A Royal Roads University professor isn’t convinced that B.C. minister Selina Robinson will be removed after calling pre-1948 Palestine “a crappy piece of land.”
Calls continue to mount for the B.C. minister of post-secondary education and future skills to resign after making insensitive remarks about Palestine during a panel discussion.
“They don’t understand that it was a crappy piece of land with nothing on it, ” said Robinson in a Jan. 30 online panel of Jewish public officials.
Robinson later publicly apologized for her statement on X, adding that her comment was regarding a lack of natural resources in the area.
The minister’s comment was part of an answer to a question, which included her saying that there is an “entire generation of young adults who don’t know about the Holocaust.”
“They don’t even understand that Israel was offered to the Jews who were misplaced, displaced. So they have no connection to how it started,” she said.
“They don’t understand that it was a crappy piece of land with nothing on it, there were, you know, several hundred thousand people, but other than that it didn’t produce an economy, it couldn’t grow things, it didn’t have anything on it, and that it was the folks who were displaced that came and the people who had been living there for generations, and together they worked hard and they had their own battles, right? We know the history.”
Several federal NDP members, including leader Jagmeet Singh, have weighed in on her comments with calls to reassess her position as minister.
On Instagram Saturday, Singh said that her comments were “offensive and irresponsible,” and that he has shared his concerns with B.C. Premier David Eby.
“She’s got some work to do,” said Eby during a press conference on Feb. 2.
Eby didn’t comment on whether he’d fire Robinson or if she would resign.
What happens next?
“It’s a political decision that is made by the premier and the cabinet,” said David Black, associate professor of communications and culture at Royal Roads University.
Black says there isn’t any legal recourse to have Robinson removed from her position and it would be a decision made within the party.
“Part of the political calculation that any premier is going to make at this time is whether firing a high profile Jewish cabinet minister – when these issues are on the foreground for all of us, no matter what our identity may be – whether that is the right course of action,” said Black.
He believes that removing the minister could set the tone of where the government stands on the Israel-Palestine conflict.
“It may well be seen as putting a marker down with respect to the debate around Israel and the Palestinians and the rightness and wrongness of what is happening before us now,” he said.
Recently, Robinson was also accused of intervening in the re-firing of an instructor at Langara College for praising the Hamas attack on Oct. 7.
The Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC accused Robinson of influencing the college to fire Dr. Natalie Knight after the college reinstated her. The college said that the instructor did not violate the law or college policies.
However, one day after Robinson tweeted her disappointment that she was reinstated, an employee was let go from the college. The school would not confirm that Knight was the one in question.
I am disappointed that this instructor continues to have a public post secondary platform to spew hatred and vitriol. I have met with @langaracollege leadership to express my concerns for the Langara and broader communities. They agreed that everyone deserves to feel safe. https://t.co/Q9kz4Z3Lck
— Selina Robinson (@selinarobinson) January 25, 2024