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The Concordia University Netanyahu riot occurred on September 9, 2002, when protestors opposed to the Israeli occupation of Palestine rioted because of a scheduled visit from the then former (and now current) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The visit, to be held at the Henry F. Hall Building, was cancelled.[1]

For the duration of the riot, attendees were blocked by the protestors from entering the building. The attendees were escorted to the auditorium where the lecture was to take place, and later stated the rioters had subjected them to antisemitic slogans and assault. The university instituted additional measures to avert future incidents, including the banning of any events related to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict for one month, as well as enabling the use of new student disciplinary rules in case of emergency. Thomas Hecht, a Holocaust survivor, was kicked in the groin by protesters and Rabbi Howard Joseph and his wife Norma were assaulted and spat on.[2][3]

After attendees were escorted into the Hall building, a large window was shattered by rioters, At approximately the same time, a second window on the building's first floor, on the western side was broken when rioters threw a metal barricade. Five demonstrators were arrested,[4] and an additional twelve faced internal disciplinary hearings under the University's Code of Rights and Responsibilities[5] Mr. Netanyahu was not present at the protest, having remained at Montreal's Ritz-Carlton Hotel throughout the duration. He later accused the activists of supporting terrorism and "mad zealotry."[6]

The National Film Board of Canada documentary Discordia, produced by Adam Symansky, documents the fallout from the riot by following three young Concordia campus activists.[7][8] In 2003 GlobalTV also aired the documentary Confrontation at Concordia, produced by Martin Himmel. Raymond Beauchemin, a 1992 Concordia University graduate (MA, English), wrote a novel, These Days Are Nights, inspired by the events of the protest.


  1. ^ Canadian Press (January 15, 2003). "Concordia U. regrets anti-Netanyahu riot". Archived from the original on June 1, 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-16.
  2. ^ Martin Himmel. Confrontation at Concordia (documentary). Transcript Archived July 15, 2004, at the Wayback Machine (Appendix A to CIII-TV (Global Television) re Confrontation at Concordia (CBSC Decision 02/03-1340, -1368, -1514 and -1530, April 26, 2004))
  3. ^ Anti-Israeli Activity at Concordia University 2000-2003 by Corinne Berzon, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, September 25, 2008.
  4. ^ Canada protests stop Netanyahu speech. 10 September 2002. BBC World News.
  5. ^ Concordia University Press Release. Archived 2012-07-11 at 31 October 2002.
  6. ^ "Montreal protests thwart Netanyahu speech". CTV. September 10, 2002. Retrieved September 29, 2009.
  7. ^ Discordia, National Film Board of Canada. Online video.
  8. ^ Discordia (2004) on IMDb