Sunday, July 20, 2014

Act for Peace! Boycott Israel!



For decades, Israel has denied Palestinians their fundamental rights of freedom, equality, and self-determination through ethnic cleansing, colonization, racial discrimination, and military occupation. Despite abundant condemnation of Israeli policies by the UN, other international bodies, and preeminent human rights organizations, Israel’s crimes have continued with impunity.

Since July 7th, Israeli forces have killed nearly 350 Palestinians (including at least 77 children) and wounded 2,385; destroyed 1,660 homes; and displaced over 22,000 people. On Thursday, July 17, Israel significantly escalated their military offensive against the people of Gaza by launching a ground invasion. This is the third major military attack on Gaza by Israel in six years, over which time thousands of Palestinians have died at the hands of Israeli soldiers.

The Gaza Strip - an area that has been called "the world's largest open-air prison" because of the way that the population is sealed in and controlled by the Israeli military in a process of collective punishment - is largely populated by refugees from the 1948 ethnic cleansing that created Israel. Israel, in direct violation of international law and at least 65 UN resolutions, refuses to allow any Palestinians to return to their homes. Instead, Israel has established a system of Apartheid - recognized as such by prominent figures such as Desmond Tutu and Jimmy Carter - that subjects Palestinians to different laws that Israelis. In response, Palestinian civil society has called for a global citizens’ response by launching boycotts, implementing divestment initiatives, and demanding sanctions against Israel, until Palestinian rights are recognized in full compliance with international law.

The campaign for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) is shaped by a rights-based approach and urges various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law by:
1) Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall;
2) Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
3) Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to re-turn to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

Join the global movement for justice in Palestine! Please see below for a list of links with more information on the BDS campaign, as well as for a list of links with news or analysis about the current slaughter in Gaza.


Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions

Effective BDS actions more important than ever
Enough. It's Time for a Boycott of Israel
Canadian hands involved in Gaza bombing
What To Do About Gaza

News and Analysis about the Attack on Gaza

Israel using flechette shells in Gaza
Massacre in Shujaiya: Dozens killed as Israel shells eastern Gaza City
Suffocating indoors under the rain of Israel's bombs
Tories Release Pro-Israel Ad Amid War in Gaza, But They Don't Want Everyone To See It
Architect of Apartheid
Israel's Media Strategy
Timeline of Violence
FAQ on Failed Effort to Arrange Ceasefire between Israel and Hamas
How it started in Gaza
The victims of Gaza: A list of Palestinians killed in Israel's ongoing assault
"Patching up torture victims in an open-air prison"





Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Israeli Apartheid Week 2011

Peterborough Coalition for Palestinian Solidarity Presents:
Israeli Apartheid Week 2011

Monday, March 21st
One session, two speakers:
Why is there no peace in Palestine? Feyzi Baban
Olive Oil - Activism in Palestine and Beyond. Anne Meneley
LEC Pit 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Israeli Apartheid Wall & Checkpoints
Trent Faryon Bridge 4:30 pm

Tuesday, March 22nd
Film Screening -- Leila Khaled: Hijacker
GCS 115 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Wednesday, March 23rd
A Passage of a Jewish Boat to Gaza: Two Peoples-One Future. If Not Now, When?
Presenters: Glyn Secker and Lillian Rosengaarten
LEC Pit 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Thursday, March 24th
One session, two speakers:
Egypt’s Revolution and the Middle East. Gavin Fridell
An Introduction to the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Campaign. Suha Jarrar
2:30 pm – 4:30 pm CCN M2

Friday, March 25th
No Fiddler on the Roof: Queer, Feminist, Jewish Arts and Activism of Palestinian Solidarity
Presenters: Zach Ruiter
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm location TBA

Saturday, March 26th
Cultural Night
The Recipe & Poetry
Time and Location TBA

For full descriptions of events, please visit
www.peterborough.apartheidweek.org

If you have any questions or would like to make a DONATION to PCPS or IAW, please contact peterboroughcps@gmail.com

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Pride Toronto Bans The Use of "Israeli Apartheid"


On May 21st, 2010, Pride Toronto Inc. decided to prohibit signs that bear the words “Israeli apartheid” from all 2010 Pride events, effectively banning the group Queers Against Israeli Apartheid from participating in the Pride Day parade.


