Author Archives: palconf

Videos: Shatat Conference plenaries online

The following videos highlight the plenary and full-conference gatherings at Return and Liberation: Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North America. Filmed by videographer and activist Jase Tanner, the videos highlight the talks of Hanna Kawas, Loubna Qutami, Issam Yamani, Rabab Abdulhadi, Karma Nabulsi and Abdelrazzaq Takriti, as well as the Skype presentation by Leila Khaled:

Hanna Kawas, Haneen Karajah, Khaled Barakat and Omar Shaban:

Loubna Qutami and Issam Yamani:

Rabab Abdulhadi, Karma Nabulsi, Abdelrazzaq Takriti, moderated by Jacqueline Husary:

Leila Khaled (via Skype) and Wet’suwet’en indigenous drum group:

CONFERENCE RELEASE: Palestinian Shatat Conference convenes in Vancouver for Return and Liberation

May 15th, 2013 – In an effort to unite the Palestinian community through adherence to fundamental principles predicated on return and liberation, Palestinian activists and their allies in North America convened on unceded Coast Salish territories at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada from May 3 – 5, 2013.

With the firm belief that Palestinians in the Shatat should be actively engaged and invested in advancing the Palestinian cause as we commemorate 65 years of Nakba, participants discussed various issues, including, among others, accurate and accountable representation, defining the relationship of Palestinians in North America with Palestinians inside Palestine and the refugee camps, and finding methods to confront Zionist settler colonialism inside and outside of Palestine.

According to Khaled Barakat, a member of the organizing committee of the conference, “at a time when the right of return is under attack and Palestinian land is under threat from occupation attacks and so-called ‘land swaps’, the voice of Palestinians in shatat must be raised. The conference is a critical step towards addressing these concerns, and a new forum to engender positive changes in the Palestinian national liberation movement.”

The program of the conference included workshops spanning various topics, such as strengthening Palestinian organizing in the Shatat, Palestinian shatat participation and leadership in the growing boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, forging joint struggles with justice movements in North America, gender and queer issues, combating Zionism and normalization, the centrality of the right of return to Palestinian liberation, discourses on national unity and addressing issues regarding representation and the Shatat’s relationship with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

The conference, which featured Palestinian freedom fighter Leila Khaled, who greeted conference attendees for a one-hour presentation via Skype in which she called for Palestinian national unity on the basis of resistance and struggle for return and liberation saluted the Palestinian prisoners in their fight for freedom and liberation, and reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen the Palestinian national liberation movement.

Conference participants included members of Idle No More, as well as other longtime indigenous activists; conference participants dined on bannock donated by Indigenous chefs and a Wet’suwet’en drum group introduced Khaled. According to Omar Shaban, director of Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) at UBC, “it is important to recognize, over and again, that this conference was held on unceded indigenous territory, and that the struggle of the Palestinian people in the Shatat is incomplete without recognizing and joining the struggle of the indigenous people of Canada and the United States.”

Throughout the various discussions which spanned various points of views, political perspectives and diverse ideologies, attendees vowed to continue the conversation on forging a united front against Zionist colonization in Palestine. Conference participants formed a follow-up committee, which will be releasing a proposed action plan for Palestinian mobilization in the North American diaspora in the coming weeks.

For more information please contact:
Omar Shaban
604-379-4050
info@palestinianconference.org
palestinianconference.org

To get involved with these initiatives and the follow-up work of the conference, please contact info@palestinianconference.org.

The points of unity of the conference and its follow-up committee are as follows:

May 2013 marks the 65th anniversary of the Nakba, and the 65th year of the ongoing struggle for Palestinian refugees’ return and the liberation of Palestine.

1. The Palestinian people are one people and our cause is one cause. Our objective is to revive the Palestinian national liberation movement and build the national institutions of the Palestinian people based on popular participation and direct democracy, in order to achieve the liberation of the land and people of Palestine and the implementation of the right of Palestinian refugees to return their homes.

2. The conflict with the settler colonialist state of Israel will only be resolved through the dismantling of the racist settler colonial nature of the state, meaning decolonization from Zionism, in all its forms, social, economic and political.

3. The right of return is the first and foremost step to the exercise of our right to self-determination.

4. Based on history, language, culture and geography, Palestine is an integral part of the Arab world and the Palestinian people are an integral part of the Arab nation.

