Saturday, April 27, 2024

Keffiyeh bans and the fragility of apartheid supporters


Canada Ontario legislature Queen's Park Keffiyeh ban apartheid Gaza genocide Palestine solidarity oppression authoritarianism

The moral panic over a simple piece of cloth is a defensive and paranoid response to Israel’s growing isolation

On April 25, independent Ontario MPP Sarah Jama wore a keffiyeh, a checkered scarf traditionally worn in parts of the Middle East, during question period in the Ontario legislature. Speaker Ted Arnott demanded that she leave. Jama refused, and according to CBC, “Arnott said he was not prepared to remove Jama by force.”

After the incident, the speaker’s office “named” Jama—who was elected in 2023 as the member of provincial parliament for Hamilton Centre with 54 percent of the vote—thereby restricting her ability to participate in the legislature. In Queen’s Park, Arnott explained: “As a result of being named, the member, for the reminder of the day, is ineligible to vote on matters before the assembly; attend and participate in any committee proceedings; use the media studio; and table notices of motion, written questions, and petitions.”

The speaker’s effort to punish Jama, followed by the naming, were justified on the basis that she violated the ongoing keffiyeh ban in the legislature.

The ban not only applies to elected officials, but also members of the public. Visitors have been refused entry solely because they were wearing keffiyehs.  (more...)

Keffiyeh bans and the fragility of apartheid supporters

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