The Pride parade has, for thirty years, been a site of resistance to a range of oppressive practices (based on sexism, homophobia, racism, and class oppression, amongst other axes); celebration of LGBTQ lives, and solidarity with oppressed peoples in other parts of the world. This tradition of Pride has been severely jeopardised by this decision, which sits in a context of increasing political suppression (in Toronto and elsewhere) of critical, dissenting voices of the continued brutality of the Israeli state against Palestinians.

We urge you to sign this petition: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/support-queers-against-israeli-apartheid.html

Dear Pride Toronto,

As queers and queer allies from a wide range of backgrounds, faiths and communities, we are deeply disheartened and offended by your censorship of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QUAIA). Pride owes its existence to the courageous resistance of LGBTQ and 2-Spirited people who fought and struggled to decriminalize homosexuality and queerness in all its wonderful glory so that diverse queer communities could take to the streets and make public our love, our desire and our politics.

Your ability to sell out the principles of Pride and its history as a festival of resistance and rage against social, political and legal injustice is depressing and shameful. We are saddened that under the Executive Directorship of Ms. Sandilands, the Pride Toronto committee has neither the courage nor integrity that the ANC had in apartheid South Africa nor the convictions and courage of its millions of international supporters.

Have you forgotten that here you too hold your march and corporate love-in on occupied territory that is available to you only because of the history of Canadian-state sanctioned genocide? Perhaps you should think about making connections between progressive forces because LGBTQ rights in Canada and elsewhere may have a short-lived victory in light of government policies increasingly influenced by politically and morally conservative, and at times fundamentalist ideologies.

Criticising Israeli Apartheid is not a hate crime but rather an act of love for social justice, and the rights of those who have suffered for more than 60 years as civilians and dispossessed, namely the Palestinians. Today it seems the love that dare not speak its name, is the one expressed by Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, that is love for those who suffer in the name of a Zionist and U.S-led alliance, in which Canada hangs on to the coat -tails of U.S-foreign policy.

If you wish the Festival to be timely and relevant, you must move with the times and with social movements, not corporate agendas and the abandonment of queer Israelis and Palestinians who deserve a future that is demilitarized and a negotiated solution to the problems of homeland and dispossession they currently face.

Palestinian civil society condemns repression in Canada against Palestine solidarity campaigns and humanitarian efforts

Occupied Palestine, May 26 2010 – The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), strongly condemns the actions taken by Canadian state bodies, university administrations and pressure groups to defund, repress and otherwise attempt to weaken groups and individuals that provide assistance to, or campaign in solidarity with, Palestinians. Such blatantly anti-democratic measures are not only repulsive per se; they are forms of complicity with Israeli violations of international law and Palestinian rights and have far reaching adverse consequences for civil liberties. The BNC believes that this repression in Canada must be brought to an end.

The BNC is deeply troubled by the politically suspect and professionally unjustifiable defunding of organisations that advocate Palestinian rights and organise humanitarian efforts on behalf of Palestinians. In December 2009, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) cut funding to KAIROS, a faith-based human rights organisation it had funded for the previous 35 years[1]. This cut was a direct consequence of the KAIROS’s promotion of Palestinian human rights. The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)[2], who provide assistance to 5 million Palestinian refugees, and the Al Haq and Al Mezan human rights organisations[3] have all been victims of Canadian funding cuts. The Canadian Arab Foundation (CAF) also had its funding cut[4] following its outspoken criticism of the failure of the Canadian government to speak out against Israel's atrocities in Gaza, described in the UN Goldstone report as “war crimes”.

Attacks on Palestine solidarity activism have become commonplace in Canadian universities. Student and faculty groups that highlight the apartheid nature of the legalized Israeli system of racial discrimination and work to bolster the emerging Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement have been targeted with aggressive bureaucratic delays and obstacles, the arbitrary charging of security fees, and outright banning of their activities.

