Poetic Aid

March 1, 2014


Looking for something to do after Edmonton Israeli Apartheid Week 2014 wraps up? Check out this amazing event to raise funds for Islamic Relief.

Poetic Aid
Friday, March 14 (6:00 – 9:00 pm)
Stanley Milner Library Theatre
7 Sir Winston Churchill Square

Help spread the word. Invite your friends to the Facebook event.

Tickets are $15 at the door or advance tickets for $11 on Eventbrite.

A spoken word showcase where young poets from BC, Saskatchewan and our local talents are performing to raise money for humanitarian relief in Syria and Palestine.

Refreshments will be provided to enjoy the show! It is going to be a stellar evening, let your friends know and we hope to see you all there!

Ticket purchases & donations go straight to Islamic Relief: an international aid and development charity, which strives to alleviate suffering, hunger, illiteracy, and diseases worldwide regardless of color, race, religion, or creed, and to provide aid in a compassionate and dignified manner. Islamic Relief Canada aims to provide rapid relief in the event of human and natural disasters and to establish sustainable local development projects allowing communities to better help themselves.

Palestinian Oscar-nominated ‘Omar’ in Edmonton

February 28, 2014

Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad’s acclaimed new film Omar, which received a 2014 Academy Award nomination for Foreign Language film will be screened in Edmonton at Metro Cinema. Three of the screenings take place in the lead-up to Israeli Apartheid Week in Edmonton, and the final two screenings are within easy walking distance and are after the IAW events on those evenings.

Friday, March 7 (7:00 pm)
Saturday March 8 (9:15 pm)
Sunday March 9 (1:00 pm)
Wednesday March 12 (9:30 pm)
Thursday March 13 (9:00 pm)
Metro Cinema at the Garneau Theatre
(8712-109 Street)

Palestine 2013, 96 min
Directed by Hany Abu-Assad
Arabic & Hebrew with English subtitles

Ever since the concrete Separation Wall divided their West Bank town, childhood friends Omar, Amjad, and Tarek must surreptitiously climb over the wall – risking their lives – just to hang out. Omar has an additional motive for dodging the punishing watch of the Israeli military and their bullets: he is in love with Nadia, Tarek’s younger sister. When Rami, an Israeli military intelligence officer investigating the killing of an officer posted at a checkpoint, becomes aware of Omar’s love for Nadia (a secret kept from her brother), he draws Omar into the hell of conflicted loyalties. Masterfully paced, the film boasts compelling performances from its young cast … Omar is set to become an Arab noir classic. (TIFF)

Read about Omar and Hany Abut-Assad at the Electronic Intifada.

5 Broken Cameras Screening and Fundraiser

February 23, 2014


Islamic Relief at the University of Alberta, a new student group on the university campus, is hosting a film screening of the 2013 Academy Award Nominated Palestinian film 5 Broken Cameras to raise awareness around the suffering that both Palestinian and Syrian refugees face.

5 Broken Cameras
Film screening and discussion
Wednesday, February 26 (5:00 – 7:00 pm)
Telus Building Room 236/238
Corner of 111 Street & 87 Avenue, University of Alberta Campus
(Click here for map)

Everyone is welcome! Admission to the event is by donation, and all proceeds will be going towards Syrian and Palestinian refugees. Light refreshments will be provided!

About 5 Broken Cameras:

5 Broken Cameras is a deeply personal, first-hand account of non-violent resistance in Bil’in, a West Bank village threatened by encroaching Israeli settlements. Shot almost entirely by Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat, who bought his first camera in 2005 to record the birth of his youngest son, the footage was later given to Israeli co-director Guy Davidi to edit. Structured around the violent destruction of each one of Burnat’s cameras, the filmmakers’ collaboration follows one family’s evolution over five years of village turmoil. Burnat watches from behind the lens as olive trees are bulldozed, protests intensify, and lives are lost. “I feel like the camera protects me,” he says, “but it’s an illusion.”