5. Palestine is part and parcel of international resistance to colonialism, settler colonialism, imperialism and Zionism. The Palestinian people’s struggle is the struggle of an indigenous population directly connected to national liberation movements around the world facing the same powers, including the struggle of Indigenous peoples of North America, where this conference is taking place.

6. This effort is part of the struggle to achieve the basic right of Palestinians to elect our representatives in a democratic manner, and to overcome all obstacles being placed in front of our people in Palestine and in the shatat. As Palestinians in shatat, we have a right to representation and raise the voice of the shatat in our national liberation movement.

7. Palestinians have the right to resist injustice and occupation in order to achieve the liberation of their land and people.

8. The governments of the United States and Canada are directly responsible for apartheid, colonization and occupation in Palestine, through their diplomatic, political, military and economic support for the state of Israel. We recognize the US and Canada to be settler colonies built on indigenous lands.

9. We have the responsibility to confront the role of the US and Canada, hold the governments of the US and Canada accountable, and to build alliances with oppressed peoples and communities in North America.

10. We recognize the leadership and central role of Palestinian women in the national liberation movement, in this initiative, and in political representation.

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Al-Shabaka roundtable on Palestinian representation

logoThis roundtable discussion at Al-Shabaka, published today, prefigures some of the conversations that will be taking place at the conference this weekend. This is strongly recommended reading for conference attendees!

Click here to read:

http://www.al-shabaka.org/roundtable/politics/open-debate-palestinian-representation

“Many Palestinians seek more effective and democratic representation, and to this end advocate reform of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). However, Osamah Khalil warned last month, in “Who are You?”: The PLO and the Limits of Representation, that attempts at reform would end up saving a leadership that had lost its legitimacy and argued that a new representative body is needed to achieve Palestinian rights.

In this Al-Shabaka roundtable, policy advisors and members debate this perspective. Rana Barakat suggests that Palestinians are asking the wrong questions: The discussion should not be over whether to salvage or abandon the PLO, but how to imagine and execute liberation in political, social, cultural, and economic terms, a framing that puts the value of the PLO in context. Mouin Rabbani notes that the PLO was at its most representative when it was least democratic in conventional terms; he questions whether elections make sense in the Palestinian context, and calls for consensus on the national project as the first priority.

Dina Omar evokes Ghassan Kanafi’s writing on “blind language” and its obstruction of strategic analysis and, after reviewing recent attempts to revive the PLO, concludes that it may be better to start from scratch. Fajr Harb argues strongly for reforming the PLO beginning with an overhaul of the Charter to represent Palestinians everywhere; otherwise, he warns, Palestinians risk acquiring yet another semi-functional body and becoming more divided than ever. Hani Al-Masri contends that calling for an end to the PLO without a clear alternative in sight could result in a much worse situation of fragmentation into disparate local, tribal, or sectarian groups and the complete dissolution of the Palestinian cause.

As’ad Ghanem points to the common causes at the heart of the Palestinian and Arab conditions and calls for rebuilding the Palestinian national entity after the PLO has “expired” based on seven fundamental principles. Yassmine Hamayel believes Palestinians need to dig into the early part of PLO history and the First Intifada to rediscover ways of working together to build a national identity and resistance, a time when being Palestinian was more than belonging to a political party. Aziza Khalidi calls for accelerating the transformation of an existing Palestinian global cultural space into a more cohesive “global cultural community” that would provide opportunities to create a more effective governance structure.”

May 2: SETTLER COLONIALISMS, QUEER ACTIVISM AND THE PINKWASHING OF ISRAELI APARTHEID

SETTLER COLONIALISMS, QUEER ACTIVISM AND THE PINKWASHING OF ISRAELI APARTHEID
Thursday, May 2
7:00 pm
Room 7000, 7th floor, accessible by elevator
SFU Harbour Centre, 515 W. Hastings, Vancouver

Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/112139772318988/?fref=ts

http://quaiavancouver.wordpress.com/

quaia-vancouver*We recognize that we do this work on unceded Coast Salish Territories, the lands of the Musqueam, Skxwú7mesh-ulh Úxwumixw (Squamish), Stó:lo, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples* 
 