At the centre of this battle on Canadian campuses is Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), a global series of campus-based events that seeks to educate about Israel's system of discrimination and its conformity to the UN definition of the crime of apartheid. IAW began in Toronto in 2005, and since then its organizers have significantly suffered from repression and censorship tactics befitting institutions under totalitarian regimes[5]. Prior to the 2009 IAW, Carleton University banned the posters that were being used to promote the Week’s events, citing concerns that the posters might incite students to “infringe rights protected in the Ontario Human Rights Code”[6]. Three other universities followed suit. In March of this year, Laurentian University censored the announcement of IAW. At the federal government level, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney[7] and Leader of the Opposition

Michael Ignatieff[8] joined the smearing campaign against the IAW. Although similar motions failed to pass in the federal Parliament and in the province of Manitoba, the Ontario government passed a non-binding private member’s bill condemning IAW in March 2010[9].

Another admirable example of activism continuing in the face of well-organised and well-funded attempts at censorship is to be found within the Canadian labour movement. The President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in Ontario received death threats and was the target of a vicious smear campaign, described as "tantamount to a new form of McCarthyism" after the union had overwhelmingly endorsed the Palestinian civil society call for a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel until it complies with international law. The state authorities did little to stem the vicious campaign.[10]

The most recent example of the repression that Canadian activists face concerns the Toronto-based group Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA). Bowing to pressure from the Israel lobby and their allies at the Toronto City Council who threatened to cut Pride’s funding over QuAIA’s participation, Pride Toronto has banned QuAIA from 2010 Pride Week events.[11] The interference by the City and the subsequent banning of a group from Pride is unprecedented. The BNC deplores the attempt by politicians to infringe fundamental freedoms so as to protect Israel from a legitimate, not to mention accurate, analysis of its crimes and human rights violations. The most basic democratic principle of freedom of expression seems to be trampled upon in Canada when Israel is the target of this expression.

Other worrying developments in this context of repression include the decision taken by the Koffler Centre of the Arts to disassociate artist Reena Katz for her activities with Israeli Apartheid Week[12] and the pressure faced by the Toronto District School Board to remove from school reading lists The Shepherd’s Granddaughter, a book told from the perspective of a Palestinian girl whose family land is destroyed by an Israeli settler[13].

Perhaps the most high-level and coordinated attack on Palestine solidarity in Canada is the self-appointed Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti Semitism (CPCCA), which deceptively conflates criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism. Based on this definition of anti-Semitism, CPCCA has set out to eliminate all criticism of Israel in Canada. The group has no official mandate from the Canadian parliament, but held a series of hearings in late 2009 and early 2010. Moreover, without any public discussion, the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration Canada will be co-hosting the second international conference of the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism (ICCA) in Ottawa in November 2010.

This deep complicity of the Canadian government in supporting and protecting from scrutiny the Israeli apartheid state is discussed at length in a soon to be released report by the Palestine Freedom of Expression campaign. The report exposes the CPCCA’s undemocratic, biased and problematic attempts to shield Israel from legitimate criticism that is allowed against any other state committing similar crimes and violations of international law. [14]

It is not surprising that government officials and some university administrations in Canada have chosen to hone in on the use of the term “Israeli apartheid”. They would prefer to outlaw the term rather than engaging the facts, perhaps because doing so would lead them to the same conclusions of international law experts, scores of civil society organisations and Archbishop Desmond Tutu who argue that the label is an accurate one, in accordance with the UN Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid. The apartheid framing of the Israeli regime is long standing; in 2009, a 302-page legal study overseen by Prof. John Dugard, a former UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, concluded that “the State of Israel exercises control over the Occupied Palestinian Territories with the purpose of maintaining a system of domination by Jews over Palestinians and that this system constitutes a breach of the [UN] prohibition of apartheid”.[15]

The actions of Canadian state bodies, universities and the CPCCA to erase Israeli apartheid from public discourse, defund organisations that provide vital support to Palestinians, and shield Israel from criticism reduce the possibilities of a just and lasting peace, present a serious threat to freedom of expression, and bolsters Israel’s impunity in violating human rights. The failure thus far of Canadian state authorities and public bodies to hold Israel to account for its violation of international law and Palestinian rights is, furthermore, a violation of Canada's obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice against Israel's Wall and colonial settlements. The active suppression of Canadian organizations that work to promote Israel's accountability before international law is beyond reproach.

