The following letter was sent to TanenbaumCHAT graduates at McGill University earlier this week.
Dear TanenbaumCHAT graduates at McGill University,
I read in this week’s CJN the good news that the student-led motion in favour of BDS was voted down after the Student Society initially passed it. I know that many of you were in the forefront of campaigning, educating, and networking to defeat this anti-Semitic motion. Todah Rabbah and Yishar Koach!
I understand that although the BDS motion wasn’t ratified, 43% of the students voted in favour of it. I can only imagine how uncomfortable it must be to study in an environment where nearly half the student leadership believes that your people, our people, the Jewish people, should be denied the right to national sovereignty. I also imagine that some Jewish students have begun to hide their identity and deny a connection to Israel. That’s why I am even more proud of you for remaining loyal to the Jewish people, to the State of Israel, and to the values that you were raised on both at home and at TanenbaumCHAT.
Whatever role you played, you should know that a community of over 1000 students, 200 teachers and staff, and 7,000 alumni stands behind you and supports you. Behind you is the Canadian Parliament as well. Our national leaders understand that BDS supporters, cloaking their arguments in the language of human rights, have one true goal–Israel’s destruction. Our elected officials know well that the obliteration of our homeland negates fundamental Canadian values and interests and is bad for the entire civilized world.
As well, our Parliamentarians understand that Israel is a place that provides the Jewish people the best opportunity to be Jews not just in our homes but in the public sphere as well. To deny Israel that right and compel us to hide who we are–to deny our inalienable right to self-determination– is to rob us of a fundamental human freedom. I am proud to live in a country where at least our politicians understand this; hopefully university students will one day get the message too.
As the Head of School of TanenbaumCHAT, I am proud of your courage and persistence and thank you for standing up for Israel in the face of what is often the toughest opposition: the hostility of peers. Chazak Chazak V’nitchazeik!
Rabbi Buckman, Head of School of TanenbaumCHAT