Emergency Rally for Gaza, August 9th

August 6, 2014

Emergency Rally for Gaza
Saturday, August 9 (1:00 pm)
Edmonton, Constable Ezio Faraone Park (11004 97 Ave, North side, West of entrance to High Level Bridge).

gaza-war-crimes-2Help spread the word! Invite your friends to the Facebook event.

Join us as we rally in support of the Palestinian call for an August 9 Day of Rage, where activists and supporters of Palestine all over the world will take to the streets with a unified demand for sanctions against Israel.

The Palestinian call says:
“From Gaza under invasion, bombardment, and continuing siege, the horror is beyond words. Medical supplies are exhausted. The death toll has reached 1813 killed (398 children, 207 women, 74 elderly) and 9370 injured (2744 children, 1750 women, 343 elderly). Our hospitals, ambulances, and medical staff are all under attack while on duty. Doctors and paramedics are being killed while evacuating the dead. Our dead are not numbers and statistics to be recounted; they are loved ones, family and friends.

While we have to survive this onslaught, you certainly have the power to help end it the same way you helped overcome Apartheid and other crimes against humanity. Israel is only able to carry out this attack with the unwavering support of governments – this support must end.

This is our third massacre in six years. When not being slaughtered, we remain under siege, an illegal collective punishment of the entire population. Fishermen are shot and killed if they stray beyond a 3 km limit imposed unilaterally by Israel. Farmers are shot harvesting their crops within a border area imposed unilaterally by Israel. Gaza has become the largest open-air prison, a concentration camp since 2006. This time, we want an end to this unprecedented crime against humanity committed with the complicity and support of your own governments!

We are not asking for charity. We are demanding solidarity, because we know that until Israel is isolated and sanctioned, these horrors will be repeated.

Take action this Saturday

1. Make boycotts, divestments and sanctions the main message at every protest around the world. Take banners and placards calling for sanction on Israel to every protest. Tweet them using the hashtag #GazaDayofRage. Email us your pictures and action details to GazaDayofRage@gmail.com.
2. While news of all the mass protests outside Israel’s embassies around the world have given us hope, after weeks of protests, we urge you to intensify your actions. Occupy Israeli embassies, challenge Israeli officials (and others) supporting the current aggression against Gaza whenever they appear in public and stage sit-in in government buildings.
3. Boycott all Israeli products and take action against corporations profiting from Israel’s system of colonialism, occupation and apartheid. March to boycott targets in your city and educate the public about companies complicit in Israel’s ongoing military assault and illegal siege of Gaza.
4. Palestinian trade unions are calling on our brothers and sisters in the trade union movement internationally to stop handling goods imported from or exported to Israel. The trade union movement has a proud history of direct action against Apartheid in South Africa, the Congress of South African Trade Unions has joined us in the call for direct action to end Israel’s impunity.

- See more at: http://www.bdsmovement.net/2014/gaza-calling-all-out-on-saturday-9-august-day-of-rage-12423#sthash.dAsqZQDB.dpuf


Rachel Corrie, 1979-2003

March 16, 2013

rachel corrie 10

Ten years ago today, on March 16, 2003, Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old human rights activist and observer volunteering in Palestine, was killed by an Israeli military Caterpillar D9R bulldozer in the Gaza Strip as she tried to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian family’s home. PSN joins with the Corrie family and all those around the world who today are remembering Rachel’s life, sacrifice, and legacy.

Rachel’s parents, Craig and Cindy, have posted a video blog on the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace & Justice website, writing, “March 16, 2013 marks the 10-year anniversary of our daughter, Rachel Corrie’s death.  We thank you all for the love and support you have sent us over the last 10 years, and we thank you for all the work you do on human rights.  Please view and share this video and act.  Join us at the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice in our call to action!”