The BNC therefore calls upon the Canadian government and public bodies to:

- Safeguard freedom of expression of Canadian citizens and civil society organizations with regards to discussion of Palestinian rights and Israeli policies;

- Reject the CPCCA’s deceptive and unfounded conflation of criticism of Israel or of Zionism with anti-Semitism;

- Bring the CPCCA within the realm of public and democratic accountability;

- Refrain from using public funding as a weapon to ban Queers Against Israeli Apartheid from participation in Pride Week events;

- Reinstate all funding cut on biased political grounds from human rights and community-based organizations.

And on individuals, groups and organizations of conscience to:

- Lobby the Canadian Parliament and public bodies to take the aforementioned steps by lifting all censorship and other repressive measures;

- Express solidarity with and support for freedom of expression by signing he Palestine Freedom of Expression Declaration posted on the website at www.freeexpressionpalestine.org/. To endorse the declaration, send an e-mail to pfex@freeexpressionpalestine.org

- Send solidarity messages to Queers Against Israeli Apartheid quaia.toronto@gmail.com

- Disseminate information about the repression in Canada against civil society groups.

It is the height of double standard for the Canadian government to advocate democracy and respect for freedoms elsewhere while suppressing freedoms and undermining democracy at home for political convenience. Palestinian civil society, represented in the BNC, condemns all repression, perpetrated by any party, including by governments that are ostensibly “democratic”.


- The BNC Secretariat

Posted on 26-05-2010

http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=1246

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Action Alert: Canada Post to Issue Canada/Israel Stamp

STAMP OUT APARTHEID!

On April 14th, Canada will be issuing a "Canada-Israel Diplomatic Relations" commemorative stamp to celebrate 60 years of relations. In light of on-going occupation, policies of racial segregation and war-crimes against the Palestinian people, we ask what is there to celebrate?

Please take a minute to send the following message to John Baird (baird.j@parl.gc.ca), the Minister responsible for Canada Post Corporation and Rob Merrifield (Merrifield.R@parl.gc.ca), the Minister of State (Transport) to express your anger at Canada Post's joint issue stamp with Israel Post. Please CC endapartheid@riseup.net.

*** STEP ONE ***

CUT AND PASTE THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES INTO YOUR EMAIL:
baird.j@parl.gc.ca, Merrifield.R@parl.gc.ca

MAKE SURE TO CC THE LEADERS OF THE OPPOSITION:
IgnatM@parl.gc.ca, laytoj@parl.gc.ca, DucepG@parl.gc.ca

*** STEP TWO ***

Dear Mr. Baird and Mr. Merrifield:

I am writing to express condemnation of your decision to launch a $1.70 "Canada-Israel Diplomatic Relations" joint issue stamp on April 14th. The stamp comes a little more than a year after Israel launched a brutal assault on the Gaza Strip that left 1400 Palestinians, including 320 children, dead. According to the Report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, Israel was found responsible for grave violations of international humanitarian law and
war-crimes.

Canada Post should be taking the lead from its employees - represented by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) - in endorsing the call by over 170 Palestinian civil society organization for a comprehensive campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) targeting Israeli institutions complicit with violations of international law. This is a non-violent and effective means of pursuing peace and justice in Israel/Palestine.

Along these lines, it should be noted that Israel Post continues its complicity with the Israeli occupation by servicing Israeli settlements in direct contravention of the Geneva Conventions and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and actively promoting Israeli militarism through a series of stamp issues to that end. Furthermore, Israel continues to impede and disrupt mail delivery throughout Palestine, including through its nearly 3 year long siege on the Gaza Strip and its system of nearly 500 checkpoints throughout the West Bank.

I see little reason to 'celebrate' such policies at the expense of tax-payers residing in Canada.

Sincerely,

Monday, March 1, 2010

Action Alert: Oppose MP Conservative motion attacking free speech on Israel/Palestine!

Defend free speech on Palestine!
Tell your MPs: Oppose Conservative motion that attacks Israeli Apartheid Week!

