McGill student rep who tweeted ‘punch a zionist today’ cites regret, won’t...

McGill student rep who tweeted ‘punch a zionist today’ cites regret, won’t resign

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McGill University
The McGill University administration says it will be taking disciplnary action against Igor Sadikov. WIKI COMMONS PHOTO

Following condemnation and calls for his resignation, the McGill University student union representative who tweeted “punch a zionist today” has expressed qualified regret, citing his own Jewish heritage, but has not stepped down.

Screenshot from Twitter
Screenshot from Twitter

On Feb. 6, Igor Sadikov, a member of the board of directors and legislative council of the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU), posted that phrase on his Twitter account, where it remained until Feb. 9, when B’nai Brith Canada issued a press release denouncing it as an incitement to violence.

On Feb. 10, the McGill administration indicated that it’s taking disciplinary action against Sadikov, whose tweet it termed “disturbing.”

“The university strongly condemns expressions of hatred or incitement to violence against any individual or group,” said provost and vice-principal (academic) Christopher Manfredi. “Such statements do not represent the views or the values of the university and we believe they violate a number of our policies, including the Code of Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures. While individual disciplinary proceedings are confidential, appropriate offices are taking action as required. McGill remains steadfast in its support of freedom of expression and respectful discourse.”

READ: JEWISH-MUSLIM GROUP ASK TRUDEAU TO DEFEAT MOTION CONDEMNING ISLAMOPHOBIA

In response to the outrage, the Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS), to which Sadikov is an elected representative, posted on its Facebook page that it has formally requested his resignation “due to his encouragement of violence.”

Igor Sadikov
Igor Sadikov ARTS UNDERGRADUATE SOCIETY OF MCGILL PHOTOl

But the AUS also wrote that “as executives, we do not hold the power to directly impeach a member of our team.”

The AUS, whose president is Becky Goldberg, also commented, “We recognize that the issue of Zionism has historically been a controversial topic on our campus, and hope that students on either side of this debate can feel safe and included in AUS spaces.”

Sadikov, who is also a former news editor of the student publication the McGill Daily, in which he frequently criticizes Israel, responded on his Facebook page: “I regret the way that I phrased my opposition to Zionism and the fact that some of my constituents and fellow students felt harmed by it. To be clear, this tweet was not an attack against Jewish students, but on the adherents of a political philosophy that has detrimental impacts on Palestinians on a daily basis.

“This is an ideology that I oppose, in the same way that I oppose colonization and dispossession in Canada, in the United States, and elsewhere in the world. Given my own Jewish heritage, I believe that we must continue to disentangle Jewish identity from Zionism. Finally, I do not condone nor advocate violence on the basis of membership in any identity group.”

Sadikov did not respond to a request from The CJN for comment.

A third-year mathematics and political science student, Sadikov was born in Moscow in 1994, according to his social media accounts. His tweet was apparently a parody of the “punch a Nazi” meme circulating on the Internet.

While he claims to reject violence, his Facebook page is headlined, “I am a trash man/410,757,864,530 DEAD COPS.”

His statement wasn’t good enough for B’nai Brith, which filed a complaint to the police. Its regional director, Harvey Levine, said the tweet amounts to “inciting violence against a visible minority,” and the “damage has been done” even though it was deleted.

B’nai Brith League for Human Rights national director Amanda Hohmann stated that this incident “only strengthens the case of those who have claimed an overwhelmingly anti-Israel atmosphere at the McGill Daily.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) also condemned what Sadikov did, and wants him removed from student leadership posts.

“Calls for violence cross a line,” said CIJA-Quebec co-chair Rabbi Reuben Poupko. “While we vigorously defend freedom of speech and realize it can at times be heated, we roundly condemn calls for violence and applaud the AUS for its stance.”

The student group No to BDS (also known as Vote No McGill), which has been campaigning against efforts to promote the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign on campus, continues to call for Sadikov’s resignation from his SSMU posts, which also includes chairing a number of committees, among them a democratic review committee formed in November.

Critics like student Simon Paransky charge that Sadikov is pressing for changes that would dramatically reduce the authority of the SSMU’s judicial board. Last May, that body issued a reference that campaigning against a single country, such as Israel, violated the SSMU constitution because it was discriminatory against students from that country.

“It is appalling that an elected representative who holds significant power within the McGill community is advocating violence against Zionists, a significant portion of McGill students,” No to BDS said on its Facebook page.

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If Sadikov doesn’t step down, the group says “thousands of members of the McGill community will feel unsafe at their own school and threatened by their student government.”

