University of Regina Student Union joins the global movement of BDS

February 10, 2012

Congratulations to Students Against Israeli Apartheid – Regina (SAIA) and the University of Regina Student Union for joining the global movement of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions on Israel!

From the Regina Solidarity Group:

Students Against Israeli Apartheid – Regina (SAIA) is pleased to announce that a motion was passed at the University of Regina Student Union AGM to support the Palestinian call for boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS) as a means of pressuring Israel to comply with international and human rights law. This resolution is a huge first step towards the full divestment of the University of Regina from companies complicit with the human rights violations currently taking place in Palestine. Plans are already in motion for SAIA, together with the University of Regina Student Union (URSU) and other members of the community, to begin investigating URSU’s portfolio for companies that support or profit from Israeli war crimes, as well as collectively launching an education campaign on campus about the issue.

SAIA would like to thank everyone who came out to vote for the resolution and all those who have been supporting and organizing around this issue within the community. There will be a lot of work to do before the end of the school year – if anyone is interested in joining the group please feel free to contact us at saiauofr@gmail.com. Thanks for all the support!

Sincerely,

SAIA Regina

RESOLUTION TO JOIN THE GLOBAL MOVEMENT IN SUPPORT OF PALESTINIAN RIGHTS

February 1, 2012

WHERAS Israel is currently in defiance of over 30 UN Security Council Resolutions pertaining to its illegal military occupation of Palestine and is in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law under the Geneva Conventions, as affirmed by the International Court of Justice in 2004;

WHEREAS Israel systematically obstructs Palestinian students’ right to education through military checkpoints and roadblocks, the illegal apartheid wall, and the frequent closure of cities, routinely preventing thousands of students and teachers from reaching their schools and universities;

WHEREAS on July 9, 2005, 171 Palestinian organizations called upon people of conscience around the world to implement a global campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era;

WHEREAS students around the world, from York to Concordia, Carleton, UC Berkeley, McGill, the University of Toronto and New York University have been at the forefront of this global movement by campaigning for divestment of university funds from companies that support or profit from Israel’s illegal occupation and systematic denial of Palestinian human rights;

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the University of Regina Student Union:

Recognize that the right to education is a fundamental human right that is basic to human freedom;

Join student organizations around the globe by endorsing the 2005 call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions from Palestinian civil society;

Commit to identifying and divesting from companies that support or profit from Israeli war crimes, occupation and oppression;

Affirm that students have a vital role in supporting struggles for social justice, and stand in solidarity with Palestinians’ struggle for self-determination and freedom.


Action: Canadian Boat to Gaza Blockaded in Greece

July 1, 2011

Urgent action needed in support of the Canadian Boat to Gaza! See below for things you can do. Get updates at tahrir.ca.

The blockade of Gaza reaches the shores of Greece!
As it attempts to sail, the Canadian Boat to Gaza, the Tahrir, blockaded in Greece

Greek coast guard are now on board the Tahrir attempting to arrest Sandra Rush, Jewish Canadian member of the Canada boat to Gaza Steering Committee, who is refusing to surrender boat’s registration papers.

Efforts to stop Freedom Flotilla 2 – Stay Human from sailing have included diplomatic pressure and manipulation, economic blackmail, bureaucratic obstacles, baseless and slanderous allegations against the flotilla and the delegates, and sabotage of at least two vessels.

“The world watched as an intensive campaign to prevent the Tahrir and the entire Freedom flotilla II from sailing was underway. We have been unjustly and duplicitously treated.” said Irene MacInnes of the Tahrir organizing committee. “The government of Israel, shamefully with the tacit support of the Harper government, is doing everything in its power to maintain the blockade. Today, as a result of the concerted efforts of the 4th largest military power in the world and its backers, we have been prevented from sailing to Gaza. Yet we will persevere in our attempts till the blockade is lifted.”

“Israel has in effect extended the illegal blockade of Gaza to Greek ports, using the Greece’s economic difficulties to influence the government’s position”, said David Heap of the organizing committee.

