Wilfred Laurier University Professor, In Column Appearing In Winnipeg Free Press & TheConversation.com, Seeks To Suppress Opposition To Pro-Palestinian Propaganda

One of the latest attempts to suppress opposition to pro-Palestinian propaganda is an effort to enshrine an “anti-Palestinian racism” strategy.

Among the latest proponents of this anti-democratic effort is Jasmin Zine, a professor of sociology at Wilfrid Laurier University, who in her May 21 column which was published in The Winnipeg Free Press and The Conversation, asserted that: “Anti-Palestinian racism needs to be included in Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy.”

Rather than promoting a sensible approach to combating any kind of prejudice, Zine conflated rejection of Palestinian political propaganda with racism, a message she has been promoting for many months.

Referring to the keffiyeh, the Arab headdress widely seen at anti-Israel hate rallies across the world, Zine wrote that banning the garment, as the Legislative Assembly of Ontario has done, is a result of making “racist associations of Arab and Palestinian culture” with what she calls “a symbol of Palestinian culture and heritage.”

For a sociology professor, Zine displayed remarkable ignorance about how an item’s meaning can morph. As Globe and Mail columnist Robyn Urback recently noted, “what was once just an article of clothing is now a clear symbol of Palestinian resistance, which is why political undergrads who are about as Arab as tuna casserole are suddenly wearing them to pick up their morning coffee.”

Instead of recognizing the keffiyeh as a potent political symbol of the pro-Palestinian movement, Zine brushed off all opposition to the garment as racist, a theme she repeated throughout her commentary.

Zine argued that “anti-Palestinian racism” can manifest as “denying the Nakba and justifying violence against Palestinians; exerting pressure to exclude Palestinian perspectives; and refusing to acknowledge Palestinians as Indigenous people with a collective national identity and connection to their land.”

The Nakba, an Arabic word for catastrophe, is a term used by anti-Israel activists to refer to Israel’s independence and re-birth, and sends the clear message that Israel’s existence is a tragedy worth reversing. But refusing to legitimize such a hateful expression, to Zine, is nothing more than racism.

As for her clever insertion of “justifying violence against Palestinians,” does that include Hamas, a genocidal Islamic terrorist group that launched the current war on October 7 with its mass murders, rape, torture and kidnappings across southern Israel? She slyly doesn’t say, but if so, her refusal to acknowledge Israel’s right – and solemn duty – to defend its people against Hamas is morally repulsive.

Zine doesn’t just promote arguments meant to suppress dissent in her column; she also spread blatant falsehoods, writing that “Israel’s war in Gaza, which the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has deemed plausibly genocide.”

This statement is utterly fictitious and it is shameful that she attempted to pass off this propaganda as truth. As Joan Donoghue, the recently-retired president of the ICJ, pointed out in a recent BBC News interview that the court made no such statement.

Instead, the “court did not decide, and this something where I’m correcting what’s often said by the media, that the claim of genocide was plausible.”

Zine’s column featured many other attempts to demonize rejection of Palestinian propaganda, including assertions that anti-Israel rallies are replete with hate speech are just “racist tropes,” and not a recognition that anti-Israel demonstrations are, in fact, widely characterized by violence, hate speech, harassment and intimidation.

Jasmin Zine’s column is just the latest salvo by anti-Israel activists, seeking to protect the anti-Israel movement’s disinformation from legitimate criticism, and should be thoroughly rejected in Canada, where freedom of expression is paramount.

For its part, TheConversation.com, a news outlet that receives Canadian government funding from the Canada Periodical Fund, the government of Quebec, and scores of Canadian universities, gave her a platform to spread false information and anti-Israel propaganda.

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