The Peel District School Board (PDSB) says it’s investigating after a sign posted in the hallway of a Mississauga high school appears to suggest Israel is conducting pharmacological testing on Palestinians.
A picture of the large sign at Stephen Lewis Secondary School was posted on the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) Facebook page Friday afternoon. The group called the poster anti-Semitic.
“If animal testing is NOT OKAY… Then why is human testing OKAY? #ProtectPalestinianPrisoners,” the sign said, along with what appears to be a website QR code.
The only Twitter account to have used the hashtag written on the poster is one called Protect Palestinian Prisoners and has the biography line “Palestine Lives Matter.” The account mainly follows several Stephen Lewis school accounts, such as the school’s main account, the athletic council, the school’s arts and music program-related accounts. There were two tweets using the hashtag on the sign.
“People in Palestine are being tested not only for pharmaceutical reasons, but also for weapons as well. ‘This is a clear war against humanity and international rights groups must take Israel to the ICC over its crimes against prisoners,’ (Baraka, 2019) #ProtectPalestinianPrisoners),” a tweet on Tuesday read, preceded by one on Saturday.
“Currently, there are 5200 Palestinian people who are in an Israeli prison, and at least 2000 of whom were wrongly accused, leaving 3000 detained. (Statistics on Palestinians in the custody of the Israeli security forces, 2019) #ProtectPalestinianPrisoners”
WATCH: The principal of Queen’s University is calling it a hate crime; graffiti found on campus
According to the CIJA post, the organization contacted the PDSB to get more information and call for an end to the project.
“CIJA has learned that students at Stephen Lewis Secondary School in Peel Region have launched a campaign promoting the antisemitic lie that Israelis harvest Palestinian organs and conduct ‘human testing’ of pharmaceuticals on Palestinians,” the post said.
“We are shocked and outraged. If true, this is one of the most serious and vicious examples of antisemitism in a Canadian public school CIJA has seen.”
Carla Pereira, the PDSB’s director of communications and community relations, told Global News concerns were raised about the campaign earlier this week. She said the poster is part of a social justice course at the school.
READ MORE: Why is the Golan Heights so controversial?
“They’re looking into what has been shared to date with students, what their plan was moving foward — it’s part of a class project,” Pereira said.
“Our goal is always to ensure that our schools are safe and respectful places for everyone. We’re doing our best to investigate and look into it. We’ll have some direction coming next week.”
She said the sign was slated to be taken down on Friday.
News of the campaign comes amid ongoing reports being published without definitive evidence about medical testing involving Palestinian prisoners. The most recent reports began surfacing last week in South America.