Pink Floyd frontman weighs into 'Palestinian Roots' controversy at York University

Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters has taken sides in a controversy at York University in Toronto, where businessman Paul Bronfman has demanded the removal of a painting that shows a Palestinian holding stones as he faces a bulldozer.

See Full Article

Waters addressed his letter to Bronfman, who pulled financial support from the university over the artwork, which he called “pure hate.”

Waters wrote that Bronfman is wrong to “use his economic muscle” to try and force removal of “Palestinian Roots,” which is displayed in the York University Student Centre, a building on campus that houses the York Federation of Students.

Waters writes that the Palestinian depicted in the artwork “has a legal and moral right, under the terms of article 4 of the Geneva conventions to resist the occupation of his homeland,” adding that protesting Israel’s policy is not anti-Semitic, and is in fact “a moral duty.”

“Happily York University students and faculty members seem to recognize that protest is ok, and that freedom of speech is a fundamental right and not for sale to the likes of you,” Waters writes.

Avi Benolo, director of the non-profit Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Toronto, has called the painting “a call to murder” and said “the Jewish community will continue to call for inclusion and for freedom from victimization, marginalization and antisemitism.”

York University President Mamdouh Shoukri issued a statement after Bronfman’s comments stating “it is clear that the subject of the artwork is offensive to some individuals and groups, particularly Jewish members of our community.”

“The Student Centre ... is a separate and distinct legal entity from the University,” Shoukri went on. “We sincerely hope that they will address the concerns which have been expressed.”

Shoukri described three actions that York will take to support the university’s commitment to “ensuring all students feel comfortable and safe on campus,” including an advisory committee on inclusion and a policy review.

Shoukri reiterated that “we will hold firm to our position that the university does not support academic boycotts,” apparently a reference a boycott of Israeli academics that is supported by the York Federation of Students.

Artist Ahmad Al Abid described Palestinian Roots in a statement on the York Federation of Students website as depicting the relationship “between the defenseless, the antagonist and the ‘other.’”

The man is “fluttered with conflicting emotions, implications and potential consequences of action,” Al Abid’s statement goes on. “With each of these factors pulling him towards a different route of discourse, we find him calculating his next move.”


Latest Canada & World News

  • Complaint filed by common-law wife of Mexico's 'El Chapo'

    World News Toronto Sun
    THE ASSOCIATED PRESS First posted: Tuesday, October 25, 2016 02:05 PM EDT | Updated: Tuesday, October 25, 2016 02:10 PM EDT Source
  • Hispanic woman claims co-workers used Trump images to harass

    World News Toronto Sun
    IOWA CITY, Iowa — A Hispanic woman says her white co-workers at an Iowa claims office used images of Donald Trump to racially harass her for months after they learned she was angered by his description of Mexican immigrants as rapists, according to a civil rights lawsuit she filed against her company. Source
  • Principal reportedly punched out for asking student to remove headphones

    World News Toronto Sun
    A New York City principal was beaten bloody by one of his students Monday after the teen reportedly was told to take off his headphones. Police told the New York Daily News that Matthew Tossman, who heads a Manhattan high school specializing in advertising prep courses, asked Luis Penzo, 18, to turn the music down on his headphones. Source
  • La. mom hosted teen sex parties

    World News Toronto Sun
    A Louisiana mother of five has been tossed in jail for a year after she was convicted of hosting -- and participating in -- booze and dope-fuelled teen sex parties. Brunette Rachel Carrier, 35, was even a frequent flier in the hormone-charged hijinks regularly pairing off with a 15-year-old boy. Source
  • Beaver beaten to death by chair in Saskatchewan

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    WOLSELEY, Sask. — Some people in a small Saskatchewan community say they are disgusted and disappointed after a beaver was beaten to death with a chair. Residents say surveillance video from a bakery in Wolesley showed four men leaving a bar on Friday and going after the rodent. Source
  • FBI: Man wearing cat ’mugshot’ shirt robs Oklahoma bank

    World News Toronto Sun
    NORMAN, OKLA. - The FBI is searching for a man who they say robbed an Oklahoma bank while wearing a T-shirt depicting a cat posing for a mugshot. The FBI says the robbery happened Monday afternoon at a BancFirst bank in Norman, about 20 miles south of Oklahoma City. Source
  • 35 animals die, 250 rescued after L.A. pet shop fire

    World News Toronto Sun
    LOS ANGELES — Authorities say nearly 3 dozen animals were killed when flames ripped through a Los Angeles pet shop. Fire Inspector Joey Marron says the blaze was reported around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday in the Lennox area. Source
  • Okla. woman who pushed husband to his death dies in prison

    World News Toronto Sun
    MCLOUD, Okla. — A 25-year-old woman convicted of second-degree murder for pushing her husband to his death from the 25th floor of their apartment has died in an Oklahoma prison, corrections officials said Tuesday. Amber Hilberling was pronounced dead at 5:33 p.m. Source
  • Prince Harry 'grateful' for chance to return to Caribbean

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- Prince Harry will return next month to Barbados, where he previously charmed locals with his dance moves. On his last official visit to the island, in 2010, the prince was keen to embrace local culture and attempted the Calypso at a fundraising event. Source
  • Ill crew forces British Airways flight to land in Vancouver

    World News Toronto Sun
    VANCOUVER — British Airways says a plane travelling from San Francisco to London diverted to Vancouver after members of the crew reported feeling ill. The airline said 22 crew members and about two passengers were taken to hospital for medical checks as a precaution. Source