Israeli Apartheid Week 2014 Full Schedule

February 20, 2014

MARCH 10 – 14, 2014


Palestine Solidarity Network presents a week of presentations, workshops, film screenings, and cultural events in solidarity with Palestine and to raise awareness around the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israeli apartheid.

All IAW 2014 events are open to everyone, and are free of charge. We look forward to seeing you there!

Edmonton IAW 2014 is organized by Palestine Solidarity Network with support by the Alberta Public Interest Research Group (APIRG) and the Breath in Poetry Collective.


Apartheid:  What’s in a Name?
Featuring Yasmeen Abu-Laban and Abigail Bakan
Monday, March 10 (7:00 – 9:00 pm)
Education Centre South Room 254
87 Avenue at 113 Street, University of Alberta Campus
(Click here for map)

Help spread the word! Invite your friends to the Facebook event!

The term ‘apartheid’ is an Afrikaans word adopted by the ruling National Party to refer to legalized racism in South Africa from 1948 until the democratic multi-racial elections of 1994 ushered Nelson Mandel to power as President. In addition, apartheid is a term enshrined in international law as a crime against humanity, and it is also a term that has been used to refer to policies and practices which have generated racialized inequality in many diverse countries. When applied to the state of Israel, however, the term is mired in contention, signaled by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s 2014 state visit and speech in the Israeli Knesset (Parliament). This talk examines what is at stake in the name ‘apartheid,’ and assesses the relevance of the South African experience and apartheid analysis to the Israeli context and to Palestine solidarity.

About the speakers:

Dr. Abigail B. Bakan is Professor and Chair of Humanities, Social Sciences and Social Justice Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. Her research is in the area of anti-oppression politics, with a focus on intersections of gender, race, class, political economy and citizenship. She is also the co-author of several articles on the Israel/Palestine conflict and the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. Her articles have appeared in journals including: Race and Class, Signs, Politikon, Feminist Review, Social Identities, Rethinking Marxism, Socialist Studies, Atlantis, and Studies in Political Economy.

Dr. Yasmeen Abu-Laban is Professor of Political Science at the University of Alberta. Her research interests centre on the Canadian and comparative dimensions of ethnic and gender politics; nationalism, globalization and processes of racialization; immigration policies and politics; surveillance and border control; and citizenship theory. In addition to her published scholarly articles and book chapters she is co-editor of Surveillance and Control in Israel/Palestine: Population, Territory and Power (2011), co-editor of Politics in North America: Redefining Continental Relations (2008), editor of Gendering the Nation-State: Canadian and Comparative Perspectives (2008), and co-author Selling Diversity: Immigration, Multiculturalism, Employment Equity and Globalization (2002). Dr. Abu-Laban serves on the editorial board of Canadian Ethnics Studies/Études ethnique au Canada and has served on the Board of the Directors of the Canadian Political Science Association (CPSA), as well as the CPSA Diversity Task Force.


Poets Against Apartheid – A Night of Rouge Poetry
Tuesday, March 11 (8:30 – 11:00 pm)
Rouge Lounge
10111-117 Street
(Click here for map)

Help spread the word! Invite your friends to the Facebook event.

Join us at Rouge Lounge for our annual night of spoken word and performance poetry relating the liberation struggle of the Palestinian people. This night will leave you inspired to share the stories of struggle with others and to be part of the growing movement against the injustice of apartheid in Palestine.

The night will feature a Breath In Poetry Slam night featuring local poets starting at 9:00. After the Slam will be a set of Poets Against Apartheid starting at 10:20 featuring local poets performing original works of poetry on Palestine, as well as readings in both Arabic and English of works by Palestinian poets.

If you are interested in performing during the Artists Against Apartheid set, please email Sara at shussein07@gmail.com.

$5 donation at the door will support the Poetic Aid fundraiser on Friday, March 14. Sorry, no minors.

The evening is presented in collaboration with the Breath in Poetry Collective.


The Bottom Line: Economic Action for Human Rights
Film Screening and Discussion
Wednesday, March 12 (7:00 – 9:00 pm)
Telus Building Room 236/238
Corner of 111 Street & 87 Avenue, University of Alberta Campus
(Click here for map)

Help spread the word! Invite your friends to the Facebook event.