*Please scroll to the bottom for detailed accessibilities information including how to make this event more accessible for others in our community, venue information and more* 

Lately, you’ve probably been hearing words like pinkwashing, settler colonialism, and homonationalism. Maybe you heard that there were a bunch of queer and trans folks wearing hedgehog masks and holding pink signs about Israeli apartheid at the Queer Film Festival. Or you’ve wondered what queer solidarity for Palestine looks like? And how radical queer and trans folks can support Indigenous struggles on Turtle Island or what the connections are between Canadian and Israeli settler colonialisms? Ever wanted to figure out how we can resist pinkwashing and build genuine movements of solidarity that resist all forms of colonialism and occupation? Or perhaps you just want one of those really cool QuAIA bandanas?

With the help of some fabulous speakers, QuAIA Vancouver is putting on a panel to discuss some of these very questions, share great info, engage in some discussion and help build radical queer and trans communities.

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Speakers include (more information coming soon):

– Mike Krebs is an Indigenous activist of Blackfoot, Cree and european descent. Based in Vancouver, he has previously been active in Palestine solidarity organizing.

– Nada Elia is a Diaspora Palestinian. Both of her parents were expelled from Jerusalem in 1948, she was born in Iraq, and grew up in Beirut, Lebanon. A professor of Global and Gender Studies, Elia is a scholar-activist who serves on the Organizing Collective of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, and writes and speaks about BDS as a strategy to end Israel’s apartheid practices and policies. Her current research is about the gendered aspect of resistance, including the denunciation of Pinkwashing, Israel’s attempt to tout its (Jewish) gay-friendly record so as to distract from its violations of the human rights of the Palestinian people.

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This panel will explore the intersections between Israeli and Canadian settler colonialisms and Israel’s campaign of attempting to pinkwash its brutal occupation of Palestine.

By appealing to global LGBTQ communities to support the Israeli settler colonial state at the expense of Palestinians, Israel is actively engaging in the pinkwashing of apartheid and occupation.

As queers, trans folks, and allies, we are outraged by the appropriation of queer and trans struggles for liberation in order to obscure, excuse, or justify state violence and colonialism. As radical queers committed to anti-colonial struggles and all forms of oppression, we also stand in solidarity with Indigenous struggles against ongoing colonialism here on Turtle Island. When we come out against settler colonialism in all its forms and against Israeli apartheid, we interfere with the myth making that is vital to upholding Israeli and Canadian colonial regimes.

Please join us to learn how you can resist this state-sponsored hijacking of our community’s voice, and raise your own voice with ours to say “No Pinkwashing in Our Name!” Oh and there may also be some of those amazing bandanas, possibly even with glitter!

Queers Against Israeli Apartheid is part of a growing international movement – led by Palestinians – against Israeli apartheid, occupation and colonialism.

Endorsed by:
Canada Palestine Association (CPA)
Voice of Palestine
Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
Boycott Israeli Apartheid Committee (BIAC)
Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights UBC (SPHR UBC)

***Accessibilities Information***

Please email us if more information needs to be added and/or if you have questions/feedback: quaia.vancouver@gmail.com

– Room 7000 is on the 7th floor, with elevator access, and is wheelchair and scooter accessible as are the washrooms.
– Gender neutral and gendered washrooms are on the same floor as the room.
– Floor plan for the venue and room: http://www.sfu.ca/mecs/harbour+centre/floor+plans.html
– ASL-English interpretation is confirmed.
– There will be designated seating space in the room for folks with limited mobility and for Deaf people, folks who are hard of hearing, and others with barriers to accessing audio.
– Amplification via mics and speakers will also be provided.
– A specific donation jar will be available for QuAIA to build an ongoing Accessibilities Fund.
– Donations are completely voluntary and any donations will be greatly appreciated!
– In order to reduce the impact of electromagnetic transmissions (EMT) on folks with EMT sensitivity, we will be asking that attendees turn off their cell phones if possible, or place them in a designated area.
– We are creating a scent-reduced environment for this event. For more information on how you can help with this, check out these resources:

Myths & Facts about Chemical Sensitivity: http://www.peggymunson.com/mcs/myths.html

