February 3, 2024
From International Socialists
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At an online presentation hosted by B’nai Brith Canadaon January 30, BCNDP Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills Selina Robinson laid bare the racism at the heart of her support for Israel.

Her comments were in response to a question from lawyer David Matas about the how to get better adaptation of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, particularly at universities.

Robin’s answer started with the claim that 18 to 34 year olds, “have no idea about the holocaust.” She continued, “They don’t even understand that Israel was offered to the Jews who were misplaced. . . . they don’t understand that it was a crappy piece of land with nothing on it. There were several hundred thousand people but other than that it didn’t produce an economy . . . it couldn’t grow things, it didn’t have anything on it”

Zionism = racism

The minister’s remarks show the colonialism, racism and lies at the heart of Zionism. Since its inception as a political movement in the 1800’s, the Zionist project looked to colonial powers to hand over someone else’s nation to them. In 1914 Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann, wrote: “Should Palestine fall within the British sphere of influence and should [they] encourage Jewish settlement … [we could] develop the country, bring back civilisation and form a very effective guard for the Suez Canal.”

As part of their spoils from the first world war the British Empire took control of Palestine. British Lord Balfour, in a confidential memorandum in 1919, wrote, “In Palestine we do not propose to even go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants … The Four Powers are committed to Zionism.”

British support for the creation of Israel combined with terrorist attacks by Zionist militias on Palestinian towns lead to the destruction of 400 towns and the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians, half of the population of around 1.5 million. Much more then Robinson’s “ several hundred thousand people.”

Abundant farms and fishery

Palestine had a vibrant economy before it was destroyed by Israel. As one example, the Jaffa orange was bred by Palestinian farmers in the 1800s. By the late 1930’s orange orchards in Palestine covered 300 square kilometres employed over 100,000 workers, and Palestine exported 15 million crates of oranges a year. The expulsion of Palestinians from Jaffa in 1948 lead to orchards being abandoned or controlled by the state.

Palestine had a diverse agricultural sector including oranges and other citrus fruits, tobacco, olives, melons and cotton. The fishing industry brought home nearly 3,000 tons of fish in 1944. The British established an oil refinery in Jaffa. Palestine was not “a crappy piece of land with nothing on it”.

Later in the B’nai Brith forum. she compares Israel’s occupation to a conflict over land between Indigenous nations, and asked, in that case “would we weigh in? . . . and the answer’s no . . . so why are we doing this here?” The hypocrisy is stunning. Robinson’s twitter feed is filled with her weighing in on the side of genocide in the war against Gaza. In 2020 her cabinet was faced with an Indigenous dispute over land. In this case between the Band Council and the traditional leadership of the Wet’suwet’en over who controlled the land that a fracked gas pipeline was to be built on. Both claimed control. Her cabinet “weighed in”by sending in the racist RCMParmed with machine guns and attack dogs to remove Indigenous land defenders from their land. And they continue to use the RCMP as enforcers in this dispute.

BCNDP cabinet supports the minister

Minister Robinson’s comments not only expose her as a liar and a racist, they also show us the true face of Zionism. These are the views of supporters of Israel when they talk to each other. It also shows us the true face of the BCNDP cabinet. Despite calls for Minster Robinson to resign over her comments, Premier Ebby accepted her comments and left her in her ministry.

He has also accepted her intervention on the campus of snəw̓eyəɬ leləm̓ – Langara college that lead to the firing of Palestine Solidarity activist Dr. Natalie Knight. The Langara Faculty Association, the Federation of Post-Secondary Educatorsand the Canadian Associaition of University Teachershave all called on Minister Robinson to resign for her actions.

As long as Israel can be relied on to represent the interests of Canada, the US, and their allies, our ruling class will support whatever Israel does. Now that includes supporting genocide. Thsi week has shown that university and college presidents, cabinet ministers, and the NDP will do their duty to our rulers no matter how blood soaked their own hands become.
 




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