Alexandra Levine and Grace Miller-Day, leaders of another group called Israel on Campus, stated that this kind of language is especially egregious at a time when pro-Zionist students already feel hostility towards them.

“Statements like this alienate those who are part of that group, and in general go against the equity values that McGill claims to promote,” they said.

  • TerrorIsEvil

    This behavior emanates from the firm belief of the Social Justice Warriors (SJW) that they are right and that they will prevail over us – with violence if need be.

    This is the method of operation (MO) of the left-wing youth of today that is being instilled in them
    by leftist professors, leftist institutions, McGill among the worst, and the
    left-wing CBC, TheStar and many other online media representing groups (many
    sponsored by wealthy foundations whose goal is to indoctrinate our youth to
    their beliefs). They pound this garbage into their heads year-after-year 24/7.

    The Islamic Student Associations have a firm grip on student government across this country (and
    now one of theirs is an MP with blasphemy legislation about to be passed into
    law) and the friendships and associations that they establish with weak-minded
    leftists (and the money available to do so) makes it inevitable that this is
    the beginning and just the tip of the iceberg.

    Once Trudeau gets his way and Canada has Blasphemy legislation, we will not even be able to criticize anyone or anything to which Islam is attached to (campuses will be their domain and
    their primary propaganda inroad) that makes Islam look bad in any way. What is
    bad for Islam in their eyes will be outlawed and punished. So hateful morons
    like Igor Sadikov will be home free and spouting his antismitism to applauding
    audiences on his campus.

    Is it surprising that this occurs in the Jewish community when young people can’t even open up a CJN without finding CJN columnist Mira Sucharov explaining why Jews and Israel must follow
    her recipe for giving away Israel, demanding Jews become leftists, and asking
    young people to side with those who want to weaken Israel by first weakening
    the resolve of Jewish people to stand up to concepts which make Israel smaller,
    weaker and more vulnerable?

    • Jeff

      First off you remain nuts, blaming everything on Trudeau. I guess the snow outside is his fault also. Kelly Leech must be on your speed dial. About the merits of this story, the creep should be expelled from the university. There is no place on campus for someone who espouses violence. Failing that Jewish donors should start redirecting their money to other institutions.

  • George Naftali Muenz

    He has a long history of hate but still plays the victim.

    Hi everyone,

    It has recently been brought to my attention that, between the years of 2009 and 2012, before I entered university, I published several highly objectionable tweets of a violent and discriminatory nature on my Twitter account. These tweets are currently being used to blackmail me, and so I want to address the situation honestly and openly.

    These tweets contained violent slurs and discriminatory remarks targeting racialized people, women, queer people, people with disabilities, and people with mental illness. One tweet in particular was an intentionally outrageous hateful comment toward Black people, and contained a racial slur and a reference to a hate group. While it did not accurately reflect my attitudes toward Black people at the time of its publication, this tweet was an act of violence and has caused significant harm to Black people regardless of my intent.

    I deeply regret the publication of these tweets and I take responsibility for the harm that they caused. My careless use of slurs and discriminatory statements reflected the biases that I held at the time, but cannot be excused by ignorance. I should have been aware of the harmful effects of my statements, and I should not have published these tweets. I sincerely apologize for having done so.

    Since 2012, I have developed my understanding of social justice through anti-oppression training, work experience, coursework, volunteering, activism, and independent learning. I stand firmly opposed to racism, sexism, heterosexism, and ableism, and my past behaviour is not reflective of the values that I now hold. Seeing those tweets again has reminded me that anti-oppression work is a process of continuous learning – a process that I look forward to continuing with the necessary humility.

    Although I have now deleted the tweets in question, I recognize that the harm that they caused, both at the time of their publication and throughout the period during which they were available on my Twitter profile, is ongoing. Furthermore, as a student representative and as a member of activist groups on campus, I expect to be held to a high standard on equity-related matters. As such, I am offering to work with anyone who is or has been affected by my behaviour to repair and be accountable for the harm that I caused.

    I remain available for further discussion of this issue. Thank you all for reading.

    In solidarity,
    Igor

  • sunni ways

    The police certainly are dragging their feet on this one. Last week, when some fellow allegedly Tweeted some anti islamic tweets, he was hauled out of his home by the police at 2am , accompanied by the media with camera.

    But when someone says “punch a Zionist”, the police are still deciding what to do.

    Face it, muslims outnumber jews 3/1 in Canada and politicians know who they have to appease in order to win an election.

  • hannah

    THEN PUNCH HIM. NOW! WTF ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

  • healer

    ALUMNI !!
    Stop your donations to this cesspool of hate…..