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Sask. MLA apologizes for liking Instagram post linked to controversial chant

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Jennifer Bowes, the NDP MLA for Saskatoon University, issued an apology after liking a social media post which included the chant “From the river to the sea.”

“Hate, in all its forms, has no place in this province or in this country,” Bowes said in a statement Monday. “I have and will continue to condemn in the strongest possible way any act of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.”

Bowes liked an Instagram “carousel” post, (which includes multiple photos or videos) taken during a pro-Palestinian demonstration at the legislature on Nov. 21.

One of the videos in the post included the controversial phrase – which is seen by many in Regina’s Jewish community as calling for the destruction of Israel.

Organizers of the demonstration defended the use of the slogan.

Bowes claims she did not look at every video included in the post before liking it.

“I have since heard from multiple different people who understandably have strong feelings on this long and painful conflict and on one of the chants featured in that carousel,” her statement read.

“I have learned that for some in the Jewish community, they experience this slogan as deeply offensive and anti-Semitic. I have also heard from those who genuinely use the slogan as a call for the full rights and equality of all people, including Palestinians.”

“I apologize to anyone who was hurt by the impacts of the post. My intention was never to cause further division and, out of respect, I have removed the like,” she added.

Bowes went on to say she will continue reaching out to both the Jewish and Muslim communities as a commitment to “fostering mutual respect, dialogue and understanding.”

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