“We remain absolutely clear that the Canadian Boat to Gaza has not been, is not, and has no intention of, breaking any laws. It is the blockade of Gaza that is illegal under international law. We have a legal and moral obligation to challenge the blockade, given the failure of the international community to act”, said Dylan Penner of the organizing committee. “This is why we must continue our attempts to sail to Gaza: to challenge the illegal and immoral blockade and to equally challenge the Canadian federal government’s support for it.”

Meanwhile the US boat to Gaza, The Audacity of Hope, is at a standoff with the Greek Navy boats, refusing orders to return to shore.

What you can do to support the Tahrir

We will not Let Israel control Gaza or international water.

The Canadian Boat to Gaza, ‘The Tahrir’, is being prevented by Greek authorities from leaving its port in Greece. The US Boat to Gaza, ‘The Audacity of Hope’, set sail for Gaza today from a port in Greece but was quickly stopped and boarded by the Greek Navy authorities.

It is imperative that we mobilize in order to ensure that The Tahrir, and then the rest of the Flotilla, is allowed to sail. The Flotilla and the people of Gaza need us to get the boats free. The boats have past their inspections. There is no legal reason for Greece to stop the boats.

We are calling on supporters to hold public demonstrations and to contact Greek, Israeli and Canadian government representatives. We urge that Greece not become complicit in the illegal actions of Israel.

1. THE MAIN MESSAGES

The Greek government needs to know that world public opinion does not want them to succumb to Israel’s coercion. We don’t want to make Greece ‘dig in its heels’. Tell the Greek government that they can play a profound role in protecting human rights and international law. Tell them they must let the Tahrir go on our mission to break the illegal blockade of Gaza. Below is contact information for Greek Officials in Canada and a template letter to send to Greek Officials in Canada and Greece.

The Israeli government needs to know that we know what they are doing and we won’t be silent. They have used economic threats – through their lackey governments, like Canada — against Greece. They have motivated sabotage that could well have caused the deaths of nonviolent human rights defenders in international waters. And they have threatened violent military interception of the flotilla in international waters.

The Canadian Government needs to know that they are complicit in the coercion. And that they have a responsibility by international convention, to protect the Canadians on the Flotilla. Included in the letter is a note of disgust that Canadian government is falling to pressure by the Israeli government. Below, there is a template letter to Canadian MPs and a link for their contact information.

2. ACTIONS

Public rallies, vigils: We hope for Saturday actions. But please, do whatever and wherever you are able. We need this to be big. We need to be visible.

Letter to our Canadian MPs: We have a letter template for you to use to send to MPs reminding them that the Canadian government has obligations under the Geneva Convention (see below).

Contacting Greek officials: Greek government officials are to be asked to clarify whether a political decision has been made by the Greek government in response to Israeli and other governments’ pressure. We will ask that they not be complicit in the massive human rights violations by Israel against the people of Gaza. We will ask them to defend human rights and not fall to the pressure of Israel and other governments – who are playing with the lives and livelihoods of Greeks and Palestinians.

We have a template letter to use and contact information for Greek officials in Canada and in Greece and contact details below for Greek Consulates and Embassy in Canada (see below)

3. TEMPLATE LETTERS AND CONTACT INFORMATION

LETTER TO CANADIANS MPs
(click here to find your MP’s contact information)

[ADDRESS]
[DATE]

Dear [NAME of MP in your riding]:
I am writing to you as a concerned Canadian about the alarming news that vessels bound for the Gaza Strip are being prevented from leaving Greek ports, despite their compliance with all legal expectations. One of those vessels is the Canadian ship, the Tahrir, with Canadian passengers on board. The Tahrir is part of the Fredom Flotilla 2 – Stay Human.

The Freedom Flotilla is an international initiative with the goal of challenging the illegal blockade of Gaza, and bringing humanitarian aid to the civilian population of Gaza in the spirit of the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1860 (2009). The Canadian boat is carrying much needed medical supplies. All delegates on the Freedom Flotilla, including the Canadian Boat, the Tahrir, are committed to peaceful and non-violent action. The Flotilla and the Tahrir are not breaking the law but are actively upholding international law.