How to be Fragrance Free: http://www.peggymunson.com/mcs/fragrancefree.html

Fragrance Free Femme of Colour Realness Draft 1.5: http://www.brownstargirl.org/1/post/2012/03/fragrance-free-femme-of-colour-realness-draft-15.html

Contact at: quaia.vancouver@gmail.com

Kevin Neish photography of Gaza, Palestine on display at conference

Over lunch on Saturday, May 4, Victoria human rights activist Kevin Neish will present photography of his recent 5 week tour of Gaza. Kevin Neish says, “Amidst the Israeli forces’ rockets, hijackings, kidnappings, shootings and blackouts, the Palestinian people of Gaza carry on with their lives. In Arabic they are called ‘Sumud’, in English it’s steadfast and unyielding.” He documented his trip with photographs and essays at www.kevinneish.ca

Since 1989, Mr. Neish has volunteered as a  human rights observer in Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia and Palestine, first in the West Bank and now Gaza. He survived the Israeli assault on the Mavi Marmara in May 2010.

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Palestinian children in Beit Hanoun, Gaza

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Palestinian farmers working their land in the “buffer zone” face occupation gun towers

Mural in Gaza City

Mural in Gaza City

Gaza's woman fisher, Madleen Kolab, protesting at sea

Gaza’s woman fisher, Madleen Kolab, protesting at sea

 

Register and Donate for the Conference of the Palestinian Shatat!

 

Return and Liberation: Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North America

Register

Register today!

Return and Liberation, the Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North America, will take place in Vancouver, Canada from May 3-5, 2013, at the University of British Columbia. Panels, workshops and cultural events include “Looking Back, Forging Forward: Palestinian Organizing in the Shatat,” “Palestinian Representation and the Right of Return,” “Palestinian Perspectives on Solidarity and BDS,” “Repression and Resistance: Palestinian Civil and Political Rights,” “Organizing on the Cultural Front,” “The Role of Palestinian Students and Youth” – and much more. Speakers and workshop facilitators include Rabab Abdulhadi, Karma Nabulsi, Issam Yamani, Loubna Qutami,

Abdelrazzaq Takriti, Mezna Qato, Ramzy Baroud, Nada Elia, Dina Omar, Mostafa Henaway, Lamis Deek, Palestinian singer Nisreen Hajaj and many more.

More than that, this conference is a unique opportunity for Palestinians in shatat and their allies to join in this historical gathering to re-examine our history and build together towards a free future for our people and land by putting an end to Zionist colonization and normalization everywhere throughout the Palestinian and Arab homeland. Join us to plan, discuss and learn from each other about our homeland and how we can become active participants in reviving our movement.

 

Journal Ads

Buy a Journal Ad! 

Reach our attendees and supporters – and help to support the conference – with your message and content with a Journal Ad in the conference program. Full-page, half-page and quarter-page ads are available from $150 and up. Ads will be distributed in person to all attendees and online. Sign up for your Journal Ad online or email us at support@ palestinianconference.org.

Travel Details

Travel Details

Learn more about travel directions to Vancouver and the UBC Campus, accommodations and public transit at our Logistics and Accommodations page.

The main airport in Vancouver is YVR (Vancouver International). Please note, if you are travelling from the US, you may find it more affordable to fly into Seattle (SEA) or Bellingham (BLI) – buses are available to Vancouver. 

Donate

Donate

This conference relies on the grassroots to support and fund our efforts. Your donations make this conference possible and sponsor Palestinian youth and students to attend and participate in the conference! Donate today and receive a premium from Palestine Online Store – Ghassan Kanafani cards, DVDs on Palestine and more. Donate online here!

Register Online

Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North America

http://palestinianconference.org

palestinianconference@gmail.com

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Please Rescind Your Resolution to Ban SAIA

Dear UMSU,

This is a personal statement, and it does not represent any group or organization.

I am sending this to you hoping that you would uphold principles of debate as paramount to any personal or reductionist approaches to policy. Students in Canada, and the West in general posses a privilege that people in the Arab world are dying for right now – a privilege that allows them unconditional and to a certain extent uncensored access to a vast amount of knowledge and information regarding events happening all around the world. As students in the West, we have access to professors that we will respond to our inquires within a very short period of time. Each university has at least four of five libraries with books that span all types of knowledge, and that present all points of views. We have access to the fastest internet in the world giving us a very valuable tool to ask questions, investigate events, conduct research and be able to reach an informed opinion. New buildings are being built on every university campuses primarily to facilitate our learning process, to enrich our experiences as university students and to produce academics with perspective.

