By Chris Adams, March 5 2015 —
Someone has been covering Students’ Union election candidates’ campaign posters with signs defaming a campus club this week.
The posters first appeared on campuses in the United States to protest pro-Palestine student groups. The images have been modified to reference University of Calgary club Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR).
The posters attacking SPHR were taped over some Students’ Union candidates’ posters, including vice-president academic candidate Sherin Mohammad, vice-president operations and finance candidate Sarah Pousette and arts representative candidate Coltyn Herman.
One of the images appear to depict fighters from the Palestinian organization Hamas with a prisoner on their knees ready to be executed. The posters question SPHR’s commitment to human rights by implying they support Hamas, something SPHR president Ala’a Hamdan says isn’t true.
SPHR is currently hosting Israeli Apartheid Week. Universities around the world host lectures and plan events during the week to raise awareness of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Hamdan said, given the placement of some of the posters, whoever hung them was targeting an Israeli Apartheid Week event SPHR hosted on Tuesday, March 3.
“We’re just trying to raise awareness about the apartheid and discrimination that’s happening inside of Israel. The campaign against us hasn’t justified any of Israel’s policies,” Hamdan said.
The hashtag #jewhaters is on the bottom of some of the posters.
Other posters include images of Israel’s Pride Parade held in Tel Aviv, saying the festival is the largest of its kind in Africa or Asia. The same poster says “help the SPHR understand that human rights are for all humans.”
SPHR member Houda el Sidawi, who’s also running for science representative, has had several of her posters covered.
“Even though Houda is involved in SPHR, that has nothing to do with her campaigning. There’s no way for us to tell if her posters were specifically targeted,” Hamdan said.
SU Chief Returning Officer Chris Yan said their jurisdiction doesn’t extend to non-candidate posters and that they can’t do anything about defaced posters.
“Candidates are not allowed to deliberately put posters over other candidates’ posters. This would be a direct violation of the rules within the election operating procedures,” Yan said. “If a formal complaint is received regarding such an event, an investigation will take place and appropriate action would be taken.”