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.”



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • 'I wish we had known': Peter MacKay defends record over transfer of child killers to healing lodges

    Canada News CBC News
    Two former top Tory cabinet ministers said Wednesday they simply didn't know so many child killers had been transferred to Indigenous healing lodges to serve out their sentences — even though some of those transfers happened on their watch while in government. Source
  • Montreal man alleges racial profiling at Hudson's Bay

    Canada News CTV News
    A black man says two security guards held him for nearly two hours at a Hudson’s Bay store in Montreal on suspicion that he was using a fake ID, and he’s accusing the store of racial profiling. Source
  • Aide who drew Melania Trump's ire is out of her job

    World News CBC News
    White House deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel was forced out of her job on Wednesday after U.S. President Donald Trump's wife, Melania, said Ricardel did not deserve the honour of working for her husband. Ricardel "will continue to support the president as she departs the White House to transition to a new role within the administration," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement. Source
  • Michael Avenatti, Trump critic and lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels, arrested

    World News CBC News
    Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for porn actress Stormy Daniels who skyrocketed to fame as a chief critic of U.S. President Donald Trump, was taken into police custody in Los Angeles on Wednesday following an allegation of domestic violence, officials said. Source
  • Trump aide departs West Wing after rebuke from first lady

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel is leaving the White House, one day after first lady Melania Trump's office issued an extraordinary statement calling for her dismissal. No replacement was named. Aides said Ricardel clashed with the first lady's staff over her visit to Africa last month. Source
  • Michael Avenatti in Los Angeles police custody: Official

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- A law enforcement official says Michael Avenatti is in police custody in Los Angeles following an allegation of domestic violence. The official says Avenatti was taken into custody Wednesday. Police had responded to a domestic violence incident a day earlier and took a report. Source
  • Stormy Daniels' laywer Michael Avenatti arrested on domestic violence charge

    World News CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Michael Avenatti, who skyrocketed to fame as a chief critic of U.S. President Donald Trump and the lawyer for porn actress Stormy Daniels, was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of domestic violence, Los Angeles police said. Source
  • Liberals appoint a new veterans 'ombudsperson'

    Canada News CBC News
    Canada has a new veterans ombudsman — or rather (to use the Liberal government's preferred title), a new veterans 'ombudsperson'. The appointment of Craig Dalton was announced late Wednesday by Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O'Regan, who thanked the outgoing ombudsman, Guy Parent, after his five-year term ended on Sunday. Source
  • Iqaluit grocery store to reopen this weekend following fire

    Canada News CTV News
    Iqaluit’s largest store is set to reopen less than 10 days after a fire destroyed their main warehouse. Sections of the Northmart in Iqaluit, one of just two grocery stores in the community, went up in flames on Nov. Source
  • 'Once in a lifetime' chance at Marie Antoinette's jewels has buyers laying down millions

    World News CBC News
    A large, drop-shaped natural pearl pendant sold for a hammer price of $42 million at an auction of jewelry that once belonged to French Queen Marie Antoinette, which Sotheby's is calling a record price for a pearl at auction. Source