The Manitoban Gives Uncritical Coverage To Attempt By Anti-Israel Pressure Group To Label Opposition To Palestinian Propaganda As Racism

March 31, 2024

As reported on March 20 in The Manitoban, a student newspaper at the University of Manitoba, a motion to adopt a particular definition of anti-Palestinian racism was brought to a recent meeting of the University of Manitoba Student Union (UMSU).

As reported in the article entitled: “Anti-Palestinian racism definition proposed to UMSU,” by author Alicia Rose, the motion aimed to have the definition included as part of the student union’s official position.

Rose wrote that the definition “lists denial of the Nakba — an Arabic term which means “catastrophe” and refers to the 1948 forced displacement of 700,000 Palestinians amid the creation of the state of Israel” as an example of anti-Palestinian racism.

The dangers of such a definition are readily apparent to anyone familiar with events surrounding Israel’s independence in 1948.

Despite the oft-repeated claim made by anti-Israel activists that the nascent Jewish State widely expelled hundreds of thousands of Arabs, the truth is far from what was depicted. Upon Israel gaining its independence, the country’s neighbouring Arab states immediately declared war, seeking to destroy the newly reborn state.

Many Arab leaders inside Israel, expecting a quick victory and annihilation of the country, encouraged Arabs to flee, thinking they would soon return. For other Arab leaders, they threatened Arab Israelis to leave, thinking they could become loyal to Israel.

However, that truth is often ignored by Israel’s detractors, who attempt to tell a story that demonizes Israel, even at the expense of facts, and the definition of anti-Palestinian racism, created by the Canadian Arab Lawyers’ Association (CALA), threatens to prioritize ideology over reality, and Rose’s description of “the Nakba” as the “forced displacement” of Arabs is misleading at best, and outright false at worst.

In the article, Rose wrote that the definition also covers “defending violence against Palestinians,” which is a vague and generic statement that could mean defaming those who support operations against Palestinian terrorist groups like Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).

However, Rose missed an important opportunity to highlight this glaring problem and how it can easily be used as a cudgel to stifle criticism of Palestinian terrorist organizations.

One need not guess about such intentions, as senior leaders of CALA, which created the definition, have made clear.

Dania Majid, co-founder and president of CALA, has attempted to frame criticism of anti-Israel propaganda as racism. In a February 2024 interview on CBC, Majid said that “Anti Palestinian racism is racism that targets those…to suppress any challenge to Israel’s decades long apartheid and occupation of Palestinian land.”

In other words, according to Majid, anyone who challenges the absurd allegation that Israel is an apartheid state is consequently a racist.

In the fall of 2023, after Hamas’ unprovoked October 7 massacre in Israel, Majid signed a hateful open letter which could reasonably be regarded as a justification of Hamas terrorism. The letter rejected the notion that seeking to “contextualize” Hamas terrorism is problematic, effectively making the argument that Hamas’ murders, rapes, tortures and kidnappings were somehow justifiable, or at the very least, expected.

Unmasking the true face of CALA, and the attempt to silence criticism of Palestinian terrorism under the guise of combatting racism, is crucial to ensure that students at the University of Manitoba understand what is being proposed on their campus.

Tragically, The Manitoban’s uncritical coverage of the motion failed to provide any of this essential information.

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