University of Manitoba Student Union to Voice ‘Solidarity With Palestinians’ After ‘Contentious’ Debate
On Tuesday, the University of Manitoba Student Union (UMSU) approved a motion to issue a “Statement of Solidarity with Palestinian Students,” following a months-long campaign by an informal group of several dozen students, according to the campus newspaper The Manitoban.
UMSU approved the idea after nearly four hours of what its president called a “contentious” debate, the report said, joining several other student unions at Canadian universities following the conflict between Israel and Hamas in May.
“We’ve come such a long way. The word Palestine is going to be uncensored,” junior Zahara Rizvi told The Manitoban in response to the news. “There is nobody to speak for [Palestinian students.]”
On September 7, the UMSU Board of Directors declined to approve a draft statement addressed to “all students affected by events in the Middle East” after some students analogized it to the “all lives matter” slogan.
“I often don’t like comparing all social movements with Black Lives Matter, but there are definitely parallels to what’s happening here,” said Black Students Union President Reem Elmahi. “We shouldn’t be lumping all Middle Eastern issues together.”
During the meeting, Rizvi told the UMSU Board of Directors that the alternative proposed would be “not inclusive” and “disrespectful to the work that the coalition of students has done so far and an injustice [not to] just Palestinian and impacted students but also to every Black, Indigenous, and student of color.”
Several Jewish and Israeli students backed a statement in solidarity with both sides of the conflict, the Manitoban reported, with one arguing, “We should be scared about the kind of precedent we set when we exclusively show support for one group over another when both are experiencing suffering from the same conflict.”
The University of Manitoba did not immediately respond to an Algemeiner request for comment.