not be reached for further comment.

Off campus, Passover Against Apartheid was denounced by Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC) and B’nai Brith Canada.

The former accused the presenters of “shamelessly [using] Jewish religion to further [a] pro-Palestinian agenda.” It wants the university to strip the SPHR and the FASA of their “student club” accreditation.

“This is shameful and mocking of the Jewish religion. No other religious group would tolerate such a debasement of its religion,” stated Avi Benlolo, FSWC president and CEO.

Harvey Levine, B’nai Brith regional director for Quebec, said, “This is more than Israel bashing. It’s an anti-Semitic slap in the face to every Jew and I think they crossed the line.”


  • TerrorIsEvil

    By the way, if Ms. Miller is so ashamed of her “white, settler, secular Ashkenazi Jewish and Acadian family in rural Nova Scotia”, then she should join her extended “Islamist, terrorist, Jew-hating” family in any part of the Middle East she chooses except for israel – preferably with the people who have indoctrinated, coached, financed and encouraged her to hate herself and her country. Bye-bye!!

    • Jeff

      you truly are a wack-a-doodle. this McGill student definitely is an anti-Semite, but in your warped view, everybody is “Islamist, terrorist”….definitely holding this event is disgusting, but hardly terrorist…even using that term debases what terrorism is…or didnt you learn its not a good idea to keep yelling fire in a crowded building cause after a while no one will listen

      • TerrorIsEvil

        So, Jeff, “Passover Against Apartheid” that Concordia Hillel (students) have characterized as “appalling” and which included an art exhibit and two discussions “to learn about the holiday through the lens of BDS” (“a campaign against Israel”) that appeals to people who are “critical of Israel” and seeks “alternative narratives at the Seder” does not bother you?

        Does “bring(ing) Palestine to the table in telling of the story of liberation from oppression” and “shamelessly [using] Jewish religion to further [a] pro-Palestinian agenda” not ring any alarm bells in your thick cranium, Jeff?

        I call people with such agendas and those who ignore these attacks as belonging to one of the following categories: terrorists, terror enablers, anti-Semites, propagandists, left-wing creeps and stupid fools.

        You, Jeff, are wrong on many weird and silly levels. B’nai Brith’s regional director for Quebec is correct in the following quote: “This is MORE THAN Israel bashing. It’s an anti-Semitic slap in the face to every Jew and I think they crossed the line.”

        • Jeff

          guess you are so blinded by hatred that you failed to read my comments. I find these anti-Israel events disgusting, but would not label them as terrorism, they are hate pure and simple…these people need to be educated about what Israel is and is not….perhaps that would help. I don’t label everything I disagree with as Leftist and Islamist and don’t blame Trudeau for these events. Anti-Israel crap has been going on before he came to power.

          • TerrorIsEvil

            I hate people who hate us. When they stop hating us and backing up their hate with these kinds of events and terrorism in Canada (backed and supported by the same people who back Palestinian terrorists), I will have no reason to be concerned.

            You are not even aware nor willing to admit that there is a problem. You have no idea how to deal with it because you think that that each and every attack is isolated and disconnected from an overall ideology, a plan and and goal.

            You are disconnected from reality. Look at what is happening around the world. Why, Jeff, did a terrorist attack France once again this evening? Just chance? Was he having a bad day? There hundreds of thousands dead because of an ideology of hate. It is not being carried by nice folks just wanting to express themselves with violence for no reason! In all cases of terrorism and terror propaganda the ideology is Islamism and/or Leftism.

            If you really find these anti-Israel events “disgusting” then we and our leaders (i.e. – Trudeau) will have to take action – not invite them in and praise and protect the same ideology that is behind the terrorism. You start by first finding the ideology disgusting.

