Incident Reports

In the early 2020s, the Arab Canadian Lawyers Association (ACLA) invited Palestine solidarity activists and movements across Canada to be involved in consultations on how anti-Palestinian racism (APR) manifests itself.  Ultimately, these invitations and consultations were widely embraced by the Palestine solidarity community, and the resulting discussions highly fruitful.  “There is broad agreement among those consulted,” concluded the ACLA, “for the need to name anti-Palestinian racism as a distinct form of oppression faced by Palestinians and those advocating for Palestinian rights.”[1] By April 2022, the ACLA had developed and published a solid and defensible description of anti-Palestinian racism.

The ACLA’s description of APR reads in full:

“Anti-Palestinian racism is a form of anti-Arab racism that silences, excludes, erases, stereotypes, defames or dehumanizes Palestinians or their narratives. Anti-Palestinian racism takes various forms including: denying the Nakba and justifying violence against Palestinians; failing to acknowledge Palestinians as an Indigenous people with a collective identity, belonging and rights in relation to occupied and historic Palestine; erasing the human rights and equal dignity and worth of Palestinians; excluding or pressuring others to exclude Palestinian perspectives, Palestinians and their allies; defaming Palestinians and their allies with slander such as being inherently antisemitic, a terrorist threat/sympathizer or opposed to democratic values..”[2]

Nevertheless, the onus now falls on Canadian civil society 1) to capture incidents of APR, and then 2) to pressure institutions to reject APR in all its forms. This page of incidents of APR in Canada is an attempt to tackle the first challenge. The second challenge must be addressed by painstakingly working with government institutions, corporations and civil institutions to incorporate APR into their equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) frameworks. The APR incident reports published below represent the ARPCF’s contribution to this effort.

“Arab Face” incident at Wilfrid Laurier University

View this report in PDF format. In early March, 2024 a member of the Hillel Waterloo Laurier student group donned a costume that exaggerated Arab features and sparked controversy. This outfit, worn by a student during a Purim event for the Hillel group, included a Palestinian keffiyeh styled to mimic an Arabic headdress, and a type of robe with stuffing to suggest a large belly.  The student also appeared to hold either 1) what seemed to be a dagger, or 2) what appeared to be a trigger for a suicide bomb.  In either case, this costume invoked deeply ingrained and offensive Orientalist stereotypes. After protests, and after first refusing, the Hillel group eventually removed the image from its Instagram account.  The University said it would look into whether this incident violated the student code of conduct. Continue reading


ONDP expels member for referring to “Zionist Lobby”

View report in pdf format. On November 26, 2022, Henry Evans-Tenbrinke attended an Ontario NDP provincial council meeting which included a discussion about the party’s disciplinary action against MPP Joel Harden earlier that year.  Earlier that month, Harden had been forced to apologize after criticizing Israel for human rights violations, and was accused of being antisemitic by pro-Israel groups[i].  During the discussion at the NDP council Evans-Tenbrinke, a longtime activist with the ONDP, commented on the party's disciplinary action against Harden. Evans-Tenbrinke suggested that the party had caved to the "Zionist lobby," leading an unnamed participant to lodge a complaint against him for using what was claimed to be an antisemitic term. Continue reading


Suspension of nursing student Arij Al Khafagi

View this report in pdf format. On Monday, Nov. 21, 2023, Arij Al Khafagi, a fourth-year nursing student at the University of Manitoba was suspended due to social media posts she made expressing opposition to Israel’s violence against the Palestinians in Gaza. In addition to her suspension, Al Khafagi received a five-year reprimand on her academic transcript, despite being an exemplary student, and president of the Nursing Students’ Association. Continue reading


Suspension of Medical Resident Yipeng Ge from U. of Ottawa

View this report in PDF format.  In November 2023, Dr. Yipeng Ge was suspended[i] from his medical residency at the University of Ottawa for pro-Palestinian social media remarks critical of Israel, which a colleague unilaterally deemed antisemitic. This episode occurred in the context of an academic institution, exposing the difficulty of expressing support for Palestine in professional and academic settings. According to the University of Ottawa (UofO), Ge was suspended after the administration received complaints regarding a suspected breach of professional norms by a medical resident. Continue reading


