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Letters Feb. 8: Selina Robinson; caving to a vocal minority; James Bay changes

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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.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Selina Robinson’s bad choice of adjectives

As a politician and more importantly a cabinet member, one must choose one’s words with extreme care these days. Selina Robinson paid the steep price, not for her portrayal of the facts, but the manner.

There is little disagreement that before the influx of Jewish refugees beginning in the late 19th century, “Palestine” was a very under-developed region.

Until the British mandate, under the rule of many empires, latterly the Ottomans, this land of swamps, deserts, rocks and minimal subsistence farming was, in fact, not exactly a booming economy.

I think, in spite of her poor choice of words, had Robinson not been Jewish, she would still be a cabinet minister.

Jeff Herman

Nanoose Bay

Principled people are outside the legislature

Over the past 16 weeks, Selina Robinson has consistently showed anti-Palestinian bias in her retweets and social media statements against Palestinians.

Her comments last week, which brought her dismissal, reflected more than just ignorance about the history of Palestine. In words that were not widely repeated in the media, she also disparaged young people in B.C., who, she complained, are overwhelmingly in support of an immediate ceasefire in Israel’s war on Gaza.

Yet Premier David Eby dismisses those who called for Robinson to resign her cabinet position, saying they “want to split British Columbians apart.”

British Columbians are already divided. On the one hand, those comfortably inside their precinct at Belleville and Government streets. On the other, principled people on the outside who recognize genocide and racism when they see and hear it.

Larry Hannant

Victoria

How cancel culture took out Robinson

While describing Israel before 1948 as “under-developed” might have been more politically correct that “a crappy piece of land,” as Selina Robinson said, it was in no way intended to be racist or Islamophobic.

What is more troubling is the weak-kneed response of politicians, such as David Eby and Jagmeet Singh in appeasing the protesters.

I seems that terms such as “occupation” and “genocide” are acceptable when they apply to Israel, but any word the National Council of Canadian Muslims chooses can be considered “racist” and “Islamophobic” when they decide that it is used against Palestinians.

This is “cancel culture” in its purest form.

Sandra Levy

Victoria

Government tries for one type of correctness

With the resignation of Selina Robinson, notice that we follow the politically correct rather than the factually correct.

Dan Ogle

North Saanich

New Democrats caved to a vocal minority

Selina Robinson got fired for saying that there was a “crappy piece of land” in the Middle East and this was taken as a great insult by those with heritage on said land.

So what?

Just how thin-skinned are the people from this land? Are there atrocities taking place in that part of the world?

Yes, and they have been taking place in various forms for thousands of years, just like many, many other places all over this planet populated by a human race that doesn’t always get things right.

I could easily say there are crappy pieces of land all over Canada and I would be right and I bet nobody would get fired.

Robinson worked in government and that is why she got fired.

Optics. Her party caved to a vocal minority out of fear.

C. Scott Stofer

Victoria

Selina Robinson, under the bus

So a cabinet minister makes a comment that some take issue with, which may or may not be true.

There’s an uproar over the comment so she admits that she may have made a mistake and apologizes for it.

Does Premier David Eby, her boss, stand behind her and say: “She’s made an apology, admits that she may have been wrong. So what more do you want?”

No, he tosses her out. I don’t think there’s a more fitting description of being “tossed under the bus.”

Len Nolan

Cobble Hill

Robinson reflects a colonial mindset

I did not know that Selina Robinson is Jewish and honestly, I do not care. Whether she is Jewish, Christian, Muslim, or atheist, or any other faith, her words were insensitive and it is right that she stepped down.

Her words reflect the colonial mindset that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report is calling out.

Was Canada “a crappy piece of land with nothing on it” before European settlers arrived?

I would hope that the person who found her departure shocking also found her word to be equally shocking.

Alan Thurston

Victoria

Eby is silencing elected officials

Selina Robinson should not have been removed from office or publicly shamed to appease pro-Palestinian groups. Premier David Eby’s actions were extreme and dictatorial.

Susan Kim, a Victoria city council member, wore a keffiyeh to council meetings after the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre of Israelis.

She signed an open letter saying the Hamas rape of Israeli women was “unsubstantiated.” Kim was not even censured.

Pro-Palestinians were angered when Robinson “lamented a lack of knowledge about the origins of modern Israel.”

Robinson described the state the UN offered the Jews as “a crappy little piece of land.”

It was crappy — 77 per cent smaller than originally promised, one-third desert with no natural resources.

It angered Pro-Palestinian groups that Robinson was allegedly involved in the termination of a college instructor who praised the Hamas slaughter of Israelis.

Eby said he acted out of concern for the feelings of the pro-Palestinian community. I wish he was as concerned about Jewish students who are aggressively harassed on campuses by pro-Palestinian activists.

I wish he was as concerned about the Jewish community when masked, keffiyeh wearing protesters demonstrate on a weekly basis across B.C.

Their chants “from the river to the sea” translate to the eradication of Israel. Their call for “intifada” is an incitement to violence against Jews.

Eby set an example with Robinson. Now political representatives will be afraid to speak up if it will anger certain groups.

Anita Colman

Victoria

Don’t just say no, let the process play out

Recent letters to the editor have implied that the idea of a pedestrian plaza in James Bay Village is not supported locally and is being forced upon them by Victoria council.

As a 30-year resident of James Bay, I have often heard friends and neighbours wish for some type of village square in James Bay.

In the letter that the James Bay Neighbourhood Association sent to council, asking to be included in the study looking at potential pedestrian plazas in Victoria, the JBNA noted that when they consulted residents in September, a consistent request was for improvements to the Five Corners in James Bay to make it safer and more pedestrian-friendly.

Other letter writers create “straw man” arguments by implying that the plan is to close down the entire intersection, disrupting bus routes, etc., but this is not what is being proposed.

Rather than reflexively saying “no,” why not let the process play out and see what ideas city staff and residents can come up with in order to make James Bay Village a safer and more welcoming public space for all residents.

Susanne Deacon

Victoria

Protecting regular folks from violence

Premier David Eby said he is profoundly disturbed at the assault of a Crown prosecutor.

He said they should be protected so they can work.

What about the regular folks that are randomly assaulted on their way to work, do they need protection?

Donald Boyce

Victoria

Declare in advance if we want MAID

While there is much talk about MAID for the mentally ill, the subject of advance directives is being overlooked.

If, like me, you have no intention of spending your final years in confusion and despair, dribbling from all orifices, lonely and lost, you might well be contemplating suicide at some point in your future.

This is likely to be messy, painful and distressing. You will almost certainly have to have a go at this while still reasonably competent, earlier than actually necessary, unless you consider simply starving yourself after a debilitating medical event.

Out of misguided compassion we sometimes condemn our loved ones to waiting out their final years in more misery and pain than we would inflict on a family pet.

For those of us who would wish it, I firmly believe that we should be allowed to make a voluntary advance directive, authorising medical professionals to assist us to a dignified and pain-free ending without the onerous requirement to give informed consent on the day.

The details might be debatable but the right to free will should be beyond question.

Carpe Diem!

Martin Hill

Sooke

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