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  • Marty Gold

Deputy Premier joins Mayor Bowman In Denouncing Sarsour Invitation

The Deputy Premier of Manitoba has added her voice to the chorus who want the Social Planning Council to reverse their invitation for American radical Linda Sarsour to headline a panel event scheduled for Friday in Winnipeg.

Heather Stefanson, Minister of Families and legislative representative for Tuxedo, issued a tweet today stating "It is never acceptable to allow for the wilful promotion of hatred; it is unconscionable to provide a platform to such a divisive speaker", citing "brazen anti-Semitism (that) continue to afflict our neighbours." Stefanson took this stand the day after Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman held a press conference accusing Sarsour of practicing "racialized identity politics", explaining he had approached the SPCW about the matter but had been rebuked.

Pointing out "She has continually attacked the foundation of the state of Israel's right to exist," Bowman said he escalated his concerns into the public view because the invitation to Sarsour "sends a message by the Social Planning Council to the broader community which I think undermines our efforts to build bridges between our community ... welcoming someone who is clearly anti-Zionist is concerning."

According to a Global TV report, organizers from the SPCW and Canadian Muslim Women's Institute "were not considering" a Jewish Federation of Winnipeg request to remove Sarsour from the panel, which seems at odds with the formal statement issued by Federation officials to the Jewish community last week.

Federation President Laurel Malkin and CEO Elaine Goldstine told readers "The SPCW and CMWI promised us that they would go back to their respective boards with our concerns. We will continue to update you on our progress and the final decision of the SPCW once it is made." No further update was provided to the Jewish community.

Meanwhile, a Jewish community member who has been active in lobbying against the Sarsour

appearance is asking about the role of the Ukranian Labour Temple, where the event is to take place. It was moved there after the Seven Oaks School Division pulled the plug on hosting the event following a petition drive in March.

Sharon Freed posted correspondence from the Ukrainian Labour Temple after she raised her concerns.

" Linda Sasour does not spew hate and anti-Semitism as you claim. She has recently spoken at two distinguished American universities who faced similar criticisms as the ones you have levelled. As for the attacks on Ms.Sasour there is a saying”The truth will win out in the end.” We invite you to see for yourself on April 26 by purchasing a ticket from SPCW and attending the event. You are entitled to your opinion and we respect that. But we support the event and stand by the SPCW. Take care. "

Freed told her followers that she replied, in part, " Yesterday Emily Halldorson , your spokeswoman , told me you are only renting out the venue. Now you say you support the event and the SPCW."

A Rally Against Anti-Semitism is being held across from the panel event on Friday at 6.30 PM and hundreds are expected to show their support.