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Anti-Racism Association joins Niagara Palestine Coalition

Decision made to recognize Palestine solidarity as 'anti-racism issue'

At its recent meeting members of the Niagara Region Anti-Racism Association (NRARA) voted unanimously to join the Niagara Palestine Coalition (NPC). This decision is to recognize Palestine solidarity is an anti-racism issue in light of Niagara Regional Council's double standards in calling support for a ceasefire or Palestinian refugees ”divisive” and outside the Region's mandate. A representative of NRARA will be attending their first NPC meeting Thursday, Feb. 8.

By joining the NPC, NRARA endorses the NPC's demands in their Jan. 28 statement for apologies from St. Catharines Mayor Mat Siscoe and Regional Councillor Laura Ip for silencing the voices of residents who wanted to speak to Council on Jan. 25. The NPC's further demands are for Councillor Laura Ip to step down as the Region's DEI Advisory Committee chair, and for Regional Council to apologize and light its headquarters in the colours of the Palestinian flag as it did for the Israeli flag on Oct. 11.

Saleh Waziruddin, a member of NRARA's executive committee, explained, “You can't say you stand with Israel when Israelis are killed, but when many more Palestinians are killed it's divisive and outside the mandate. You can't say Ukrainian refugees use Regional services but not Palestinian refugees. This is a clear double standard that is racist and part of a broader crackdown on Palestine solidarity. This crackdown includes police brutality towards demonstrators exercising their charter rights, firings and calls for deportations for merely expressing support for Palestine, and the exclusion from the NDP caucus of elected MPP Sarah Jama from nearby in Hamilton Centre.”

NPC Chair Mohamed Atia said, “Anti-Palestinian racism is an issue because some far-right Zionists see themselves as better than Palestinians, Arabs, and other humans. This is very related to what NRARA does. NRARA joining NPC will help us deliver this message more clearly to the community, whether in Niagara or more broadly in Canada..”

The Niagara Region Anti-Racism Association was founded in 2018 on the principal that antiracism should be BIPOC-led. It campaigns on police reforms, municipal anti-racism committees, employment equity, provides anti-racism workshops, and supports individuals under racist attacks.