In Toronto Star Column, Canadian Arab Federation Staffers Laughably Call Anti-Israel Encampments “Peaceful” And Pro-Peace

In a breathtaking attempt at gaslighting readers into believing that illegal occupations at Canadian universities somehow represent a popular movement among the next generation, Atif Kubursi and Mohamed Boudjenane of the Canadian Arab Federation, in a recent opinion column, ignored a mountain of inconvenient facts to help promote their case.

Their column entitled: “Young voices on campuses rally for peace and justice in Palestine,” published May 8 in The Toronto Star, called the fringe anti-Israel occupation on select campuses a “beacon of hope,” writing that the demonstrations have featured “young students from diverse faith backgrounds” who are “proclaiming a powerful message: peace is the only path to end the cycle of violence.”

While such flowery language no doubt sounds appealing, it is utterly false to the point of being dishonest.

As pointed out by the president of the University of Alberta, only 25 percent of the participants at the now-dismantled encampment were actually students at the university. The vast majority were clearly rabble-rousers, and hardly the image of “young students” given by Kubursi and Boudjenane.

Although there are nearly 1.5 million university students across Canada, the attendance at the encampments – particularly considering most are not students – is a miniscule fraction of a percent of Canadian university students.

While the authors claimed that the demonstrators have promoted messages of peace, that depiction relies on simply ignoring the huge amount of documented extremism, hate speech, harassment and intimidation seen at the encampments, including open support for Islamic terrorism.

As for the image of the demonstrations as “peaceful protests,” that is incredibly out of touch with reality. Police have found “hammers, axes and screwdrivers” in the encampments

The only descriptors missing in Kubursi and Boudjenane’s column are the ones referring to the rainbow and kittens on campus, and the singalongs and circle time.

Instead of addressing the violence, harassment, intimidation and support for terrorism at these protests, the authors instead pointed fingers at those who oppose the demonstrations, saying they come from “pro-Israeli groups and some political allies,” and that they are nothing more than “blatant efforts to suppress free speech.”

It is not only “pro-Israeli groups” who oppose the demonstrations; it is Canadians at large. Unsurprisingly, the hate tests have quickly garnered widespread opposition in Canadian society, with a recent poll showing that roughly half of the Canadian public opposes the anti-Israel demonstrations, far more than those who claim to support them.

The disingenuous attempt by the authors to label opposition to violence and harassment as efforts to “suppress free speech” does not stand up to even the smallest of scrutiny. Anyone, even paid, professional anti-Israel “protesters,” have the right to make their voice heard, regardless of whether their message is coherent. But intimidation, violence, harassment and support for terrorism is not tolerated by the law, or by Canadian society.

In contrast to claims by the authors, the protests are neither peaceful nor tolerant, they do not represent the views of Canadians, and they are a tiny, almost invisible fringe of students, though they have been successful at attracting media attention from friendly authors, only happy to help present a whitewashed view of their hate fests, just as Atif Kubursi and Mohamed Boudjenane of the Canadian Arab Federation have done in their May 8 column in The Toronto Star.

Take action now by sending a letter to the editor to the Toronto Star. Send letters to: lettertoed@thestar.ca.

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