“Essential” gut-ripping read by Canadian law prof Joshua Sealy-Harrington. TMU’s Lincoln Alexander School of Law abusing and punishing students for courageously publicly voicing opposition to Israel’s genocide is pathetic and shameful. Academia, courts, lawyers, media (Toronto Star, National Post etc.) helping Bibi Netanyahu destroy our right to freedom of expression globally must be called out and stopped.

Rosel Kim@jroselkim:

Thank you @JoshuaSealy for your principled stance.

Zachary Al-Khatib@ZaKhatib Feb 26, 2024:

It is unfortunate that well-respected, highly accomplished law professor @JoshuaSealy could not get @TorontoStar to publish an op-ed or even a letter response.

Kudos to him for not giving up on his students, important causes, and speaking up despite the obstacles & opposition.

Asad Kiyani@AsadKiyani:

A typically granular yet clear analysis from Josh, this time debunking the myths around the @LincAlexLawTMU student petition and calling on all of us to be a little braver.

Britt Caron@briketysplit:


much respect to @JoshuaSealy who has spoken clearly and stood by his students from the beginning

Darcy Lindberg@Darcy13Lindberg:

tapwewin, truth.


Speaking truth to power in no uncertain terms.

Jacqui Gingras @GingrasRochelle:

@JoshuaSealy offers a pointed and impassioned description how we managed to things so terribly wrong .@TorontoMet

Thank you for offering a just path forward.

How anti-Palestinian racism led to a ‘crisis’ at TMU’s law school

How anti-Palestinian racism led to a ‘crisis’ at TMU’s law school, Some recent media coverage of a petition in solidarity with Palestine portrayed student support as ‘pro-terror’ by Joshua Sealy-Harrington, February 26, 2024, Richochet Media

Excellent photos at link

On October 20, 2023 — when Israel had already killed over 4,000 Palestinians in Gaza — one sixth of the law students at TMU’s Lincoln Alexander School of Law sent the Dean a petition expressing “solidarity with Palestine,” while also describing Hamas’ attacks on Israel as “war crimes.”

Then, on January 13, 2024 — with over 23,000 Palestinians killed — the Toronto Star reported on the “crisis” that the petition supposedly created (meanwhile, conservative media ran endless op-eds misrepresenting the students’ views, even claiming this group of mostly women students “endorsed rape”).

TMU was not “turned” into a “battleground,” as the Star reports. Rather, the students were responding to already established anti-Palestinian bias at the law school.

First, the Star fails to adequately scrutinize outlandish interpretations projected onto the petition. The backlash against the students — which has included death threats, lost employment, potential expulsion, doxing, and harassment — is essentially predicated on the claim that their petition celebrates Hamas’ October 7 attack. This is false. The students call the attack a “war crime” (hardly an “endorsement”). Nor is the attack “justified” anywhere in their petition. Rather, it is explained, not excused, by Israel’s decades-long occupation and apartheid.

The students wrote that they “condemn any organization that only condemned Hamas’ recent war crimes killing 1,300 Israelis, but has been and/or remains silent on the historic and ongoing war crimes committed by Israel.”

They are not celebrating war crimes; they are critiquing western hypocrisy.

The students also wrote that they support “all forms of Palestinian resistance” — with armed resistance, I note, being an established right under international law. But supporting the different modes of resistance (diplomatic, economic, even armed) is not supporting any instance of resistance, let alone instances of violence that do not qualify as “resistance” in the first place. In the same way, one can like “all forms of art” (poetry, sculpture, even graffiti), but dislike specific artists or pieces.

Careful attention to the students’ actual words is vital, especially because a recognized form of anti-Palestinian racism specifically includes “defaming Palestinians and their allies with slander such as being inherently antisemitic [or] a terrorist threat/sympathizer.”

Indeed, this is the precise slander the students are confronting, and which rigorous reporting should have interrogated. The law school “unequivocally condemn[ed] the sentiments of Antisemitism” in the students’ supposed “promot[ion] [of] terrorism” (with “terrorism” itself, coded as anti-Palestinian).

Worse, one lawyer quoted in the National Post even hyperbolically called the students’ words an “act of terror — when, in reality, the students were merely critiquing western hypocrisy and affirming Palestinian liberation.

This backlash, then, reflects the uncharitable interpretation that pro-Palestinian advocacy relentlessly confronts, that pro-Israel groups actively lobby for, and that effective journalism must critique. Otherwise, media simply amplifies anti-Palestinian rhetoric, with dire consequences.

Labeling the students “terrorists” seriously threatens their physical safety, especially those who are visibly Muslim. And labeling pro-Palestinian expression “antisemitic” — and investigating that expression as misconduct — fundamentally compromises “the most basic idea of a university” (as academics at TMU and across Canada have observed).

Second, by adopting the framing of “a crisis,” the Star’s reporting assumes that before October 7 (in Palestine) — or before October 20 (at TMU) — there was peace concerning Palestine. This, too, is false.