Conservative Member of Parliament Tim Uppal (Edmonton - Sherwood Park) has announced that he will introduce a motion in the House of Commons next week that condemns Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), a series of campus-based educational events that takes place at universities and colleges all over the world (see below the text of Uppal's motion). Uppal's motion also condemns the use of the term "apartheid" in any discussion or debate about Israel.

If Uppal's motion passes, it will represent an unprecedented attack on free speech in Canada. That it has even been proposed, however, is also a clear sign of the strength and exponential growth of the Palestinian-led solidarity campaign grounded in the 2005 call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) of Israel.

What is unfortunate about this motion, in addition to its blatant attack on freedom of expression, is that it shows a lack of understanding of the concept of Apartheid and of the realities of life in Israel/Palestine. No one knows better what Apartheid looks like than the people of South Africa. In South Africa this month, Israeli Apartheid Week is taking place in at least three cities, under the banner of "Apartheid for One is Apartheid for All". It is being co-organized by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), one of the main bodies that significantly contributed to the demise of Apartheid in South Africa.

A similar motion in the Ontario Legislature on February 25 prompted immediate widespread public protest aimed at MPPs' offices. In response, the leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party (ONDP) Andrea Horwath rightly acknowledged the motion as "divisive" and noted that "shutting down debate, on this or any other matter, is not constructive and is entirely unhelpful". The federal NDP, and all other federal parties, should be urged to follow Horwath's leadership on this issue.

Please follow the steps below to let your MPs know that you oppose this attack on free speech and on the Palestine solidarity movement.

E-mailing is the fastest and easiest way to contact MPs. Just follow these steps:

Step 1:
Cut and paste the e-mail addresses of your local Members of Parliament into the "To" line of your e-mail. Include e-mail addresses for both your MPs' Parliament Hill and constituency offices. You can find e-mail addresses for Members of Parliament here:


http://bit.ly/MPsEmail

Step 2:
Cut and paste the e-mail addresses of key government and opposition leaders (from all parties) into your "CC" line. If your e-mail account can't e-mail this many addresses at once, try sending your e-mail to a smaller block of addresses one at a time. You may have to send several e-mails in order to reach everyone.

Uppal.T@parl.gc.ca; Harper.S@parl.gc.ca; HarpeS@parl.gc.ca; HillJ@parl.gc.ca;
HillJ1@parl.gc.ca; lebrem@sen.parl.gc.ca; Reid.S@parl.gc.ca; mp@scottreid.ca;
KenneJ@parl.gc.ca; KenneJ7@parl.gc.ca; Ignatieff.M@parl.gc.ca; ignatm@parl.gc.ca; Goodale.R@parl.gc.ca; GoodaR@parl.gc.ca; cowanj@sen.parl.gc.ca; Silva.M@parl.gc.ca; SilvaM@parl.gc.ca; Cotler.I@parl.gc.ca; CotleI@parl.gc.ca; layton.j@parl.gc.ca; laytoj@parl.gc.ca; Davies.L@parl.gc.ca; Daviel@parl.gc.ca; Mulcair.T@parl.gc.ca;
Mulcat@parl.gc.ca; Wasylycia-Leis.J@parl.gc.ca; wasylj@parl.gc.ca; martin.pat@parl.gc.ca; MartiPD@parl.gc.ca; Duceppe.G@parl.gc.ca; ducepg1@parl.gc.ca; Paquette.P@parl.gc.ca; joliette@pierrepaquette.qc.ca; Gagnon.C@parl.gc.ca; gagnoc1@parl.gc.ca; Desnoyers.L@parl.gc.ca; ThilaE1@parl.gc.ca; info@cpcca.ca;

NOTE: In addition to e-mail messages, it is important for MPs to receive phone calls and office visits in the coming days; please voice your opposition in all possible ways.

Step 3:
Don't forget to fill out your subject line:

I support free speech. Oppose the Conservative motion attacking free speech on Israel/Palestine.

Step 4:
Cut and paste the message below. Feel free to personalize it with your own words. And don't forget to include your name (and address) at the bottom. If you know the name of your Members of Parliament, please make sure you address your message to them.