I am concerned at the lack of port security in Greece that allowed the sabotage of two vessels – one Irish and the other Swedish-Greek-Norwegian – with potentially serious consequences for the passengers of those vessels. But I am outraged that the Tahrir is being prevented from leaving the Greek port while all legal documents are in order for it to sail.

I am concerned that the Canadian government is giving in to pressures from the Israeli government in preventing the Flotilla from sailing to Gaza by referring to this action as “provocative”. By doing so, the Canadian government is implying that the Israeli government is acting within its right when imposing an inhumane siege on 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza and seeking to control international waters.

As the MP of my riding I urge you to speak out in Parliament for the legitimate right of those Canadians on the Flotilla to express their solidarity with fellow Palestinians in Gaza, as well as
– to demand the Government to uphold its responsibility for the safety of all Canadians including those on the flotilla;
– to demand the Greek – government immediately release the Tahrir and implement all necessary measures for the safety of the Canadian ship and its passengers while in Greek waters;
– to demand the Israeli government to abide to international law by removing the illegal blockade of Gaza and allow safe docking of a Canadian ship to a port in Gaza

I look forward to hearing from you what actions you have taken on the above.
Sincerely,
[name]
[contact information]

LETTER TO GREEK OFFICIALS IN CANADA AND IN GREECE

Full contact information for consulates and the Greek embassy are below. To send an email to all consulates, cut and paste the following into the bcc field of your email program: embassy@.greekembassy.ca; montreal.consulate@greekembassy.ca; toronto.consulate@greekembassy.ca; vancouver.consulate@greekembassy.ca

Sample letter addressed to Greek authorities (consular and government)

[ADDRESS]
[DATE]

Dear Sir/Madam:

I am writing to you as a concerned Canadian citizen who has just learned that the Canadian Boat to Gaza, The Tahrir, is being prevented from leaving its port in Greece. This boat carries passengers from Canada, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Russia and Israel, and is part of the Fredom Flotilla 2–Stay Human.

The Freedom Flotilla is an international initiative with the goal of ending the illegal blockade of Gaza and to bring humanitarian aid to the civilian population of Gaza in the spirit of the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1860 (2009). The Tahrir is carrying much needed medical supplies to the people of Gaza.

All participants in the Freedom Flotilla are committed to peaceful and non-violent action. Its intention is to break the illegal blockade of Gaza by Israel. Its intention is not to break the law but to uphold international law.

While your country has been very welcoming by allowing the Flotilla to use various Greek ports, I am appalled that the ships have not been permitted to set sail in spite of the fact that they meet all the legal requirements to sail. I am also appalled at the lack of port security that allowed the sabotage of two vessels – one Irish and the other Swedish-Greek-Norwegian – with potentially serious consequences for the passengers of those vessels.

The various administrative steps taken by your government, including unnecessarily meticulous inspections, and the most recent detention of the Tahrir are preventing the departure of the Flotilla.

It is my understanding that the Tahrir has no legal or other impediment to leave port.

I would regard any actions by your government trying to block any vessels in the flotilla from leaving a Greek port and/or reaching the Gaza Strip as an overt collaboration with the illegal blockade imposed by Israel.

The Greek government can play a profound role in protecting human rights and international law. I expect the Greek government to NOT give in to pressures from the Israeli government or any other government, to allow the flotilla to sail and to take all necessary measures to assure the safety of all ships and passengers until they are in international waters.

I urge the Greek government to immediately allow the Tahrir and all other ships in the Freedom Flotilla to set sail.

Sincerely,
[your contact information]

Contact information for Greek Embassy and Consulates
Greek Embassy, OTTAWA http://www.greekembassy.ca
76- 80 Maclaren Street Ottawa Ontario Canada K2P OK6
Phone: +1-613-2386271 +1-613-2386273
Fax: +1-613-2385676
Email: embassy@.greekembassy.ca

Greece Consulate, MONTREAL
1170 Place Du Frere Andre, Suite 300 Montreal Quebec H3B 3C6
Phone: +1-514-8759902 +1-514-8752119
Fax: +1-514-8758781
Email: montreal.consulate@greekembassy.ca

