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A Joint Call for MLA Robinson To Resign


PCAAN, JFN & F4P Call for MLA Robinson’s Resignation

February 4, 2024

We write as concerned Canadian faculty organizations whose combined membership spans universities and colleges across the country. Among us are faculty with expertise in Palestine Studies, Middle East Studies, Israel Studies, Jewish Studies, Education, History, Geography, Settler Colonial and Islamic Studies. We stand together to call unequivocally for the removal of B.C. Minister for Post-Secondary Education, Selina Robinson. On January 30, 2024, Robinson made profoundly racist and colonial comments about Palestine and Palestinians in a meeting with B’nai Brith, captured here

These comments reflect the colonial logic, long exposed as false, that Palestine was “empty land” (terra nullius), and that European settlers brought “civilization” and “modernity”. That such overtly racist and ignorant comments should be legitimated by a Minister of Post-Secondary Education at a time when Palestinians are facing colonial genocide is unconscionable. Minister Robinson’s suggestion that Palestine was a “crappy piece of land with nothing on it” is not only offensive, it is also historically inaccurate.

Over one million Palestinians inhabited the land of Palestine prior to the 1948 Nakba (Arabic for catastrophe), which refers to the Zionist settler colonial conquest of Palestine during which between 750,000 and 900,000 Palestinians were expelled from their lands and homes, never allowed to return despite the enshrined legal right to do so. Historic Palestine had over 530 of its villages and cities destroyed and depopulated by Zionist militias during the Nakba. Palestine had a thriving economy, as well as a complex network of trade and commerce which contributed to the economic vibrancy in the region prior to 1948. Minister Robinson’s comments erase a colonized people’s history, perpetuating historically inaccurate and racist narratives intended to justify Israel’s colonial violence against the Palestinian people.

In such a volatile time on Canadian campuses, a minister of higher education has a fundamental duty to uphold equality and safety for all in our post-secondary community and to refrain from peddling in the same colonialist claims that have justified the colonization of Turtle Island. Minister Robinson’s statement is not just unacceptable and prejudicial: it reveals a worldview that is one-sided, ahistorical and false, and puts the community of Palestinian students, staff and faculty - and their allies - at risk.

The Arab Canadian Lawyers Association (ACLA) describes anti-Palestinian racism (APR) as “a form of anti-Arab racism that silences, excludes, erases, stereotypes, defames or dehumanizes Palestinians or their narratives.” APR includes defaming Palestinians and their allies with false stereotypes such as portraying them as inherently antisemitic, a terrorist threat/sympathizer or opposed to democratic values.

Minister Robinson has taken these racist views further, by undermining fundamental principles of academic freedom. Minister Robinson’s interference in employment matters at Langara College is in direct contravention of the University Act [RSBC 1996] Chapter 468. The Canadian Association of University Teachers has also called for the resignation of Minister Robinson following her interference at Langara College. We echo this call.