McGill student council fails to impeach member who urged followers to ‘punch a Zionist’

David Lazarus

MONTREAL (JTA) — McGill University’s Arts Undergraduate Society voted not to impeach Igor Sadikov for his “’punch a Zionist today” tweet earlier this month.

On Wednesday evening, the society voted 22-16 with seven abstentions on the fate of Sadikov, also a member of the student legislative council at the Montreal university.

Since his original post on Feb. 6, Sadikov has refused to resign from the McGill Student Society while issuing carefully worded “apologies” and calling his tweet a “misguided joke.”

“Many of my constituents and fellow students, and some of my friends, adhere to Zionist ideology,” he said in a statement Wednesday to the Arts Undergraduate Society. “I am Jewish myself.”

Sadikov, 22, who supports the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, said he was targeting a “political philosophy,” not Jews.

McGill has remained split over those who want Sadikov ousted from his student government positions and even expelled, and those charging that the university’s student union executive bowed to pressure from the administration when the executive reversed its decision not to censure him.

In the campus publication, The McGill Daily, where Sadikov once served as editor, he called such efforts “a new low.”

McGill principal Suzanne Fortier, meanwhile, defended its intervention on the grounds that “with any incitement to violence, it is our duty.”

Pro-Israel students have said they feel hostility and isolated on campus. Petitions to expel Sadikov have been launched online.