Greek Consulate, TORONTO
365 Bloor Street East, Suite 1800
Toronto Canada M4W 3L4
Phone: +1-416-5150133 +1-416-5150134
Fax: +1-416-5150209
Email: toronto.consulate@greekembassy.ca

Greece Consulate, VANCOUVER
500-688 West Hastings Street Vancouver Canada V6B 1P1
Phone:+1-604-6811381 +1-604-6841366
Fax: +1-604-6816656
Email: vancouver.consulate@greekembassy.ca

CONTACT INFO FOR GREEK OFFICIALS IN GREECE

Address for the media to contact the president: internationalmediaoffice@primeminister.gr
On facebook: George A. Papandreou
On Twitter: @PrimeministerGR


Please “Like” the New PSN Page on Facebook

May 10, 2011

Facebook has recently updated the way it manages groups, and as a result PSN is updating its Facebook presence. We will, at least for the foreseeable future, upgrade and maintain our current PSN group page, but we have also created a new fan page to keep supporters informed about the activities of PSN. If you use Facebook, please visit the new PSN fan page and “like” it (in the lower left-hand corner) and share it on your Facebook page and encourage friends to join (also in the lower left-hand corner).

Please bear with us and any problems that arise as we manage this transition!


Guyana Recognizes Palestinian Independence

January 14, 2011

Guyana becomes 7th South American state to recognize Palestinian independence
The country’s foreign ministry says decision comes in keeping with Guyana’s support of the ‘legitimate aspirations of the people of Palestine for the exercise of their right to self-determination.’

By Haaretz Service Published 09:01 14.01.11

Following Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile, Guyana has become the seventh South American nation to recognize an independent Palestinian state, Al Jazeera reported on Thursday.

In a statement by the country’s Foreign Ministry, Guyana’s said it hoped “that the increasing recognition of the state of Palestine will contribute to a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the creation of lasting peace and stability in the region.”

The decision to recognize a Palestinian state, the statement added, was “in keeping with Guyana’s long-standing and unwavering solidarity with, and commitment to, the just and legitimate aspirations of the people of Palestine for the exercise of their right to self-determination and to achieve a homeland of their own, independent, free, prosperous and at peace.”

Last week, Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that Chilean President Sebastian Pinera announced that he officially recognizes an independent Palestinian state, following the official recognition of Palestine by other Latin American countries.

Speaking a La Moneda Palace in Santiago, Pinera said the leaders of the country’s political parties “recognize the state of Palestine.”

A resolution calling on Pinera to recognize Palestine as an independent state was passed by the Chilean Senate two days earlier, Xinhua reported.

Last week, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said that President Pinera is due to visit the West Bank in three months. He also announced the opening of a Palestinian embassy in Ecuador, which already declared its recognition of a Palestinian state.

Uruguay also announced that they planned to join Argentina, Brazil and Bolivia in recognizing a Palestinian state, and al-Maliki said that they would formally do so in March 2011.

Palestinians have been seeking international recognition of a state at a time when talks on a long-term peace settlement with Israel are deadlocked.

Earlier this month, Brazil, Venezuela and Argentina recognized Palestine as an independent state within its borders prior to 1967, in decisions that the United States and Israel slammed as counterproductive and damaging.


IWW Votes to Support BDS

December 5, 2010

December 2, 2010 – The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or Wobblies) has officially voted to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in support of Palestinian rights. The “Resolution in Support of the Workers of Palestine/Israel” was adopted in an overwhelming vote both at the IWW’s convention in Minneapolis and by the membership via referendum. This vote makes the IWW the first union in the US and the third union in Canada to officially support the Palestinian United Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.

Inspired by the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, the BDS movement calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel until such time as fundamental Palestinian rights are recognized. The BDS call is supported by a broad cross-section of Palestinian society, including Palestinian unions.

The resolution to support the BDS campaign comes out of the work of the IWW’s International Solidarity Commission and the IWW Friends of Palestinian Workers Group, a grassroots network of Wobblies supportive of the Palestinian, Israeli and international struggle against Israeli apartheid. Support for the BDS campaign was also stressed by all the Palestinian workers who met with members of the IWW on the IWW delegation to Palestine, particularly the Independent Workers Federation of Palestine, with whom the IWW shares a close bond of solidarity.

