Vancouver, B.C. – February 5, 2024 – Today, B.C. Premier David Eby announced that MLA Selina Robinson would be stepping down as the provincial Minister for Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills. Robinson subsequently announced that she would not be running again as MLA for Coquitlam-Maillardville.
In response, Nico Slobinsky, Vice President - Pacific Region, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said:
“The removal of MLA Robinson, who apologized for her comments and promised to do better, sends a chilling message that Jewish leaders are held to a different standard than non-Jewish ones.
“In the past, when BC NDP politicians and staff have made antisemitic comments, the Jewish community has been asked to accept their apologies and – on every occasion – we have. As a show of goodwill, we never publicly demanded their resignations and, instead, placed our trust and faith in the Premier and the B.C. government when he said that his team would learn from the incidents and not repeat their egregious errors.
“When, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day – a day to commemorate the six million Jews slaughtered in the Second World War – one of Premier Eby’s staff tweeted that "we stand with the Muslim community," we were asked to accept that stunning gaffe as a mistake. And we did.
“We were also asked to work with a Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives who made remarks that were deeply hurtful to our community. And, despite her repeated offensive actions, she continues to remain in her role.
“Today, as the Jewish community in B.C. is confronted by an alarming increase in antisemitism and by frequent pro-Hamas protests calling for the Jews of Israel to be eradicated, the loss of MLA Robinson is especially distressing as we no longer have our strongest advocate – who understands the challenges and sensitivities of the Jewish community – at the table.
“The community is both offended and hurt by what has happened to a great ally and British Columbian, and it has seriously undermined the confidence of the Jewish community in the Government of British Columbia. Given this obvious double standard and loss of Jewish representation in cabinet, Premier David Eby must share what steps he is going to take to repair the relationship and restore the community’s trust in him and his government.”
Ezra Shanken, CEO, Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, added:
“Facing an unprecedented increase in hate, the Jewish community in B.C. is hurting. The level of online vitriol aimed at Selina Robinson leading up to her resignation – which mirrors the reality faced by much of the Jewish community since the October 7 terrorist attacks committed by Hamas – shows worrying trends in our public discourse. We are saddened to have lost one of the strongest advocates fighting against antisemitism from within cabinet – especially at a time when it is needed most.
“It is shameful that Premier David Eby has bowed to pressure from a loud minority whose campaign to discredit MLA Robinson was centred in anti-Jewish bias and lacked the offer of grace they demand when others falter.
“We need stronger leadership from this government to bring our communities together—not divide us.”
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GWGrahame Ware commented 2024-02-06 16:26:41 -0500Please Mr. Slobinsky don’t make the spurious conflation that, namely, being against the Zionist policies of Netanyahu (courtesy of Jabotinsky) equates to being anti-Semitic in general. That would be a spurious flaw in any argument that seeks empathy for Jews. I know many people— as do you I’m sure— that see the militaristic policies of the Likud as toxic. PM Sharon wanted peace and that prospect was too much for right wing elements of Israeli society. They assassinated him.
Israel’s political culture is under the microscope as never before these days and the usual narratives that are cleverly and suavely trotted out just won’t do. In a word, Israeli Jews are going to have to ‘get real’ and own their toxic history in this mess before anything positive will happen. It is complete transference on your part to invoke the “double standards of behaviour” model. Israeli Jews have been the ones benefitting from the double standard as the “victims”. As for Selina Robinson, she is collateral damage from what the world now sees as brutalist policies by successive Likud governments.
The honeymoon is over with the US giving you a long leash as their pit bull in the Middle East and not even joining the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. This will be the next thing that you’ll have to owe up to as Israelis begin to hear other, more mature voices in your culture.