Since its launch in 2005, the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) has become a powerful global movement to compel the Israeli government to “recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law.” Modelled after the successful global movement of BDS against apartheid in South Africa, the BDS campaign is the most tangible means to support the Palestinian people. Join us for a screening of the documentary The Bottom Line, about the successful economic campaign against South Africa and a discussion about how to support the BDS movement against Israeli apartheid.

The Bottom Line, part of the acclaimed documentary series Have You Heard From Johannesburg, tells the story of the first-ever international grassroots campaign to successfully use economic pressure to help bring down a government. Recognizing the apartheid regime’s dependence on its financial connections to the West, citizens all over the world, from employees of Polaroid to a General Motors director, from student account-holders in Barclay’s Bank to consumers who boycott Shell gas, all refuse to let business with South Africa go on as usual. Boycotts and divestment campaigns bring the anti-apartheid movement into the lives and communities of people around the world, helping everyday people understand and challenge Western economic support for apartheid. Faced with attacks at home and growing chaos in South Africa, international companies pull out in a mass exodus, causing a financial crisis in the now-isolated South Africa and making it clear that the days of the apartheid regime are numbered.


Palestinian Political Prisoners: Apartheid Injustice
Featuring Charlotte Kates, coordinator of Samidoun Prisoner Solidarity Network
Thursday, March 13 (7:00 – 9:00 pm)
Telus Building Room 236/238
Corner of 111 Street & 87 Avenue, University of Alberta Campus
(Click here for map)

Help spread the word! Invite your friends to the Facebook event.

Over 5,000 Palestinians are currently held in Israeli prisons: of all ages, genders, and political affiliations. Palestinian prisoners are subject to a separate legal system – the Israeli military courts, which convict 99.74% of the Palestinians brought before them, on charges ranging from membership in one of countless prohibited organizations, to incitement, to participation in resistance. Night-time arrest raids, extended interrogation, medical neglect and physical abuse are common. Palestinians can be held without charge or trial for years at a time. At the same time, Palestinian prisoners have been a center of resistance to Israeli occupation, apartheid and racism: engaging in hunger strikes and other struggles that have captured the attention and the solidarity of Palestinians and of people around the world. Join us to discuss who the Palestinian political prisoners are – and what we can do to support their struggle for freedom.

About the speaker:

Charlotte Kates is the coordinator of Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network and an organizer with the Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign Vancouver. She is a graduate of Rutgers University School of Law and is a member of the National Lawyers Guild International Committee.

This event is supported by the Alberta Public Interest Research Group (APIRG).


Diagnosis, Efficient Treatment, and an Optimistic Prognosis for Palestine
Featuring Dr. Ghada Ageel and Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh (via Skype from Palestine)
Friday, March 14 (Noon – 1:30 pm)
Education Centre South Room 262
87 Avenue at 113 Street, U of A Campus
(Click here for map)

Help spread the word! Invite your friends to the Facebook event.

Dr. Qumsiyeh will talk to us about the current situation, share his vision of a future for all the people who live in the land of Canaan, and address how Canadians can help to bring about a new situation of peace and justice.

“This is not mission impossible,” John Kerry, the US foreign Secretary, announced early this year, speaking of his latest effort to rejuvenate the Palestinians/Israeli peace process.

Dr. Ageel will address the questions of  where this latest round of talks is headed. What makes Kerry optimistic about reaching a framework agreement before May 2014? And why do many people disagree with him? And above all, how many plans, road maps, proposals, initiatives, processes, solutions, accords, and framework agreements do Palestinians need to have? Why have endless rounds of peace talks never led to peace? And finally, what is the future for the Palestinian/Israeli conflict: a two-state solution, one-sate solution or apartheid?