“For a union concerned with international solidarity, supporting the BDS movement is the right thing to do”, said IWW member Nathaniel Miller, who serves on the International Solidarity Commission and attended the IWW delegation to Palestine. “By officially supporting this BDS call, the IWW stands shoulder to shoulder with Palestinian workers in a global picket line against Israeli apartheid.”

“Our support of the BDS movement is in line with traditional wobbly principles of anti-racism and international solidarity”

The IWW Friends of Palestinian Workers Group resolves to continue to advance the cause of Palestinian rights inside and outside of the IWW.

Founded in 1905, the IWW is a union with a long tradition of solidarity and anti-militarism, and has been central to some of the most important struggles in US working class history. More recently, the IWW has been successful organizing at Starbucks and in the fast food industry, among workers long thought to be unorganizable. The IWW is an international union, with members across North America, Europe, Australia, and South Africa.


Brazil Recognizes Palestine on 1967 Borders

December 5, 2010

Al Jazeera English reports on the formal recognition by Brazil of Palestine as an independent state.

Brazil recognises Palestine
Israel expresses disappointment over Brazil’s decision to recognise a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders

Israel has expressed disappointment at Brazil’s decision to recognise a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, saying it flew in the face of efforts to negotiate a peace deal.

In a public letter addressed to Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, on Friday, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the Brazilian president, recognised Palestine as an independent state within the 1967 borders.

The decision came in response to a personal request made by Abbas on November 24, according to the letter published on the foreign ministry’s website on Friday.

“Considering that the demand presented by his excellency [Abbas] is just and consistent with the principles upheld by Brazil with regard to the Palestinian issue, Brazil, through this letter, recognises a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders,” it said.

The letter refers to the “legitimate aspiration of the Palestinian people for a secure, united, democratic and economically viable state coexisting peacefully with Israel.”

Israel anger

A statement from the Israeli foreign ministry said: “The government of Israel expresses sadness and disappointment over the decision by the Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva a month before he steps down.

“Recognition of a Palestinian state is a breach of the interim agreement which was signed between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in 1995 which said that the issue of the status of the West Bank and Gaza Strip would be discussed and resolved through negotiations,” it said.

Such a move also contravened the 2003 Middle East roadmap for peace, which said a Palestinian state could only be established through negotiations and not through unilateral actions, the statement said, warning that unilateral steps would harm attempts to build trust.

“Every attempt to bypass this process and to decide in advance in a unilateral manner about important issues which are disputed, only harms trust between the sides, and hurts their commitment to the agreed framework of negotiating towards peace,” the Israeli statement said.

International support

The international community backs Palestinian demands for a state in most of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, all territories occupied by Israel in the 1967 six day war.

But the United States and most Western governments have held back from recognising a Palestinian state, saying it should be brought about through a negotiated peace agreement with Israel.

In a parallel statement, the Brazilian government assured relations with Israel “have never been more robust.”

Brazil has offered to help mediate Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, which were briefly revived in September before grounding to a halt over the resumption of Israeli settlement building in the occupied territories.

Abbas says he will not return to negotiations while Israel continues to build on land the Palestinians want for a future state. But Israel has so far refused to impose a new ban.

Over the last few weeks, Abbas has repeatedly said he would explore other options if peace talks with the Israelis collapse, one of which would see him seeking United Nations’ recognition of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders.

On Thursday, a Palestinian official said Washington had officially informed them that attempts to secure a new Israeli settlement freeze had failed, but US officials refused to confirm or deny the report.

Abbas visited Brazil in 2005 and 2009, and Lula made the first-ever trip by a Brazilian head of state to Palestine and Israel in March this year.


Micheal Keefer Interview in Vue Weekly

September 23, 2010

This week’s Vue Weekly features an interview with Michael Keefer, who is speaking in Edmonton on Monday, September 27 (7:00 pm) in the Telus Building 236/238 on the U of A campus.

Read the rest of this entry »


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