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Jewish community offended, hurt by Robinson’s removal from B.C. cabinet: advocate

VICTORIA — A national advocacy group says the Jewish community is offended and hurt by the exit of Selina Robinson from the B.C. cabinet over remarks that Israel was founded on “a crappy piece of land.”

Nico Slobinsky, Pacific vice-president of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, says Robinson’s removal undermines the Jewish community’s confidence in British Columbia’s government and signals that Jewish leaders are held to different standards than others.

Slobinsky says in a statement that the Jewish community has lost a strong advocate for the community at a time of increasing acts of antisemitism and anti-Israel protests.

Robinson, who is Jewish, announced her resignation as the minister for post-secondary education on Monday following a sustained outcry over last week’s comments that critics called racist and Islamophobic.

Premier David Eby said Robinson’s remarks were “belittling” and caused “harms” that were incompatible with her staying cabinet, but she would remain in the New Democrat caucus.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs says it’s a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve and protect Jewish life in Canada through advocacy and to advance the public policy interests of Canada’s organized Jewish community.

Robinson made the original remarks on Jan. 30 during a panel discussion with other Jewish politicians hosted by B’nai Brith Canada, in which she lamented a lack of knowledge by younger people about the foundation of modern Israel.

“They don’t understand it was a crappy piece of land with nothing on it. There were several hundred thousand people but other than that it didn’t produce an economy,” she said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 6, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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