HRC’s latest Huffington Post Canada commentary published on May 3 says “While Leila Khaled is a convicted terrorist and an unrepentant one to boot, Omar Shaban, Director of SPHR at UBC, is her apologist and both should be described as such by Canada’s media and condemned for their repugnant views and efforts which run counter to Canadian values.”
Read our full op-ed entitled: “UBC Student Group Acts as Apologists For a Convicted Palestinian Terrorist” appended below:
The University of British Columbia (UBC) is under criticism by Jewish advocacy group B’nai Brith Canada for “abdicating its responsibility to stop convicted terrorist Leila Khaled from having the opportunity to poison the minds of Canadian students.”
A B’nai Brith statement noted that “Khaled is scheduled to speak via Skype at a conference hosted by a Pro-Palestinian university student group and sponsored by a university Alma Mater Society on the 4th of May. She has been convicted of terrorism for carrying out hijackings for the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a listed terrorist organization.”
The anti-Israel group that organized this event, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) had its UBC chapter director, Omar Shaban, explain his organization’s logic in having Khaled speak to UBC students in an April 30 radio interview (listen here and here) on CKNW 980’s “The World Today” program with Jon McComb. According to Shaban, what Khaled did “was not an act of terrorism, she was communicating a message to the entire world… her strategy, (which) people may or may not agree with… (but) she was compelled to this desperate action.”
In excusing Khaled’s terrorism, Shaban claimed the hijacking was “peaceful” and that “it was a mere inconvenience to the passengers” who were held hostage. After all, Shaban decried “nobody was harmed” by this “freedom fighter” who was just trying to “send a message” about the “unjust dispossession” of Palestinians by Israelis who effectively forced her hand in hijacking the plane.
Khaled the terrorist? Not for Shaban, she’s a “smart intellectual,” a “socialist” and an “atheist.” Her root cause? The fact that the Jewish state came into existence in 1948.
Israeli media outlet Arutz Sheva confirms that Khaled led the terrorist cell that hijacked a TWA flight from Los Angeles to Damascus on August 29, 1969 where two Israeli passengers were held hostage for 44 days by the terrorists. Khaled also participated in one of four simultaneous hijackings carried out by the PFLP on September 6, 1970.
While the CKNW radio host regrettably referred to the morally bankrupt aphorism of “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter,” you could almost hear his utter contempt for Shaban’s odious statements in the tone of his voice.
That an individual like Shaban, who heads an organization with direct access to impressionable UBC students, has unabashedly justified terror against innocent civilians should leave us all, especially us parents, incredibly worried about what this group advocates to students on UBC’s campus.
As B’nai Brith pointed out, home-grown Canadian terrorism is a major concern “Given recent events such as the arrest of two individuals in connection to a plot to bomb a Via-Rail train, the horrific Boston Marathon attacks and the continuing investigation into the radicalization of youths from London, it is the responsibility of the university, as well as every Canadian, to speak out when it comes to security and safety.”
In the aftermath of the horrific Boston marathon bombings, mainstream media outlets had no problem labelling the Tzarnev brothers as terrorists and were right in doing so. Sadly, when it comes to media coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict, our media applies a double standard by whitewashing terror against Israelis using broad political terms like the myopic “militant” and in failing to describe individuals like Salam Al-Zaghal, a Palestinian who in recent days stabbed Israeli father of five Evyatar Borovsky to death, as a “terrorist”.
As U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once said, “sunlight is the best disinfectant”. While Leila Khaled is a convicted terrorist and an unrepentant one to boot, Omar Shaban is her apologist and both should be described as such by Canada’s media and condemned for their repugnant views and efforts which run counter to Canadian values.