Prior to October 7, “was one of the most violent years in Palestine in more than a decade.” And on October 20, TMU was not “turned” into a “battleground,” as the Star reports. Rather, the students were responding to already established anti-Palestinian bias at the law school. It is a faculty supposedly committed to equity and diversity, but with zero Arab scholars, a refugee scholar who, in her own words, is “brutally ignorant” about Palestine (“the world’s longest-standing protracted refugee crisis”), an Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies who “liked” a tweet posted by the Israeli Defence Forces dehumanizing Palestinians as “human shields,” and a senior administration, which “unequivocally condemn,” not four months of Israeli bombardment, but the only public statement from our academic community supporting Palestinian liberation.

Indeed, the petition directly responded to the Dean’s October 11 statement, which called, not even for a ceasefire, but “sustainable de-escalation,” and which named none of the settler-colonial context in Palestine — something other faculties have done with ease.

Third, the Star’s reporting itself reflects anti-Palestinian media bias: it describes “Hamas’s October 7 deadly incursion into Israel” (active voice) versus “mass displacement and death in Gaza” (passive voice). And it minimizes the carnage experienced by Palestinians, qualifying the death toll as only being “according to the Hamas-controlled health ministry,” despite the health ministry’s demonstrated record of accurate reporting.

Further, the Star’s reporting neutralizes the profound asymmetry of violence between a U.S.-backed nuclear power and a ghettoized population by referring to a “textbook case of genocideas “the fighting,” the “Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” and the “violence.”

The Star was specifically provided with this public statement during its investigation, yet chose to selectively exclude the statement from its reporting.

The petition is, of course, critical of Israel – surely, an understandable impulse given the “graveyard of children” and “medical apocalypse” Israel has recently created. The petition even calls Israel – but also Canada – a “settler colony,” a trite proposition in decolonial scholarship. Collapsing anti-Zionism with antisemitism, however, perpetuates racial injustice most importantly for Palestinians, but also by complicating the ability for everyone who opposes antisemitism — including the TMU students, myself, and anti-Zionist Jews — to actually identify and challenge antisemitism.

Anti-Palestinian bias is not limited to the Star’s reporting, here — it is, rather, pervasive in Canada. And this ubiquitous yet invisible bigotry, as other recent controversies demonstrate, is cultivated by lack of scrutiny and transparency. Only a lack of scrutiny can interpret the students’ petition as glorifying rape, just as only a lack of scrutiny can support the claim that pro-Palestine protesters recently “targetted” a Jewish hospital when they simply marched past it (this is, I note, a particularly egregious misrepresentation in the context of Israel’s systematic — and real — “war on hospitals” in Gaza).

And TMU’s investigation of its students lacks transparency, without any specificity concerning which passages of their petition were supposedly antisemitic, or any disclosure of what antisemitism definition is even being relied upon. In a similar vein, the Supreme Court of Canada recently lacked transparency — and indeed, gave contradictory explanations — about what “controversial” social media posts on Palestine supposedly warranted the last-minute disinvitation of Black experts from speaking at the Court about anti-Black racism.

Lack of scrutiny and transparency — or worse, slander and intimidation — must be tested by academics, journalists, and lawyers, not uncritically repeated. Otherwise, we simply become stenographers of imperialism, not seekers of truth, despite being uniquely positioned to hold powerful institutions to account.

The students spoke out on day 14 of Israel’s onslaught. It is now day 143, and the figures from Palestine are harrowing: more than 38,000 killed (including over 14,000 children); more than 71,000 injured; 2,000,000 displaced; children as young as five saying “they would prefer to die”; more than 10 children losing legs daily; 1,000 children undergoing amputations without anesthesia; 1,000,000 displaced women and girls, many making improvised menstrual products from cut up tents or enduring C-sections without anesthesia as babies are “delivered into hell; almost 2,000,000 Palestinians on the brink of starvation, many eating weeds to survive.

Will we really look back on this incalculable terror — in six months, in one year, in three years — and think that TMU students spoke out too forcefully against it? Will that really be what we prioritize? Or will we belatedly appreciate that these students were simply throwing whatever sand they could in the “gears of genocide” (an ethical commitment few courageous journalists have joined them in doing).

As Reverend Munther Isaac passionately orated in Bethlehem on December 23, two days before Israel’s Christmas Day raids:

Your charity and your words of shock after the genocide won’t make a difference … we will not accept your apology after the genocide … I want you to look in the mirror and ask: “Where was I when Gaza was going through a genocide?”

I am honoured to join these TMU students who, unlike their faculty, their administration, or much of their future profession, spoke out vocally against genocide when it involved the greatest personal cost, but also, when it mattered most to the struggle for racial justice.

Palestinian writer and poet Mohammed El-Kurd urges us to “be a little bit more brave, and a little bit more courageous… because when you put things into perspective, a smear campaign does not compare to air strikes.”

These students are alone at TMU law in answering El-Kurd’s call. And given TMU’s own marketing — a university seeking students with “grit” and a law school courting students with a “passion for social justice” — these students were, ironically, answering their own institution’s call, as well.

This was the marketing of the law school that condemned the students’ anti-genocide petition as antisemitic: grit, until genocide. This was the marketing of the university that is now investigating those students for potential expulsion: passion, until Palestine. This is, in other words, an institution crumbling under the weight of its unbearable contradictions.