Dear Members of Parliament:

I am writing to urge you to oppose the Conservative motion attacking free speech on Israel/Palestine. Conservative Member of Parliament Tim Uppal (Edmonton - Sherwood Park) has announced that he will introduce a motion in the House of Commons next week that condemns Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), a series of campus-based educational events that takes place at universities and colleges all over the world. Uppal's motion also condemns the use of the term "apartheid" in any discussion or debate about Israel.

This motion, if passed, will represent an unprecedented attack on free speech in Canada. I urge you to defend free speech in Canada, and to oppose Uppal's motion.

IAW has grown in size and scope since it was first launched on campuses in Toronto in 2005, and now includes dozens of events in over 50 cities worldwide, including three cities in South Africa. IAW is marked by its inclusive and diverse nature, its respect for discussion and debate, and its call for peaceful solutions to the Israel-Palestine conflict. IAW has been endorsed and
supported by dozens of organizations including student unions, trade unions, faith groups, and Jewish solidarity organizations.

The term "apartheid" is not a hateful one, nor is it on the "margins" of mainstream debate. South African anti-apartheid campaigners, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu and President of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) Willie Madisha, regularly use the term "apartheid" to describe the conditions in which Palestinians live, both inside Israel and in the Occupied Territories. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter uses the term in his best-selling book Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid. The term is also used widely inside Israel itself: former Israeli Prime Minister and current Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak recently used the term in a speech about the consequences of stalled peace talks.

The conditions in which Palestinians live clearly meet the definition of "apartheid" as described by the United Nations. The increasingly differential system of roads, housing, laws, access to resources, basic rights, living conditions, and quality of life between Jewish Israelis and Palestinians all point to a system of apartheid. Palestinians have the right to describe these
conditions in the way they experience them - without being condemned by the Parliament of Canada.

You may disagree with such an analysis, but you have no right to limit or restrict Palestinians and their supporters from expressing a completely legitimate perspective. Uppal's motion to condemn IAW represents a serious threat to free speech in Canada, and should be opposed. The House of Commons should not be in the business of censorship.

Once again, I strongly urge you to oppose the Conservative motion and to demonstrate support for free speech in Canada – including for those political perspectives with which you might disagree.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

Step 5:
Press send!

Please BCC emails to
freespeechiaw2010@gmail.com so we can keep track of how many emails are going out.

- - - - -
Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) lasts from March 1 to 7 at dozens of venues in 16
cities across Canada. For local city schedules, please visit:
www.apartheidweek.org.
- - - - -

Conservative MP Tim Uppal's (tentative) motion:
"That this House considers itself to be a friend of the State of Israel; that this House is concerned about expressions of anti-Semitism under the guise of "Israeli Apartheid Week"; and that this House explicitly condemns any action in Canada as well as internationally that would equate the State of Israel with the rejected and racist policy of apartheid."

Friday, February 26, 2010

Action Alert: Oppose MPP vote to condemn Apartheid Week

Defend free speech on Palestine!
Tell your MPPs you oppose their decision to condemn Israeli Apartheid Week.

Members of the Ontario legislature passed a unanimous motion on February 25 that condemns Israel Apartheid Week (IAW), a series of campus-based educational events that takes place on university campuses all over the world (full text of motion below).

This is an unprecedented attack on free speech in Ontario. But it is also a clear sign of the strength and exponential growth of the Palestinian led solidarity campaign grounded in the 2005 call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of Israel.

What is unfortunate about this motion, in addition to blatant attack on freedom of expression, is that it shows lack of understanding of the concept of Apartheid and the realities of life in Israel/Palestine. No one knows what apartheid looks like more than the people of South Africa, and in South Africa, IAW is taking place in at least three cities, under the banner of "Apartheid for One is Apartheid for All". It is being co-organized by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), one of the main bodies which significantly contributed to the demise of apartheid in South Africa. In Quebec, Dr. Jamal Zahalka, a Palestinian leader who will be the keynote speaker for IAW, will be presented before a full session of the National Assembly of Quebec. It is really unfortunate that the Ontario Legislature decided to condemn IAW without knowing what it is, and without even attempting to hear the organizers.

Please follow the steps below to let your MPPs know that you oppose this attack on free speech and the Palestine solidarity movement.