About the speakers:

Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh teaches and does research at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities. He previously served on the faculties of the University of Tennessee, Duke and Yale Universities. He was chairman of the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People and serves on the board of Al-Rowwad Children’s Theater Center in Aida Refugee Camp. He published hundreds of refereed articles and several books including “Mammals of the Holy Land”, “Sharing the Land of Canaan: human rights and the Israeli/Palestinian Struggle” (English and Spanish) and Popular Resistance in Palestine: A history of Hope and Empowerment (Arabic, English, French, forthcoming in Italian). He also has an activism book published electronically on his website. His main interest is media activism and public education. He gave hundreds of talks around the world and published over 200 letters to the editor and 100 op-ed pieces and interviewed on TV and radio extensively (local, national and international).

Dr. Ghada Ageel is a Visiting Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta. Her research interests focus on rights-based approaches to forced migration, Palestinian refugees in comparative perspective, oral history, women’s studies, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the permanent status issues involved in the Middle East peace process. Dr. Ageel’s work has been widely published in several newspapers, magazines and journals worldwide, including The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Hill, CNN, BBC, The Guardian, Journal for Palestine Studies, Palestine Chronicle, Occupation Magazine and many Arabic newspapers throughout the Middle East.

In addition to her book with Dr. Ibrahim Abu Jaber, Maisam Eid, et al “Jurh Al-Nakba: Part 1” (The Wound of Nakba, Part 1), Um Al-Fahem, Centre of Contemporary Studies, 2003, Dr. Ageel is currently working on a book project: The Palestinian Nakba and Israeli Apartheid : The Law and The Experience. She is also active in Faculty4Palestine-Alberta.


This is Our Land: Film, Conversation, and Performances

January 24, 2014


This is Our Land: Film, Conversation, and Performances
Friday, February 7 (7:30 pm)
ProjEx Room, Latitude 53 Gallery
10242 – 106 Street

Help spread the word! Invite your friends to the Facebook event.

Palestine Solidarity Network  and Latitude 53 present a special evening of speakers, performances and art alongside Gazan artists Tarzan & Arab’s show, This is Our Land, featuring:

Presentations by Dr. Ghada Ageel and Dr. Mohamed Abouhemeid on the personal and political context of the situation in Gaza, followed by a Q&A and discussion.

Performances by the Middle Eastern and North African Music Ensemble (MENAME) and spoken word artists.

A screening of Paul Fischer’s documentary “TARZAN & ARAB”

Traditional Palestinian food from Abu Rabea.

Entry is free with a suggested donation of $5 – $10 (no one turned away). Proceeds will go to support Tarzan & Arab.

The This is Our Land exhibit runs until February 15.

About the presenters:

Dr. Ghada Ageel is a Visiting Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta. She holds a PhD and MA in Middle East Politics from the University of Exeter (Britain) and a BA in Education from the Islamic University/Gaza. She is also active in Faculty4Palestine-Alberta and a member of Palestine Solidarity Network.

Dr. Ageel is the recipient of several awards and scholarships including The Phillips Grant (UK, 2013), The Jerusalem Studies’ Scholarship of the University of Exeter (2002 and 1999), the Higher Education Award of the Ministry of Education (Palestine, 1996) and the Hebrew Language and Literature Scholarship (Gaza, 1993).

Her  work has been widely published in several newspapers, magazines and journals worldwide, including The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Hill, CNN, BBC, The Guardian, Journal for Palestine Studies, Palestine Chronicle, MATAN Magazine (Hebrew), Occupation Magazine and many Arabic newspapers throughout the Middle East.

Dr. Mohamed Abouhemied, MD, is a specialist physician, head of gastroenterology and medical department at Shifa Hospital in Gaza, Palestine.

The Middle Eastern and North African Music Ensemble (MENAME) performs instrumental and vocal music, both traditional and modern, primarily from the Arab world (Egypt and the Nile Valley, the Levant, North Africa, the Arabian peninsula, and Iraq), Turkey and Iran.

Scarlett Johansson: Don’t Be the Face of Occupation

January 21, 2014


The US Campaign to End the Occupation, and other anti-occupation groups including Code Pink, have launched a campaign to encourage Scarlett Johansson to reconsider her new position as occupation profiteer SodaStream’s new “global brand ambassador.”

