Amira Elghawaby, Canada’s federally appointed Special Representative on Combatting Islamophobia, has endorsed a legal manifesto calling for the liberation of pro-Hamas speech. The open letter claims Israel committed “atrocities in Palestine” with no mention that it was indeed Hamas, the government of Palestine, that instigated a terrorist attack on Israel October 7. Instead it accuses Israel of “ongoing apartheid and genocide.”The letter, signed by more than 550 legal and other professionals, was “drawn up in response to pervasive repression of speech and scholarship on Palestinian liberation” and argues lawyers and law students who support Palestine in the Israel-Hamas conflict in the Middle East suffer the “chilling effect” of oppression. The live document, posted by Legal Profession Against Retaliation, continues to grow as lawyers, legal professionals, and professionals from other fields add signatures..The group of lawyers Elghawaby publicly upholds complain those voicing support for Palestine have been conflated as “terrorists, antisemites and other pejoratives.” “We reject the notion that it is antisemitic, hateful, or illegitimate to contextualize the October 7 attack,” the letter condoned by the Liberal representative reads. “Similarly, we reject the notion that it is antisemitic, hateful or illegitimate to express support for Palestinians in the face of ongoing Israeli apartheid and genocide.”The Canadian government officially lists Hamas as a terrorist group and has done so since 2001. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government appointed Elghawaby to the position in January 2023. .Elghawaby retweeted the manifesto, quoting a portion of the text. She chose to highlight a section accusing Canadians who don’t support Palestine as “hallmarks of a new McCarthyism,” a term often associated with communists. “This chilling effect on freedom of expression and academic freedom has the hallmarks of a new McCarthyism,” Elghawaby quote tweeted from the letter. “A failure to voice our opposition to this conduct will only accelerate the erosion of the very protections that make dissent and, therefore democracy, possible.”“It is vital that the space for scholarship, speech and activism in defence of basic human rights be preserved.”.The letter claims law students and lawyers are being “blacklisted” and “threatened with academic sanctions and job loss for advocating against Israel’s atrocities in Palestine.”It also alleges “lawyers are contacting the employers of lawyers and encouraging they be fired for their pro-Palestinian advocacy.”The manifesto is also endorsed by Arab Canadian Lawyers Association, British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, Movement Defence Committee, No More Silence, Pivot Legal Society, Scholar Strike Canada, South Asian Legal Clinic of BC, The Legal Centre for Palestine and Toronto Metropolitan Faculty Association Equity Committee.