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McGill student newspaper apologizes from publishing pro-Israel letter

The McGill Daily has held extremely anti-Israel positions in the past, inferring Israel is a racist state and students should support the BDS movement.

A student newspaper at McGill University apologized to its readers after publishing a pro-Israel letter.

The letter, written by two students, was a response to the McGill Daily’s previous categorization of Zionism as a racist movement.

“The Daily equates Zionism with colonialism, racism, and violence. This erroneous definition of Zionism is both misleading and irresponsible,” McGill students Josh Shapiro and Michael Aarenau wrote.

“There’s a reason why the vast majority of Jews around the world (especially those at McGill) identify as Zionists, and it’s not because they’re violent, racist colonialists.”

After the pro-Israel letter was published in the student paper, the Daily apologized to its readers, saying that the position the two Jewish students put forth in the letter dehumanizes Palestinians. 

“The content of the letter is unconscionable in its dehumanization of the Palestinian people. We therefore want to apologize to our readers for its presence in our paper, and provide the following response to it,” the Daily wrote.

The Daily has held extremely anti-Israel positions in the past, inferring Israel is a racist state and that students should support the movement to Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) Israel — a movement widely discredited as anti-Semitic.

“Zionism has come to represent a racist attitude and violent practice towards Palestinians that recognizes only Israeli/Jewish hegemony and legitimacy to self-determination in Palestine. (For more depth and historical context, the Daily recommends visiting the website of the BDS movement.),” they wrote.

The Daily’s editorial staff made it clear that they opposed publishing the pro-Israel letter, but were forced to by the university.

“While the Daily’s position was, and remains, that the letter in question is in opposition to both our Statement of Principles and our Letters Policy, and that we should not have to publish it, [Deputy Provost] Labeau determined that this perspective was not conducive to fostering an open exchange of ideas,” the Daily’s editorial staff wrote.

“It is deeply disappointing that Labeau did not recognize the inherent anti-Arab racism and dehumanization of Palestinian people present in this letter.”

“Zionism, at its inception, was a political, colonial movement,” they wrote.

The McGill Daily editorial staff goes on the characterize Theodor Herzl, the father of the Zionist movement, as a racist and a colonialist.

Zionism, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is an international movement originally for the establishment of a Jewish national or religious community in Palestine and later for the support of modern Israel.

Honest Reporting Canada, an organization that campaigns against anti-Israel bias in the media, filed a grievance with the McGill University administration in response to McGill Daily’s “apology.” 

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