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Bilan Arte
photo from:united.umsu.ca/?page_id=14

 
IAW SUPPORTER BILAN ARTE ELECTED AS PRESIDENT AT U OF M STUDENT UNION BY LANDSLIDE

Editor's Question: Is U of M on its way to becoming Concordia?

by Rhonda Spivak, March 21, 2012

In the University of Manitoba’s Student Union elections held  in March, Bilan Arte was elected as President.

 In 2011, The  University of Manitoba Student newspaper the  Manitoban referred to  Bilan Arte, as "a student member of the Students against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) group at the U of M",  who "is helping to organize the various IAW events on campus this year."

http://www.themanitoban.com/2011/03/israeli-apartheid-week-2011-to-take-place-at-the-u-of-m-and-u-of-w/2105/

“The purpose of Israeli Apartheid Week is to critically examine the nature of Israel as an apartheid state from different perspectives,” Arte told the Manitoban. “The main goals are to raise awareness about Israeli apartheid and the denial of Palestinian rights, to educate people about apartheid as a system of oppression, and promote the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign,” she continued.

Arte is also shown on the Peace Alliance Website in a photo dated Nov. 12, 2011: "Bilan Arte, of Students Against Israeli Apartheid, addresses a group that rallied to distribute leaflets in support of Palestinian rights" http://www.peacealliancewinnipeg.ca/2011/11/videopalestine-solidarity-action-in-winnipeg/.

Students Against Israel Apartheid, is an anti-Israel  group that was formed on University of Manitoba campus only last year.  Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) is an annual international series of events held in cities and campuses across the globe, including the University of Manitoba  and Wininpeg.

In this month's elections Arte ran as head of the United Slate, and  she was elected with by a landslide, receiving 1, 235 votes compared to Aarnon Griffiths, who ran as an independent (receiving 350 votes) and Thiane Diop,from the Free Radicals slate, who obtained 207 votes. To see full results, click here: http://elections.umsu.ca/?p=293

When Arte ran for election, her website did not  indicate anything about Israel on way or the other. To read the material about her posted on her website as a candidate running for election click here: http://united.umsu.ca/?page_id=14.

Last year in  March 2011, Arte spoke at an IAW event listed as:
Israeli Apartheid: A Feminist Lens
Bilan Arte, founder, Students Against Bill 94 (University of Manitoba) Sarah Khalil, reporter and former international comment editor for The Manitoban Friday, March 18 University of Manitoba 1:00pm 210 University Centre
http://rabble.ca/whatsup/israeli-apartheid-week-2011-winnipeg

Arte is a third year Arts student at the University of Manitoba (Political Sciences and Criminology).

Days before the vote, Arte, as presidential candidate for the United Slate, was asked about her involvement with and support for Students Against Israeli Apartheid, and whether this conflicted with her campaign goals of creating a greater sense of community on campus if the involvement could alienate certain students. 

The Manitoban reported that "Arte responded that she felt it was really important to raise awareness of and encourage discussion about human rights on campus and that the university campus should be a place that is safe to facilitate discussion on “critical” issues."http://www.themanitoban.com/2012/03/umsu-candidates-grilled-by-students-at-forum/9491/

About a week prior to the election, sources told the Winnipeg Jewish Review that Arte was headed for victory as Griffiths had not run a strong campaign and also because an independent candidate has never won an UMSU election.

Editor's note: I urge readers who read this article to read my article written after attending IAW this year, "AN INSIDE VIEW OF THE BDS MOVEMENT: LEARNING THE AGENDA", which can be accessed by clicking here: /article_detail.cfm?id=2212&sec=2&title=AN_INSIDE_VIEW_OF_THE_BDS_MOVEMENT:_LEARNING_THE_AGENDA.

It should be noted that one of the first things that IAW supporters did at Concordia University was to get control of the  student union there and use it as a platform to pursue their  anti-Israel agenda. With the results of this year's elections at U of M, it is not time for the community to ask itself whether U of M could potentially become the next Concordia?

 

 

 
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.


Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.