HRC / AVI Campus Media Fellow Published In The National Post: B.C. Profs Using Selina Robinson To Spread Anti-Jewish Propaganda On Campus

On March 12, 2024, one of our Campus Media Fellows, Zara Nybo, was published in The National Post on how professors in British Columbia post-secondary schools are using Selina Robinson, her removal as minister of post-secondary education by Premier David Eby, and her eventual departure from the Provincial NDP party to help spread anti-Jewish propaganda on campuses across the province.

B.C. profs using Selina Robinson to spread anti-Jewish propaganda on campus

By Zara Nybo

As a student at the University of British Columbia (UBC), I am alarmed by the antisemitism we are witnessing, both on campus and throughout the province. Several recent incidents have made life difficult for Jewish students, and the removal of Selina Robinson as minister of post-secondary education by Premier David Eby last month exacerbated the problem.

Last week, Robinson resigned from the B.C. NDP, citing antisemitism in the caucus and saying that she “can’t continue to be the only voice speaking up against antisemitism and hatred.” She will sit as an independent.

Robinson’s removal stemmed from the backlash over her comment that pre-state Israel was “a crappy piece of land with nothing on it.” Despite promptly apologizing for her indelicate remarks, anti-Israel activists used the opportunity to attack Robinson, her beliefs and, by extension, members of the Jewish community.

Her constituency office was vandalized, and members of her caucus quickly turned their backs on her. As Post columnist Rahim Mohamed wrote in these pages, “Robinson had made herself a target within the NDP simply by being a Jew who supports Israel.”

As always, the incident eventually made its way to campus, prompting many — professors and students alike — to take advantage of the situation to disseminate outright propaganda and false information.

At Simon Fraser University (SFU), Prof. Adel Iskandar publicly promoted a campaign to “Sack Selina” Twitter, stating: “Islamophobia isn’t the only problem in Minister Robinson’s comments and actions, its 1) Systematic targeting of Palestinian voices + Israel critics across the province and country and 2) The ahistoric erasure of Palestinians.”

Critics also condemned Robinson for rightly voicing her concerns over Langara College instructor Natalie Knight, who outright celebrated Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre. During a speech she gave at a rally in Vancouver, Knight called the mass slaughter and rape of innocent civilians both “brilliant” and “amazing,” and has not retracted or apologized for her statement. Fortunately, Knight is no longer employed by Langara College.

Other associate professors, such as Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis from the University of British Columbia, signed a letter calling for Robinson’s resignation. On social media, Klein falsely decried Robinson as holding “extreme anti-Palestinian beliefs.”

The letter signed by Klein and Lewis is highly antisemitic and promotes several inaccuracies, including that “Palestinians are facing colonial genocide.” Referring to Jewish people as “colonizers” negates our indigeneity to the Land of Israel and is an attempt to demonize our experience.

I was also shocked by the letter’s depiction of Jews as “European settlers.” To see UBC professors lending their names to calculated forms of propaganda only serves to fuel the already heated political climate on North American campuses. They are taking advantage of this situation to spread anti-Jewish disinformation and alienating students such as myself.

In an era of cancel culture, in which Robinson’s heartfelt apology for her poorly worded statement would not be accepted, I fear how this will impact the young voices speaking out against antisemitism and anti-Israel bias.

In academia, we are often told that one must seek context and nuance before jumping to conclusions. Yet that is not the case when it comes to discussions about Israel. I am truly enraged as an emerging academic by the misrepresentation of history and blatant antisemitism used against Robinson by professors at SFU and UBC.

In November, the Center For Antisemitism Research found that 73 per cent of Jewish university students in the United States had witnessed an antisemitic incident since the start of the 2023-24 school year. How is it that professors are not being more considerate about how they discuss issues that can fan the flames of antisemitism on campus?

National Post

Zara Nybo is a student at the University of British Columbia and a campus media fellow with HonestReporting Canada and Allied Voices for Israel.


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