B’nai Brith Canada on Wednesday demanded that the University of British Columbia (UBC), located in the city of Vancouver, cancel a film screening intended to honor an unrepentant murderer and member of a designated terrorist entity.
On Thursday, four groups intend to hold a viewing of the film “Fedayin, le combat de Georges Abdallah” in the Henry Angus Building, part of the Sauder School of Business at UBC’s Vancouver Campus.
The Facebook event page describes Abdallah, the film’s eponymous central figure, as “one of the longest-held political prisoners in Europe.”
In reality, noted B’nai Brith Canada, Abdallah is a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which is a designated terrorist entity under Canadian law. He is serving a life sentence in France for murdering an Israeli diplomat and a US military attaché, and attempting to murder an American diplomat. Abdallah remains unrepentant and is accordingly considered a high risk to re-offend, hence why he has not been released from prison.
Two online promotional clips for the film make clear that its goal is to glorify Abdallah and his acts of terror, noted B’nai Brith Canada, lauding him as a “prisoner of the Palestinian liberation movement” who refused to “sell his principles.” Notably, the clips do not deny Abdallah committed the heinous crimes for which he was convicted.
B’nai Brith said it has written to UBC’s President and its Provost, as well as the Principal of the Sauder School of Business, pointing out that the planned event violates UBC policy and demands its cancellation, but has not received a clear response thus far.
“Publicly-funded university spaces should not be used to whitewash murder and glorify terrorist violence,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “If UBC fails to prevent this misuse of its facilities, the message will be clear: Israeli and Jewish students are not welcome on campus.
“In our view, donors to UBC, both government and private, would be shocked and outraged to learn that their funds are being used to facilitate this horrifying event,” he added.
B’nai Brith noted that this is not the first time UBC’s campus events promoted members of the PFLP terrorist group. In 2013, the Social Justice Centre, a recognized campus club, hosted a Skype event with Leila Khaled, a notorious PFLP terrorist who hijacked a civilian flight to Israel in 1969.
In 2017, racist and pro-Nazi posters were discovered at UBC’s War Memorial Gym. Two days prior, Nazi images were found drawn on a blackboard in one of the university’s classrooms.
In 2018, UBC Geography professors pressured the Geography Students Association into canceling a booking for a private event at the campus Hillel. The University concluded in an internal report later that year that the professors’ conduct was not antisemitic.
This past summer, a mezuzah at a student residence was ripped from the doorway and vandalized, in an act police are investigating as a hate crime.