Indigenous Artist’s Forced Resignation from AGO

View this report in pdf format. Wanda Nanibush left the Art Gallery of Ontario AGO in what was described as a mutual decision. However, insiders indicates that her resignation came against the backdrop of her long-standing public support for Palestinian rights, which had become a point of contention within the gallery and its wider community. This tension was exacerbated by the Israel’s violent response to Hamas’ Oct. 7, 2023 attack on Israel.   Nanibush's prior advocacy had included drawing parallels between the experiences of Indigenous peoples in Canada and Palestinians, particularly in a 2016 feature for Canadian Art magazine[1]. Stephan Jost, AGO’s CEO, acknowledged Nanibush's honesty and her role in elevating Indigenous art and artists at the museum, despite these causing "difficult conversations."[2] Continue reading


Suspension of PDSB Principal Rich Ward

View this report in pdf format. On Nov. 13, 2023, Peel District School Board officials suspended Rich Ward, principal of Tribune Drive Public School, to pursue an investigation into a social media post he had made on Nov. 12.[i]  Ward’s Twitter post quote-tweeted a CP24 news article entitled, “Unprecedented: Antisemitism has skyrocketed in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war.”  Ward’s tweet stated, “Your headline rewritten for accuracy: Anti-Zionism has skyrocketed in the wake of the Israeli-led genocide in Palestine.” Continue reading


Suspension of TDSB educator Javier Dávila

View report in pdf format. On November 13, 2023, Javier Dávila, a Student Equity Adviser for the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), was suspended by the board and placed under investigation after publicly criticizing pro-Israel group the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) on social media for spreading misinformation about students from Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute.[i] CIJA had falsely accused the students of making antisemitic remarks during a rally, alleging that one student shouted "Judah, Judah, you can't hide," which they portrayed as a highly antisemitic term directed at Jews.[ii] Javier Dávila defended the students by challenging the accuracy of CIJA’s accusations, pointing out that the students were actually chanting "Trudeau, Trudeau, you can't hide,"[iii] addressing Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and criticizing his response to Israel’s actions in Gaza, and not making any remarks directed at Jewish individuals or expressing antisemitic sentiments. Continue reading


Arrest of Calgary protest organizer Wesam Khaled

View this report in pdf format. On Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023, following a large and successful protest against spiraling Israeli violence against Palestinian civilians in Gaza, Palestinian-Canadian protest organiser Wesam Khaled was arrested by the Calgary Police Service (CPS.)[1]  Charged with "disturbing the peace," the police told Khaled that the charge was related to his use of the chant "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” which the police decided to treat as an “offensive anti-semitic comment.”  Khaled was released on the condition that he not attend any protests until his court date. Continue reading


Removal of Muslim chaplain Aarij Anwer

View this report in pdf format. On October 26, 2023, Western University announced that Muslim chaplain Aarij Anwer, who worked on a volunteer basis would be removed from his position due to a comment he made on X. Anwer’s tweet was a response to former senator Linda Frum who criticized a Toronto vigil for Palestinians who died in Gaza, characterizing it as “an orgy of celebration for the beheading of babies and the rape and execution of little girls.”[1] Anwer’s tweet read, “Stop spreading lies of beheading babies or rape of little girls. It’s been debunked. No one is celebrating the murder of Israeli babies. Palestinians are mourning the death of their babies. It’s incredible how Israel sympathizers simultaneously are the oppressor and the victim.”[2] Continue reading


CTV’s Firing Palestinian journalist Yara Jamal

View this report in PDF format. On October 2023, Yara Jamal, a Palestinian-Canadian journalist working for CTV News, was fired for statements she made while expressing her public support for Palestine. Jamal, a cofounder of @freepalestinehalifax, an Instagram account dedicated to Palestinian human rights, had recently organized a rally in opposition to Israel’s bombing of Gaza. During the protest she was interviewed and asked whether Jewish people “could exist in a free Palestine.” Jamal answered: “Yes, Jews can exist, the Zionist ideology cannot.”[1] [2] In a video released after her firing, Jamal clarified her intent saying, “Logically, a free Palestine cannot exist with an occupation or with a state that was labelled an apartheid state by human rights organizations.”  Her statement was not based in animus against Jews, nor was she calling for any form of mass violence against Israelis[3].   Continue reading


[1] Arab Canadian Lawyers Association, Anti-Palestinian Racism: Naming, Framing and Manifestations, 8.

[2] Arab Canadian Lawyers Association, Anti-Palestinian Racism: Naming, Framing and Manifestations,  14.