On January 10, 2014, SodaStream announced that Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson had become their first-ever Global Brand Ambassador. Her first act in her role will be starring in SodaStream’s Super Bowl ad, which will be aired during the game’s fourth quarter on February 2.

Scarlett happens to be an Oxfam Global Ambassador, a role that includes a responsibility to “push forward the fight against poverty and injustice.” Since this announcement, BDS activists have been urging Scarlett to consider this responsibility and end her relationship with SodaStream.

SodaStream manufactures and distributes home carbonating devices and flavorings for soft drinks. The company’s main production site is in an illegal West Bank settlement, where the company conceals the fact that its products are manufactured in a settlement by using “Made in Israel” labels. As an Israeli settlement manufacturer, it exploits Palestinian land, resources and labor and actively supports Israel’s military occupation.

In October 2012, Oxfam Italy cut its ties with Paola Maugeri over her role as a SodaStream PR Ambassador. In 2009, Oxfam International cut ties with Sex and the City star Kristin Davis over her role as spokesperson for cosmetics company Ahava, another Israeli settlement manufacturer.

Take Action

Sign Petition: Don’t Be the Face of Occupation!
Urge Scarlett to end her relationship with SodaStream.

Send an email to Scarlett Johannson
Send a message that occupation isn’t green or guilt free to Johannson through her representatives.

Oxfam Ambassador Supporting Occupation?
Contact Oxfam America to urge them to take action and press Scarlett to end her deal with SodaStream or to end its relationship with the actress to send the message that supporting companies that profit from occupation and human rights abuses is unacceptable.

Take Action on Twitter!
Sample tweets about Scarlett, Oxfam, and SodaStream’s Super Bowl ad.

Graphics to Share!
Post these images to your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other social networks.

Media Coverage

SodaStream accused of using conflict bubbles
January 21st, 2014
Article in The Verge.

SodaStream: Guilt-Free Seltzer or Blood Bubbles?
January 20th, 2014
Article in New York magazine.

The Politics of Celebrity Ambassadors
January 16th, 2014
Article in The New Yorker.

Scarlett Johansson: ‘No Guilt’ About SodaStream
January 14th, 2014
Elisheva Goldberg in The Jewish Daily Forward writes that the actress should realize that “normalizing” the Israeli occupation is a bad use of her celebrity.

Criticism as Scarlett Johansson becomes new face of SodaStream
January 13th, 2014
Coverage from Al Jazeera America.

Behind the Scenes: SodaStream Unveils Scarlett Johansson as its First-Ever Global Brand Ambassador
January 11th, 2014
Video released by SodaStream.


US Campaign Letter to Scarlett Johansson
January 14th, 2014
Letter sent to the Hollywood star urging her to end her deal with SodaStream.

US Campaign Letter to Oxfam
January 14th, 2014
Letter sent to Oxfam America urging them to press Johansson to end her deal with SodaStream or to cut ties with the actress.

Canada’s Shameful Record on Palestine

January 14, 2014


Hanna Kawas, Chairperson of the Canada Palestine Association offers an analysis of Canada’s record in the United Nations General Assembly on votes in 2013 related Palestine/Israel.

Canada’s Record at the UN General Assembly 2013:
17 Votes Against the Palestinian and Arab Peoples, and In Support of Israel Aggression and Apartheid

Canada’s voting pattern at the United Nations shows that the current government blindly and unconditionally supports Israel’s position, even when it is in contradiction with officially stated Canadian policies. The most recent UN General Assembly voting record of Canadian representatives demonstrated the shameful and biased positions of the Canadian Government that fly in the face of international humanitarian law and the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Canada voted against the vast majority of the resolutions relating to Palestine/Israel (the one exception we could find was an abstention on humanitarian assistance to Palestinian refugees). Israel’s fan club in the UN, according to Prof. Richard Falk, the U.N. Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories, includes “its three staunchest supporters, each once a British colony: the United States, Canada, Australia, with the addition of such international heavyweight states as Micronesia, Palau, and the Marshall Islands.” (The combined population of these three “heavyweight states” amounts to less than the population of the Palestinian city of Hebron or the Canadian city of Burnaby). Read the rest of this entry »


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