Dozens of people showed up to protest outside a BC NDP caucus retreat in Surrey on Monday, demanding Post-Secondary Education Minister Selina Robinson be removed from her role, following her comments last week that Israel was founded on a “crappy piece of land.”
In her initial comments, made in an online panel discussion hosted by B’nai Brith Canada, Robinson also equated the generations-long battle between Jews and Palestinians to a fight between the Tsleil-Waututh and the Squamish First Nations over land.
She apologized in a social media post, saying her comments were “disrespectful,” and that she had been referring to the land having limited natural resources.
Despite that, more than a dozen mosques banned NDP MLAs and candidates from their properties.
BC Muslim associations react to Selina Robinson’s ‘crappy piece of land’ comments
The NDP cancelled a fundraiser in Surrey over the weekend, though it did not say whether it was due to the backlash over Robinson’s comments.
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Late Saturday, the BC Muslim Association released a statement directed to Premier David Eby, saying they are “deeply concerned about the comments regarding the region of Palestine. It is disheartening to witness such derogatory remarks.”
The organization asked that Robinson publicly recognize that she has engaged in a pattern of Islamophobia and anti-Palestine racism.
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Ahead of the protest on Monday morning, Robinson issued another statement, apologizing again and acknowledging that her recent comments have caused pain and distress within the Palestinian community, the Muslim community and beyond.
“During a time of crisis when many innocent people are being killed, including Palestinians and Jews with family in British Columbia, those in positions of power have a responsibility to bring people together. My comments, however, did the opposite and contributed to further division,” she said.
“I know that my comments have additionally caused pain, including among Indigenous communities, for perpetuating harmful narratives of colonialism. The experiences of First Nations people are not mine to manipulate. That was wrong and I am deeply sorry.”
She added that she will take part in anti-Islamophobia training.
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