E-mailing is the fastest and easiest way to contact MPPs. Just follow these steps:

Step 1:

Cut and paste the e-mail addresses of the entire Ontario legislature into your "To" line (If your e-mail account can't e-mail this many addresses at once, try sending your e-mail to a smaller block of addresses one at a time. You may have to send several e-mails in order to reach all MPPs.). Please note that this list includes both Queen's Park and constituency office e-mail addresses.

NOTE: In addition to e-mail, it is important for MPPs receive phone calls and office visits all day tomorrow - voice your opposition in all possible ways.

saggelonitis.mpp@liberal.ola.org; saggelonitis.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; lalbanese.mpp@liberal.ola.org; lalbanese.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; ted.arnott@pc.ola.org; ted.arnottco@pc.ola.org; warthurs.mpp@liberal.ola.org; warthurs.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; bob.bailey@pc.ola.org; bob.baileyco@pc.ola.org; bbalkissoon.mpp@liberal.ola.org; bbalkissoon.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; toby.barrett@pc.ola.org; toby.barrettco@pc.ola.org; rbartolucci.mpp@liberal.ola.org; rbartolucci.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; cbentley.mpp@liberal.ola.org; cbentley.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; lberardinetti.mpp@liberal.ola.org; lberardinetti.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; mbest.mpp@liberal.ola.org; mbest.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; gbisson@ndp.on.ca; gbisson-qp@ndp.on.ca; gbisson-co@ndp.on.ca; jbradley.mpp@liberal.ola.org; jbradley.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; lbroten.mpp@liberal.ola.org; lbroten.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; mbrown.mpp@liberal.ola.org; mbrown.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; jbrownell.mpp@liberal.ola.org; jbrownell.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; dcansfield.mpp@liberal.ola.org; dcansfield.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; dcaplan.mpp@liberal.ola.org; dcaplan.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; acarroll.mpp@liberal.ola.org; acarroll.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; mchan.mpp@liberal.ola.org; mchan.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; ted.chudleigh@pc.ola.org; ted.chudleighco@pc.ola.org; mcolle.mpp@liberal.ola.org; mcolle.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; kcraitor.mpp@liberal.ola.org; kcraitor.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; bcrozier.mpp@liberal.ola.org; bcrozier.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; bdelaney.mpp@liberal.ola.org; bdelaney.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; vdhillon.mpp@liberal.ola.org; vdhillon.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; jdickson.mpp@liberal.ola.org; jdickson.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; dinovoc-qp@ndp.on.ca; dinovoc-co@ndp.on.ca; ldombrowsky.mpp@liberal.ola.org; ldombrowsky.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; bduguid.mpp@liberal.ola.org; bduguid.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; dduncan.mpp@liberal.ola.org; dduncan.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; garfield.dunlop@pc.ola.org; garfield.dunlopco@pc.ola.org; christine.elliott@pc.ola.org; christine.elliottco@pc.ola.org; kflynn.mpp@liberal.ola.org; kflynn.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; pfonseca.mpp@liberal.ola.org; pfonseca.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; fgelinas-qp@ndp.on.ca; fgelinas-co@ndp.on.ca; jgerretsen.mpp@liberal.ola.org; jgerretsen.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; mgravelle.mpp@liberal.ola.org; hhampton-qp@ndp.on.ca; hhampton-co@ndp.on.ca; hhfort@jam21.net; hhkenora@kmts.ca; ernie.hardeman@pc.ola.org; ernie.hardemanco@pc.ola.org; randy.hillier@pc.ola.org; randy.hillierco@pc.ola.org; ahorwath-qp@ndp.on.ca; ahorwath-co@ndp.on.ca; ehoskins.mpp@liberal.ola.org; ehoskins.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; phoy.mpp@liberal.ola.org; phoy.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; tim.hudak@pc.ola.org; tim.hudakco@pc.ola.org; hjaczek.mpp@liberal.ola.org; hjaczek.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; ljeffrey.mpp@liberal.ola.org; ljeffrey.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; rjohnson.mpp@liberal.ola.org; rjohnson.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; sylvia.jones@pc.ola.org; sylvia.jonesco@pc.ola.org; frank.klees@pc.ola.org; frank.kleesco@pc.ola.org; pkormos-qp@ndp.on.ca; pkormos-co@ndp.on.ca; kkular.mpp@liberal.ola.org; kkular.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; mkwinter.mpp@liberal.ola.org; mkwinter.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; jmlalonde.mpp@liberal.ola.org; jmlalonde.mpp.alexandria@liberal.ola.org; jmlalonde.mpp.hawkesbury@liberal.ola.org; jleal.mpp@liberal.ola.org; jleal.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; dlevac.mpp@liberal.ola.org; dlevac.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; lisa.macleod@pc.ola.org; lisa.macleodco@pc.ola.org; amangat.mpp@liberal.ola.org; amangat.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; rmarchese-qp@ndp.on.ca; rmarchese-co@ndp.on.ca; gerry.martiniuk@pc.ola.org; gerry.martiniukco@pc.ola.org; dmatthews.mpp@liberal.ola.org; dmatthews.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; bmauro.mpp@liberal.ola.org; bmauro.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; dmcguinty.mpp@liberal.ola.org; dmcguinty.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; tmcmeekin.mpp@liberal.ola.org; tmcmeekin.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; pmcneely.mpp@liberal.ola.org; pmcneely.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; mmeilleur.mpp@liberal.ola.org; mmeilleur.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; norm.miller@pc.ola.org; norm.millerco@pc.ola.org; norm.millerco@pc.ola.org; 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Step 2:
Don't forget to fill out your subject line:

