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

  • Thanks but no: Queen turns down 'Oldie of the Year' title

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- Queen Elizabeth II is Britain and Commonwealth's longest-lived and longest-reigning monarch. But don't call her an oldie. The 95-year-old queen has politely declined the honor of being named "Oldie of the Year" by a British magazine, saying she does not meet "the relevant criteria. Source
  • Anatomy of a kidnapping: Haitian woman recounts abduction

    World News CTV News
    SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO -- When Doris Michel steps outside her home in Haiti, she packs her bulletproof vest and tries to use a bulletproof car. Ever since her father was kidnapped last month in the capital of Port-au-Prince, the 34-year-old Haitian-American woman won't take any chances. Source
  • Jury selection resumes slowly in Ahmaud Arbery slaying trial

    World News CTV News
    BRUNSWICK, GA. -- Attorneys resumed questioning potential jurors Tuesday in the trial of three white men charged with chasing and killing Ahmaud Arbery, with several jury pool members saying they know the defendants or other people close to the case. Source
  • Taliban agree to new polio vaccination across Afghanistan

    World News CTV News
    ISTANBUL, TURKEY -- U.N. agencies are gearing up to vaccinate all of Afghanistan's children under 5 against polio for the first time since 2018, after the Taliban agreed to the campaign, the World Health Organization says. Source
  • One injury reported after plane crash in Waller County, Texas

    World News CTV News
    A plane carrying 22 people crashed while taking off at Houston Executive Airport on Tuesday morning, officials said. All passengers and crew were safely removed with one minor injury, Waller County Judge Trey Duhon reported via Facebook. Source
  • Israel gives legal status to 4K in gesture to Palestinians

    World News CTV News
    JERUSALEM -- Israel said Tuesday it would grant legal residency to 4,000 Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, a gesture to the Palestinian Authority that will allow people who have lived under severe restrictions for years to get official IDs. Source
  • Parents anxious as dispute between optometrists, Ontario government drags on

    Canada News CBC News
    As a dispute between optometrists and the Ontario government drags on, parents of children whose eyesight is deteriorating are getting worried. Since watching her son Jack, 15, play indoor soccer this fall, Jo-Anne Bishop of London, Ont., is convinced he's having trouble with his depth perception. Source
  • Alex Murdaugh is denied bond on US$3M theft charges

    World News CTV News
    COLUMBIA, S.C. -- A judge in South Carolina denied bond Tuesday for attorney Alex Murdaugh on the second set of charges he has faced since finding his wife and son dead last June. Circuit Judge Clifton Newman issued the decision after hearing attorneys describe how Murdaugh used portions of US$3.4 million in insurance payments to pay off his father, personal credit card bills and checks to himself. Source
  • Ontario Premier Doug Ford refuses to apologize for comments about immigration

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Ontario Premier Doug Ford refused to apologize for comments he made about immigrants coming to the province “to collect the dole,” instead saying that he is “pro immigration.” Speaking to reporters in Tecumseh, Ont. Source
  • 10,000 children killed or maimed during Yemen's long war: UN

    World News CTV News
    GENEVA -- More than 10,000 children in Yemen have been killed or injured in violence linked to years of war in the impoverished country, a spokesman for UNICEF said Tuesday. The verified tally from the United Nations' reporting and monitoring operation provides what is surely an undercount of the real toll because many more child deaths and injuries go unrecorded, UNICEF spokesman James Elder told reporters. Source