More flyer controversy
By Marshall Bellamy
More anger and discontent has arisen over a flyer distributed
on campus this week by a Middle East group.
The flyer, approved by the University Students’ Council
and distributed by Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights,
featured an article from Adbusters magazine which compared
Palestinian militants to Warsaw Ghetto freedom fighters from
the World War II. Its comparison sparked an immediate response
from the Israel Action Committee.
“It draws a comparison between the Jewish state of Israel
and the Nazis — and does it in an irresponsible manner,” said
IAC media chair Matthew Fraser, adding criticism of Israel
is welcome but he is worried the flyer was promoting hatred.
“Adbusters is a magazine known for its controversial
writing, however it’s not a vehicle of hate,” explained
Randa B. Mouammar, campaigns manager for SPHR. “We selected
it in good faith.
“We aren’t trying to lineate it into a simple
comparison,” she said, adding a recent speaker sponsored
by the IAC compared the Palestinians to Nazis by teaching themselves
“We’re saying the Palestinians have a right to
self-determination; we aren’t smearing anyone,” Mouammar
stated. “The IAC is known for targeting Muslims, Adbusters
has no racial bias.”
“I think the USC is exhibiting a double standard or
a lack of clear policy,” Fraser said in regards to the
USC’s move to ban one of the IAC’s flyers because
it was deemed hateful, but not to ban SPHR’s flyer.
According to Fraser, the IAC flyer, which stated that 25 of
the world’s 28 conflicts involved Muslim forces, was
a statement of fact. In contrast, the SPHR flyer making the
comparison between Palestinian militants and Jewish freedom
fighters was based on interpretive comparison and not on clear-cut
facts, he said.
“They shouldn’t have allowed the flyer in the
first place,” he said, adding SPHR has distributed similar
flyers in the past. “In the name of debate we have not
complained about everything.”
“The USC utilizes its policies against all clubs equally
across the board,” said USC VP-campus issues Adrienne
Kennedy. “[SPHR’s flyer] was a political opinion
put out by one club and no aspect of it incited hatred — I
consulted with equity services and they confirmed it,” she
Kennedy noted the policy concerning flyers and other forms
of literature in the University Community Centre will be reviewed.
“Now that the policy has been put into practice it may
be reviewed for effectiveness,” she said, citing the
move comes after complaints were received by the USC concerning
much of the literature being distributed in the UCC.
“We want to ensure specific materials aren’t inciting
hate against any identifiable group,” Kennedy said, adding
the review will be finished by Reading Week.