We also have student unions with access to huge sums of money allocated to provide us with facilities to eat, meet, drink, socialize, hang out, debate and exchange opinions. These unions are meant to fight on behalf of the student in order to attain the highest level of education while lessening the burdens that students in conflict-ridden areas have on their shoulders. The student union is a space for constructive engagement, and is it a quintessentially political space designed specifically to send a political message that sometimes may appear “controversial.”

The Palestinian cause is a just cause. It is a cause grounded in a firm conviction that the Palestinian people faced an historical injustice that affects – till today – the daily lives of Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territories (the West Bank and Gaza), in the refugee camps, and in the diaspora. Over 750,000 Palestinians were – within a very short period of time – forcibly uprooted from their lands, and expelled to neighbouring countries (see Pappe’s The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine). A combined effort by the Zionist movement and the leaders of the dictatorial Arab regimes ensures that they remain stripped from their internationally accepted and protected right to return. When the Zionist movement realized that the so-called “Palestinian problem” is not going to magically disappear they opted for a system of control similar to the one adopted by the Apartheid regime in South Africa. A system that demands separating Palestinians not from Jews only, but from their own lands, and in certain cases, from their own families. For example, a Palestinian from the West Bank is separated by a racist law from his Israeli Palestinian wife.

To be able to farm his land, a Palestinian must gain a permit from his occupier in order to access a land that lies on the other side of an 26 feet high wall. The wall is not built on the internationally recognized 1967 borders, it is built inside Palestinian territories often dissecting villages, school and university campuses. Imagine a very high wall going through the campus of the University of Manitoba – I suspect that any Canadian student would stand idle when faced with such a travesty.

Fighting against racism, subjugation, occupation and Apartheid should not be labelled as controversial. It should be encouraged. I understand that student representatives are busy citing laws and bylaws that are meant to maintain constructive dialogue. I also understand the importance of making everybody feel safe, but by ignoring the fundamental principle of allowing students to advocate for rights that Canadian students would not under any circumstances sacrifice, UMSU committed a grave crime.

UMSU has set a very dangerous precedent that takes into consideration only one side of the story. By accepting a racist ideology as a “nationality” for Jews, UMSU is ignoring a very long tradition of fighting anti-Semitism. Jews in Europe faced the most atrocious of crimes primarily because they are Jews. When Zionism as a political ideology was first introduced to European Jewry, it was rejected almost unanimously by all European Jews. They feared that this new political ideology will strip Judaism from its essence. They feared that by politicizing their struggle, political Zionists will cause them more damage than good and will cause further alienation, stigmatization and death. Aha’ad Ha’am (a prominent Jewish thinker) was adamantly against these efforts. Letters from other Jewish intellectuals were sent to the leaders of this new strand of Zionism warning them about the ramifications of their efforts.

A large segment of the Jewish populations continue till this current day the efforts to expose Zionism for what it is – a racist ideology bent on the ethnic cleansing of an entire population to attain political objectives.

SAIA is not a controversial group. Fighting against Israel Apartheid is not controversial. And this is a fact that must be understood by student unions very clearly. Zionist strategies of citing violations of certain laws should be rejected and put within the appropriate historical and political context.

Muzzling the efforts of SAIA is not a matter of violating the law or upholding thereof. It is a matter of abusing certain systems of governance to attain insidious political outcomes. Using the law is merely part of a grand strategy to obfuscate a political reality and human tragedy in Palestine.

I, therefore, urge UMSU to consider these points, and reverse its decision to ban SAIA, and make it part of their mission to fight war crimes, crimes against humanity and violations of human rights in Canada, Palestine and in every corner of earth.

Regards,
Omar Shaban

An Open Letter to the University of Manitoba Students’ Union from the Canadian Students’ Coalition for Palestine

Organizations are invited to sign on to this statement. To sign on, email canadianSCP@gmail.com or use the form below.