I oppose your decision to condemn IAW. I support free speech in Ontario.

Step 3:

Cut and paste the message below. Feel free to personalize it with your own words. And don't forget to include your name at the bottom. If you know the name of your MPP, address your e-mail to her/him.

Dear Members of the Provincial Parliament:

I am writing in response to your decision to support a motion on February 25 that condemns Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), a series of campus-based educational events that takes place annually on campuses all over the world.

The motion, which was introduced by Progressive Conservative MPP Peter Shurman (Thornhill), is an unprecedented attack on free speech in Ontario. I condemn and oppose your decision to support such a motion.

IAW has grown in size and scope since it was first launched on campuses in Toronto in 2005, and now includes dozens of events in over 50 cities worldwide including 3 cities in South Africa. IAW is marked by its inclusive and diverse nature, its respect for discussion and debate, and its call for peaceful solutions to the Israel-Palestine conflict. IAW has been endorsed and supported by dozens of organizations including student unions, trade unions, faith groups, and Jewish solidarity organizations.

The term "apartheid" is not a hateful one, nor is it on the "margins" of mainstream debate. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter uses the term in his best-selling book Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid. South African anti-apartheid campaigners, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu and President of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) Willie Madisha, regularly use the term "apartheid" to describe the conditions in which Palestinians live both inside Israel and in the Occupied Territories. The term is also used widely inside Israel itself: former Israeli Prime Minister and current Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak recently used the term in a speech about the consequences of stalled peace talks.

The conditions in which Palestinians live clearly meet the definition of "apartheid" as described by the United Nations. The increasingly differential system of roads, housing, laws, access to resources, basic rights, living conditions, and quality of life between Jewish Israelis and Palestinians all point to a system of apartheid. Palestinians have the right to describe these conditions in the way they experience them.

You may disagree with such an analysis, but you have no right to limit or restrict Palestinians and their supporters from expressing a completely legitimate perspective. Your decision to condemn IAW represents a serious setback for free speech in Ontario, and should be reconsidered. The Ontario legislature should not be in the business of censorship.

I urge to rethink your position, to become more informed about this issue, and to demonstrate support for free speech in Ontario – including for those political perspectives with which you might disagree.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

Step 4:
Press send!
If you get a response from you MPPs, please let us know. Forward e-mail responses to endapartheid@riseup.net

Israeli Apartheid Week begins next week on campuses across Ontario despite this motion. For city schedules please check: www.apartheidweek.org
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Private Members Motion 93 Reads
That, in the opinion of this House, the term Israel Apartheid Week is condemned as it serves to incite hatred against Israel, a democratic state that respects the rule of law and human rights, and the use of the word 'apartheid' in this context diminishes the suffering of those who were victims of a true apartheid regime in South Africa.