McMaster union under fire for comments seemingly expressing support for Hamas terrorism

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Only hours after Hamas launched its assault last Saturday, CUPE 3906 made a post saying, “Palestine is rising, long live the resistance.” Photo credit: Facebook/McMaster University


The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 3906, the union which represents 3,500 McMaster University workers, is under fire from the university and Jewish groups for a social media post made over the weekend that seemingly expressed support for Hamas’ terrorist attack against Israel.

The tweet from the official CUPE 3906 account read, “Palestine is rising, long live the resistance.” It also included a quote from a Palestinian man by the name of Ghassan Kanafani.

The tweet was made last Saturday, just hours after Palestinian terrorist group Hamas launched approximately 2,000 rockets into Israel and also commenced a ground attack, taking at least 100 hostages including mothers, children, and the elderly.

Over 2,000 Israelis were injured and over 600 were killed in the attacks. Those numbers have now been rising each day since.

The attacks came as many Israelis were celebrating the Jewish festival of Sukkot. The attacks also began early in the morning, with rockets launched at approximately 6:30AM Israel time.

There is a general belief amongst many pro-Palestine activists that the violence is justified and that Israel is “occupying Palestinian land.”

In addition to the message and timing of the tweet being heavily criticized, the Palestinian man who was quoted in the tweet was a former leading member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which is also a terrorist group.

Kanafani, who was assassinated in 1972, was an author and leading spokesperson for the PFLP when they planned and carried out the Lod Airport Massacre terrorist attack on May 30, 1972, in Israel.

The PFLP claimed responsibility for the attack which killed 26 people (including 17 Christian pilgrims from Puerto Rico, a Canadian citizen, and eight Israelis) and injured 80 others.

In response to the tweet, McMaster University swiftly issued a statement on Saturday saying, “Violence is never a solution and we hope that everyone would focus on the human cost when such attacks on civilians occur.”

The statement continues, “McMaster University is shocked and disappointed at the comments made by CUPE Local 3906 regarding this violence. While CUPE Local 3906, which represents Teaching Assistants, Research Assistants in lieu, Sessional Faculty and Post-Doctoral Fellows, is an independent group with the right to express its views, the university is in disagreement with any statement condoning violence.”

The CUPE tweet was also condemned by Jewish groups including the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), which represents Jewish federations across Canada.

CIJA wrote on social media: “A chapter of a major Canadian union is celebrating the murder and kidnapping of innocent civilians, and quoting a leader of a Canadian-listed terrorist organization in doing so. This is disgusting, unacceptable, and warrants immediate condemnation by CUPE National.”

CUPE National has not released any statement regarding the tweet. In fact, Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario, actually liked the tweet on social media and is under fire for his own tweets regarding the attack on Israel last weekend.

CUPE 3906 ended up deleting the tweet a number of hours later and executives then released a new statement on Wednesday which defended the tweet, simply described Kanafani as a “Palestinian author”, and said that their message was “distorted.”

Interestingly, CBC Hamilton likewise wrote in their article covering the story that Kanafani was a “Palestinian author and revolutionist” without any further explanation about his background. 

CBC’s article also refrains from referring to Hamas as a terrorist group, simply calling them “militants.”

It should be noted that both Hamas and the PFLP were officially designated as terrorist organizations by the Government of Canada in the early 2000s and remain officially designated terrorist organizations today.

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