          • Jeff

            ok, how many terrorist attacks have their been in Canada? How many mass shootings have their been related to terrorism? How many synagogues have been shot up? How many mosques? My solution to you is grab your riffle, crawl into your bunker and start protecting the land

          • TerrorIsEvil

            There were 18 guys (The Toronto 18) armed and ready to behead the Prime Minister in 2006


            There was in 2014 Michael Zehaf-Bibeau who fatally shot Corporal Nathan Cirillo, a Canadian soldier before going into our Parliament building to kill more before he was taken out by a very courageous RCMP Constable Curtis Barrett,


            There was the 2014 Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu ramming attack


            There many were others as well (your memory, Jeff, seems to be failing):


        • Jeff

          you certainly like to label people

          • TerrorIsEvil

            Jeff, is there any act of terror or propaganda terror that you do not make light of and then turn on and belittle people who are concerned as well as police and military, first responders, who must act to keep you safe?

            You accuse concerned people as being too reactionary – I guess when it comes from a weak coward we need not take notice of your taunts.

      • TerrorIsEvil

        Propaganda has killed many Jews in the past (recall Paul Joseph Goebbels) and this propaganda at Concordia is intended to kill Jews in the present and future. – it ensures that Jews are demonized and transformed into legitimate targets by morons and their terrorist supporters who look for every means to do so – and it seems that they have you enthralled.

        • Jeff

          wrong again, of course, Goebbels had the power of the state behind him….sort of like when Trump (prob your hero) attacks Mexicans and others. While I detest anti-Israel student propaganda it does not fall into the same category. Unfortunately sometimes these things are protected by “freedom of speech” which I think goes to far at times

          • TerrorIsEvil

            Leaving aside your hateful and dumb comments about me for the moment, I see that you have no understanding of Islamism which has many states behind it. That is how these ISIS members and Hezbollah get the weapons and missiles they use to fire at Jews/Israel. Iran (a Shia state) arms and finances their Hezbollah terror branch and Saudi and the Gulf Sunni (states) give weapons and funds to their terrorists in ISIS, Hamas, etc.

  • shlomo

    Liberation seders are ubiquitous throughout the Jewish diaspora. In fact at this point 3rd seder liberation seders outnumber Hillel and bnai brith type generic community seders by a large margin….. the faux ‘shock” and “horror” expressed by these cynical out of touch Jewish institutions, not only illustrates the growing generational rift between an increasingly irrelevant increasingly old stagnant jewish institutional world and the vibrant growing young more open and progressive dynamic Jewish community that is already replacing the diminishing shells of these organizations……

    These tattered institutional relic’s expressions of “shock and ‘horror” (while transparently and pathetically courting the “millenials at every chance that arises), are akin to the Vichy French Police chief in Casablanca feigning ““I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on here!” – just as he is handed his winnings for the night…..

    • TerrorIsEvil


    • TerrorIsEvil

      You say that these “replacement Seders” are “ubiquitous” and I am confused as to your position – does this bother you or are you happy about it because it plays into some theory of yours that the Diaspora is doomed due to their tone deafness?

      Are you inviting this Judaism-destroying “change”? In the world of the Left-wingers the death of Judaism is one way to accomplish death to Israel.

      It is unclear to me if you are describing the Jewish Seder as “generic,” to emphasize that it is somehow outdated and prudish. Are you saying that Jewish institutions which hold on to tradition and religion are “cynical and out of touch” – not in keeping with progressive (or is that regressive?) views which we now find in dark places like IJV, NIF and JStreet?

      The left is out to destroy Israel by harming Jewish culture and religion, shrinking the country to indefensibility and promoting terrorist propagandists dressed up like “progressives” using replacement theology, fake “Palestinian narratives” and – armed with lots of left-wing funding and sponsorship.

      We are not talking here about new and inventive ways to present an old story – this is propaganda used by Israel haters and terrorists who demonize and destroy their target with propaganda – “Progressives” are the new Nazis.

      The left will fail because the terrorists with whom they have made alliances will destroy themselves first (they have already begun to destroy their own Islamic religion through self-inflicted atrocities) and the Islamists will soon turn on those who have been spoon-feeding them because they have nothing in common. They merely join forces to gang up on Jews, “infidels” and Israel.

      Israel is strong – leftists are weak, without morality and brain-dead. They are willing accomplices to their own destruction and that will bring an eventual end to their project.

  • rivka

    “Concordia Student Union defends Passover against Apartheid’ event” – indefensible.