APRCF Calls for Reconsideration of Whitehorse City Council's Decision Against Palestine Solidarity Motion

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2024-06-06_whitehorseMontreal, Jun 06, 2024— The Anti-Racism Program of the CJPME Foundation (APRCF) expresses profound concern regarding the recent decision by the Whitehorse City Council to block a motion supporting Palestine. This decision, justified by Mayor Laura Cabott's claim that the motion is "divisive" and not in the community's best interest, clearly manifests anti-Palestinian racism. This form of racism systematically excludes Palestinian voices and their rights to sympathy and solidarity through the use of vague political language and administrative excuses, reducing their existence to what Giorgio Agamben describes as "bare life," where their basic human rights are continuously negotiable and denied.

"By dismissing the motion as divisive, the Mayor not only silences an entire community's plight but also perpetuates a narrative where Palestinian suffering is marginalized," stated Jamila Ewais, a spokesperson for the APRCF. "This action starkly contrasts with global calls for the cessation of hostilities and the recognition of Palestinian rights, aligning instead with a troubling pattern of racial gaslighting that seeks to invalidate the legitimate claims and ongoing suffering of the Palestinian people."

On May 21st, Councillor Michelle Friesen presented a motion to the Whitehorse City Council expressing solidarity with Palestinians and calling for a permanent ceasefire. However, the motion was quickly blocked by Councillor Kirk Cameron, who argued it was outside the council's jurisdiction, a position that was upheld by Mayor Laura Cabott on May 28, describing the motion as divisive and against the community's best interest. This decision sparked significant community backlash, with dozens of speakers advocating for reconsideration of the motion during a meeting that lasted nearly three hours. Despite the public outcry, the motion was not reintroduced, leading to frustration among community members who felt their concerns were not adequately addressed by their representatives.

The APRCF argues that the rejection of this motion under the guise of maintaining community harmony sets a dangerous precedent. It effectively erases the complex histories and ongoing struggles faced by Palestinians, suggesting that concern for their lives and culture is inherently controversial and too complex for public or civic support. This discriminatory stance fosters an environment where anti-Palestinian sentiments can flourish unchecked, equating the call for Palestinian solidarity with a disruption to social peace. It also reflects double standards within the city council, which has mobilized all of its resources to overcome political constraints in order to issue campaigns in solidarity with the Ukrainian people against the Russian invasion, yet claims that the motion for Palestine is beyond the scope of the council’s policies and powers.

The APRCF urges the Whitehorse City Council to reconsider its position and recognize the importance of inclusive dialogue that acknowledges and addresses the grievances and rights of all communities, including Palestinians. It is essential for civic leaders to embody principles of equity and justice, rather than selectively applying them based on biased perceptions of what constitutes the community's best interests.

About the ARPCF – The mandate of the Anti-Racism Program of the CJPME Foundation (ARPCF) is to create public awareness about racism in Canada.  This mandate falls in line with the Foundation’s broader purpose of monitoring and combating manifestations of racism, xenophobia, and discrimination by increasing public awareness of such biases.

For more information, please contact Jamila Ewais, 514-389-8668
ARPCF, [email protected]  www.cjpmefoundation.org

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  • Jamila Ewais
    published this page in Statements 2024-06-06 14:50:05 -0400