January 30, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 67  

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NEWS

More flyer controversy

By Marshall Bellamy
Gazette Staff

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 to hate.

“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 said.

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.

 

 

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