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

  • Bangladesh confirms 1st death of Rohingya from coronavirus

    World News CTV News
    DHAKA, BANGLADESH -- Authorities in Bangladesh have confirmed the first death of a Rohingya refugee from the coronavirus, as infections rise in sprawling camps where more than 1 million Rohingya Muslims have been living since fleeing from neighbouring Myanmar. Source
  • Black and Asian people in England more likely to die from COVID-19, public health report says

    World News CBC News
    Black and Asian people in England are up to 50 per cent more likely to die after being infected with COVID-19, an official study said Tuesday, reinforcing previous reports that indicated ethnic minority groups were more at risk from the virus. Source
  • Biden to hit Trump as more focused on 'power than principle'

    World News CTV News
    PHILADELPHIA -- Joe Biden plans to blister U.S. President Donald Trump for directing authorities to drive back peaceful protesters outside the White House "in order to stage a photo op," saying Tuesday that the commander in chief "is more interested in power than in principle. Source
  • Austria to redesign Hitler's birthplace as police station

    World News CTV News
    VIENNA -- Austrian authorities have presented the winning plan to redesign the house where Adolf Hitler was born in 1889, turning it into a police station and trying to make it unattractive as a pilgrimage site for people who glorify the Nazi dictator. Source
  • What is Antifa?

    World News CTV News
    As protests over George Floyd's death spread across the country, officials have blamed the violent nature of some demonstrations on members of a controversial group known as Antifa. U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday said the United States would designate Antifa a terrorist organization, though the federal government has no legal authority to label a wholly domestic group the way it designates foreign terrorist organizations. Source
  • CRA snitch line now open to report fraudulent CERB claims

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Canadians can now report suspected fraudulent CERB recipients through the Canada Revenue Agency's official snitch line. The service's “Leads Program” updated its website this week to include the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) funds to its list of reportable cheating activities. Source
  • U of T valedictorian hopes to inspire future black doctors

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- A University of Toronto student is making history Tuesday as the first black woman to give the Faculty of Medicine’s valedictorian speech, and the first woman to do so in 14 years. Chika Oriuwa, the child of Nigerian immigrants, always knew she wanted to be a physician but didn’t have many examples to look up to. Source
  • Coronavirus: Here's what's happening around the world on Tuesday

    World News CBC News
    The latest:Africa's coronavirus cases have surpassed 150,000, Zimbabwe confirms first virus cases in prisons.WHO says cases rising in Russia and eastern Europe, Berlin health official criticizes club gathering.Health experts worry South America's reopening and U.S. protests could spread virus. Source
  • Young driver flips new car after allegedly going 221 km/hr: OPP

    Canada News CTV News
    KITCHENER -- Shortly after picking up his new car, a young driver was clocked travelling over 220 km/hr before rolling the vehicle and fleeing on foot, Ontario police say. Ontario Provincial Police say that officers first spotted the car going 221km/hr. Source
  • Several cadets brought back for graduation at West Point test positive for COVID-19

    World News CTV News
    About 15 cadets from the U.S. Military Academy Class of 2020 who were brought back for graduation where President Donald Trump is scheduled to give the commencement address have tested positive for coronavirus, according to a U.S. Source