What is most significant about this saga at TMU law, however, is not students bravely supporting Palestine — instead, it is how, despite Israel’s systematic attacks on Palestinian universities and journalists, both our academy and media have failed to perform their essential democratic function when it is needed most: during a genocide that Canada is providing diplomatic and military support to.

Finally, four months after the students’ prescient October 20 petition, Canada has caught up to the students’ supposedly antisemitic call for a ceasefire, and the world has caught up to the students’ supposedly antisemitic identification of (at least plausible) genocide.

I am devastated by what atrocities will almost certainly unfold in the coming days and weeks, leading into Ramadan no less. And I am furious at how western governments — aided by our newspapers, courts, universities, and prominent jurists Thanks for calling out Rosalie Abella.have directly facilitated those very atrocities. But I am inspired by the resilience of Palestinian resistance — the only material force mitigating against the annihilation and expulsion of the Palestinian people — and I am genuinely moved by the massive multi-racial and anti-colonial protests supporting Palestinian freedom that have spread across the globe.

While various institutions have doubled down in the face of unquestionable Israeli atrocities, much of civil society has seen through the shameless propaganda and understood, with moral clarity, the urgency of material activism for Palestine in this crucial inflection point of colonial injustice.

To those who have spoken out, often with significant personal cost: thank you. And to those who remain silent, sincerely consider Palestine’s recent statement before the International Court of Justice regarding the illegality of Israel’s decades-long occupation:

Silence is not an option. As the immortal Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish wrote, “in silence, we become accomplices.” But, he assured us, “when we speak, every word has the power to change the world.”

Israeli historian Ilan Pappé warns that “the end of a project like Zionism is one of the worst periods for the colonized people.” Indeed, projected deaths in Gaza over the next six months reach as high as 259,680. And, in the age of social media, we are all witnesses to this agonizing history, today.

Priyamvada Gopal, a postcolonial and critical race scholar, puts it aptly: “Whatever our future excuses, ‘We didn’t know’ cannot be one.” So please join us in calling, marching, and fighting for a free Palestine. We are strongest, together.

And as Yipeng Ge — another Canadian student facing similar reprisal for supporting Palestinian liberation — observes: “We are all freer when Palestine is free.”


Joshua Sealy-Harrington@JoshuaSealy Oct 27, 2024:

Remember this genocide.

Remember what individuals, organizations & governments prioritized. Remember how they misrepresented the past & present. Remember the chasm between their beliefs & actions. Remember who they vilified. Remember their cowardice.

Remember their complicity.

Refer also to:

2024 01 31: Dear Rosalie Abella, This post is for you.

I am part Jewish. My family was also persecuted in WW2. Few people living their lives escape human cruelty. That persecution does not give Bibi Netanyahu and Slaughterhouse Zionists the right to commit war crimes in Gaza and the West Bank against the very people that gave Jews a home after the war. Nothing does, not even Hamas.

Bibi publicly claims Hamas is an asset of Israel’s and he finances them. Given how easily it seems he conned you, his ploys using Hamas are working well. Or, perhaps you know Bibi uses Hamas and are ok with such horrid tactics?

I await your public retraction and apology for your dishonesty in your recent op ed in the Globe and Mail, and in your ruling in Ernst vs AER at the supreme court of Canada. You were the swing judge; you denigrated me and my case. You, a judge, made up shit to suit your ego and piss on my charter right to freedom of expression (which Bibi hates globally for obvious reasons) and it seems to protect frac’ers because the billions of dollars in oil and gas Bibi is stealing from Palestinians must be frac’d.

Did you piss on the law to punish me because for decades I publicly stated I support Palestinians’ right to be free in their homes and land and that I oppose Israel’s crimes?

2024: ‘Promised land’ with resources, Is Netanyahu secretly aiming for natural resources of Palestine’s Gaza?


1979: International terrorism, challenge and response: proceedings of the Jerusalem Conference on International Terrorism by Jerusalem Conference on International Terrorism (1979) Edited by Benjamin Netanyahu

Terrorism – the deliberate and systematic killing of civilians so as to inspire fear – was shown persuasively to be, beyond all nuance and quibble, a moral evil, infecting not only who commit such crimes, but those who, out of malice, ignorance or simple refusal to think, countenance them.”

Source of above quote: Professor Benzion Netanyahu (Bibi’s dad!), from his opening remarks at the 1979 conference proceedings, Edited by Benjamin Netanyahu.

Hey AER! You bullies judged me a terrorist in your official 2012 court filing by Calgary’s lying lawyer Glenn Solomon, without any evidence, trying to scare me silent about Encana’s and your crimes. You couldn’t even get the definition of terrorism right. I’ve never killed anyone and I don’t promote killing or condone it. AER, you owe me an apology, in writing, and you need to quash your false judgement, and write the courts, including the supreme court of Canada, admitting you and your lawyer lied about me.

1975: United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379

United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379, adopted on 10 November 1975 by a vote of 72 to 35 (with 32 abstentions), “determine[d] that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination”.

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