Download PDF

April 14, 2013

To:
The University of Manitoba Students’ Union Council
Local 103 of the Canadian Federation of Students
101 University Centre, Winnipeg, MB

We are writing to express our grave concern about the UMSU’s decision to revoke the student club status of the University of Manitoba’s branch of Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA), and further to ban SAIA from operating in “UMSU spaces.” By denying students at UManitoba the right to initiate and operate SAIA, you are denying them the right to engage in criticism of the State of Israel, and this decision is a flagrant violation of students’ Fundamental Freedoms of Expression and of Association as enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms under sections 2(b) and 2(d).

We understand and indeed share your commitments and aspirations to protect the Human Rights of all students and to eradicate discrimination and harassment based on the Protected Grounds as defined in both Provincial and Federal Human Rights Legislation. However, we believe that your interpretation of such legislation sets a dangerous standard by conflating nationalist ideologies with individual national origins, and by equating criticism of state policies with harassment of persons on the basis of national origin. We urge you to reconsider these false equivalencies between concepts and principles, and to pay closer attention to the complexities and political motivations of the arguments being drawn.

Firstly, we would like to respectfully point out that Zionism is not and should not be confused with an individual’s national origin. Zionism is a nationalist ideology that pursues the establishment and endurance of a Jewish state or homeland on the traditional lands of the Palestinians. Like all ideologies, Zionism is often highly valued and held close to its adherents as an inextricable part of their individual identity. This does not mean, however, that it is equal to a person’s or individual’s national origin or Israeliness. Indeed, there are many Israeli citizens who are not Zionist, for example many of the 1,617,000 Palestinian citizens of Israel who are subject to multiple forms of discrimination despite citizenship because of the fact they are not Jewish. Palestinian citizens of Israel are excluded from the Zionist project. Also, there are many leftist anti-Zionist Jewish citizens of Israel who believe in a democratic Israeli state with equal rights for all of its citizens regardless of ethnicity or religion. Furthermore, there are many Jewish-identified Canadians in Manitoba and across Canada who stand proudly in solidarity with Palestinians and who define their religious and/or ethnic identity as separate from and/or in opposition to the ideology of Zionism.

Secondly, criticism directed at any state, especially criticism that is firmly based in the principles and standards of International Law and Human Rights conventions, should never be conflated with harassment directed at individuals or groups of a particular national origin. We are especially concerned that this type of conflation will lead to a dangerous precedent where Academic Freedom is stifled and where student clubs engaging in Human Rights activism will be targeted by increased administrative sanctions. The international solidarity movement with Palestinians, of which Students Against Israeli Apartheid is a part, is a peaceful movement modeled on the successful human rights campaign against South Africa during the days of South African Apartheid. According to the logic of UMSU’s Motion, criticism of South African Apartheid would have been a form of discrimination against White Afrikaner Nationalists in South Africa. This is not such a far off or unlikely scenario; during the days of Apartheid in South Africa, White Afrikaners and their allies around the world made this exact argument. By this same logic Tamil student groups could be banned for criticizing the Human Rights violations of the Sri Lankan state, Tibetan student groups could be banned for criticizing the Human Rights violations of the Chinese state, and where even indigenous and Métis student groups could be banned for criticizing the Human Rights violations and reservation system of the Canadian state. We also emphasize the importance of a broad view of human rights, including the importance of acknowledging our roles as settlers on the stolen indigenous land of Turtle Island, and a statement of solidarity with Indigenous peoples, as well as an acknowledgement of Canadian settler colonialism that is often read aloud at the beginning of our events.

Thirdly, we would also like to draw attention to the section of the Motion that criticizes Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) and the activities of SAIA in the promotion of this week on university campuses. We are extremely concerned that your Motion, without any evidence, claims that incidents of “violence and harassment” have occurred in universities across Canada. As organizers of various IAW events across the country we have not heard anything of these supposed incidents of “violence and harassment.” Both SAIA and IAW maintain and enforce a very strict anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policy. All forms of hate-speech, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are banned from our official events and organizations. To ensure this, our moderators, speakers and marshals are all trained and updated throughout the week on how to maintain and enforce these policies. As a standard practice, a statement of anti-discrimination is read aloud prior to every IAW event. Thus, IAW does not, in any way, endorse “violence and harassment” of any group of students. The expression “Israeli Apartheid” may be viewed as controversial by UMSU; however, regardless of that view, it still stands that ‘controversy’ is neither a form of, nor equivalent to harassment by any standard of comparison. Revealing the racist dynamics of Zionism is no more an act of hatred than criticizing the justifications of settler-colonialism implicit in Canadian nationalist ideologies.
We note that this resolution was passed by members of the incoming council, making an end run around this year’s UMSU executive, and will expire on May 1. We want to be clear that we will not sit silently by if any attempts are made next year to decertify, refuse to recognize, or otherwise infringe Students Against Israeli Apartheid’s right to organize, express themselves, and work for human rights on the campus of the University of Manitoba in the coming academic year.

