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Instructor who praised Oct. 7 Hamas attack 'no longer an employee,' Vancouver college says


An instructor from a Vancouver college who was placed on leave after publicly praising the Oct. 7 surprise attack on Israel is "no longer an employee," the school confirmed Friday.

Langara College launched an internal investigation into Natalie Knight's conduct after she was recorded at a pro-Palestinian rally describing the massacre of Israeli citizens carried out by Hamas as an "amazing, brilliant offensive."

Hamas has been declared a terrorist organization by the governments of Canada and many other nations around the world.

Langara's investigation ultimately found Knight's remarks were "not clearly outside the bounds of protected expression," and she was initially expected to return to work, according to an online statement the college published Friday.

The statement does not name Knight, but refers to an employee who made comments at an off-campus event that "do not reflect the values" of the school.

Langara said the instructor's return came with an expectation that she would comply with all college policies supporting a "safe, respectful and inclusive" learning environment, and that she would "take care to ensure any future remarks could not reasonably be interpreted as celebrating violence against civilians."

"The employee proceeded to engage in activities contrary to the expectations laid out by the college, and as a result this employee is no longer  an employee," the statement reads.

Langara did not provide any further details about what those "activities" entailed. 

The college's student newspaper, The Voice, reported this week that Knight attended a rally close to campus and announced she was returning to work

The newspaper quoted Knight as telling the crowd: "I've been reinstated as an instructor with no disciplinary actions, which means we won… It means I did nothing wrong. It means none of you are doing anything wrong."

Knight has not responded to requests for comment from CTV News since she was placed on leave.

She issued a statement in November saying that Palestinians "have a right to resist occupation under international law," and that supporters "will not be intimidated from exercising our right to express political support for the just resistance to Israeli occupation."

In response to Friday's update, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs issued a statement saying it was "encouraged" by Langara's decision.

"Accountability matters, and this is a step that will help restore trust between the college and its Jewish and Israeli students, staff, and faculty," wrote Nico Slobinsky, the CIJA's Pacific region vice-president.

"There should be absolutely no room for the glorification of terrorism and antisemitism at any post-secondary institution in Canada."

Langara's update was addressed to the college community, and acknowledged the strife and tension over recent months stemming from the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, while condemning both antisemitism and Islamophobia.

"The violence in the Middle East has caused pain and division in many of our communities," it said. "Everyone deserves to feel safe in our campus community. Our aim is to provide an environment where differing views can be held and expressed in a way that promotes human dignity for all and protects the safety of our students and staff."

Around 1,200 people were killed and another 250 were taken hostage when Hamas militants launched a surprise attack on Israel last fall. More than 26,000 Palestinians have since been killed in Israel's resulting military campaign, according to the Health Ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza.

The Israeli military has claimed at least 9,000 of the dead were Hamas militants.

This week, the United Nations' International Court of Justice ordered Israel to limit death and destruction in the region as it continues hearing an accusation of genocide against the country that was levelled by South Africa. Israel has denied the accusation.

With files from The Associated Press Top Stories

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