We urge you to reconsider the Motion you have put forward and passed, as well as the logic and principles upon which it is purportedly based. We hope that you will be careful not to make conflations that can lead to the unjust silencing of students’ voices. We urge you to rescind the decision and take a step forward in committing yourselves to the principles of Academic Freedom, as well as the Fundamental Freedoms of Expression and of Assembly guaranteed to all under the Canadian Charter.

Respectfully,

The Canadian Students’ Coalition for Palestine,

York University’s SAIA
Western University’s SPHR
University of Windsor’s PSG
University of Calgary’s SPHR
University of Toronto Scarborough’s TSJP
University of Toronto Mississauga’s SAIA
McMaster University’s SPHR
Wilfrid Laurier’s L4P
University of Waterloo’s SPHR
George Brown’s SPHR
University of Guelph’s SPHR
University of British Columbia’s SPHR

Organizations that have signed onto this statement include:
CUPE Local 3909 (University of Manitoba) – Winnipeg, MB, Canada
Boycott from Within- Tel Aviv, Israel
Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign- Vancouver, BC, Canada
Canadian Boat to Gaza – Canada
Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA)- Toronto, ON, Canada
Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine – New York, NY, US
Committee for Open Discussion of Zionism (CODZ)
CommonGround Collaborative – Calgary, AB, Canada
Faculty for Palestine (F4P) Carleton – Ottawa, ON, Canada
The First Peoples Council
Independent Jewish Voices (IJV) of Canada
International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) Canada
Industrial Workers of the World (Winnipeg GMB) – Winnipeg, MB, Canada
ISM Vancouver – Vancouver, BC, Canada
Jews for Palestinian Right of Return – USA
Labor for Palestine – USA
McMaster Muslims for Peace and Justice – Hamilton, ON, Canada
MSA at Mount Royal University – Calgary, AB, Canada
National Lawyers Guild (US) Free Palestine Subcommittee – USA
New Yorkers Against the Cornell-Technion Partnership (NYACT) – New York, USA
No One Is Illegal – Vancouver Unceded Coast Salish Territories, Canada
Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) Carleton – Ottawa, ON, Canada
Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) Ottawa – Ottawa, ON, Canada
Palestine Solidarity Network – Edmonton, AB, Canada
People for Peace – London, ON, Canada
The Palestinian Solidarity Working Group at Laurentian University – Sudbury, ON, Canada
Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QUAIA) – Vancouver, BC, Canada
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
Seriously Free Speech Committee – Vancouver, BC, Canada
Socialist Project (York) – Toronto, ON, Canada
Streams of Justice – Vancouver, BC, Canada
Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) National – USA
Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) Ryerson – Toronto, ON, Canada
Students for Justice in Palestine at Hunter College- New York, USA
Students for Justice in Palestine at Brooklyn College- New York, USA
Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) Carleton – Ottawa, ON, Canada
Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) University of Toronto- Toronto, ON, Canada
US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel – USA
Winnipeg Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (WCAIA) – Winnipeg, MB, Canada
Women In Israel


[gravityform id=”5″ name=”Endorse the Statement”]

Flying from out of town? Travel tips for conference-goers

If you are flying into Vancouver, the closest airport to fly into is YVR (Vancouver International Airport). Driving and transit directions from YVR to UBC are available at Google Maps  and TransLink Trip Planner.

Please note, if you are travelling from the US, you may save money by flying into Seattle (SEA) or Bellingham (BLI) airports. It is a few hours’ trip from Seattle, but often worth the time if you are looking to save! 

 These airports are accessible by Quick Shuttle bus directly to Vancouver, by car, or by other bus services from Seattle itself, such as BoltBusGreyhoundQuick Shuttle and other bus services.