You can also remember Rachel by reading the emails she sent home from Palestine in 2003 before she was killed, including this from a February 27, 2003 email:

“Just want to write to my Mom and tell her that I’m witnessing this chronic, insidious genocide and I’m really scared, and questioning my fundamental belief in the goodness of human nature. This has to stop. I think it is a good idea for us all to drop everything and devote our lives to making this stop. I don’t think it’s an extremist thing to do anymore. I still really want to dance around to Pat Benatar and have boyfriends and make comics for my coworkers. But I also want this to stop. Disbelief and horror is what I feel. Disappointment. I am disappointed that this is the base reality of our world and that we, in fact, participate in it.” Read the rest of this entry »


Second Emergency Rally for Gaza in Edmonton

November 20, 2012
CANCELLED: Second Emergency Rally for Gaza in Edmonton
Saturday, November 24

Dear Gaza supporters,

Given that the ceasefire agreement has held since going into effect, PSN has made the decision to cancel Saturday’s rally for Gaza in order to focus efforts on other events related to Gaza.

What Comes Next for Gaza?
Film screening and panel discussion
Wednesday, November 28 (7:00 – 9:00 pm)
Telus Building Room 134
(Corner of 87 Avenue and 111 Street, U of A Campus)
Visit the Facebook event.

Fundraising Dinner for Gaza
Presented by Islamic Relief Canada and The Canada Palestine Cultural Association
Sunday, December 9 (6:00 pm)
Edmonton Islamic Academy
14525-127 Street
Visit the Facebook event.

We strongly encourage you to attend both of these events  to continue to show your support for the people of Gaza. While the latest Israeli assault may be over — at least for now — the 1.6 million Palestinians living in Gaza still face the reality of the crippling Israeli-imposed blockade that has since 2006 all but sealed Gaza off from the rest of the world and turned the tiny territory into an open air prison. Gaza’s infrastructure, which has still not recovered from the 2008-09 assault due to Israeli prohibitions on necessary imports, will remain in crisis. One-third of Gaza’s farmland and 85% of its fishing waters will remain inaccessible, and food insecurity and a lack of safe drinking water will continue to claim Palestinian lives until the Israeli blockade of Gaza is ended. And Gazans will continue to live under the threat of unilateral military action by Israel.


Independent Jewish Voices (IJV) Canada Condemns Jason Kenney’s Attack on Free Speech

March 11, 2012

Independent Jewish Voices, one of the endorsers of Edmonton’s Israeli Apartheid Week, has issued the following statement in response to Jason Kenney’s statement on Israeli Apartheid Week. IJV is also a signatory to an open letter signed by 54 organizations from across Canada which responded to Kenney’s statement.

IJV Canada Condemns Jason Kenney’s Attack on Free Speech

News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 9, 2012

Independent Jewish Voices (IJV) Canada) is demanding that Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney apologize and retract his defamatory statement in which he condemned Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) and its organizers as anti-Semitic.

IJV Canada is a proud sponsor of IAW. Does the Minister believe IJV Canada is also anti-Semitic?

The planning of local IAW events involves Jewish organizers (including IJV members), underscoring the absurdity of Kenney’s implication that the week-long education event is anti-Semitic. And ironically, his claim that IAW “disregards the rights and safety of Jewish students and professors” itself disregards the rights of Jewish students, professors, and community members to voice legitimate criticism of two governments – one in Israel and one in Canada – which both misleadingly claim to speak for them.

And while rooting his opposition to IAW on the pretence of ensuring “academic discourse can take place freely”, attacks on free speech like this latest from Minister Kenney make it much more difficult for academic discourse to take place freely.

Kenney’s claim that IAW organizers are “singling out the only liberal democracy in the Middle East for condemnation” is highly dubious. Firstly, if anyone is singling out Israel, it’s Kenney himself. He’s singling it out for exemption from international law. It’s time for an end to the impunity Israel enjoys in its continued violation of international law. Secondly, we agree with Palestinians living in Israel who are still waiting for democracy (not to mention respect for their rights). IJV members were in the streets in Canada in solidarity with the movements for democracy in Egypt, Tunisia, and elsewhere in the region. We don’t remember seeing you or others in your caucus there Mr. Kenney.

Mr. Kenney claims that “organizers of Israeli Apartheid Week use the cover of academic freedom to demonize and delegitimize the State of Israel”. Firstly, academic freedom is not a cover. It’s a principle, and one which Kenney clearly opposes. Secondly, if anyone is delegitimizing the state of Israel, it is the Israeli government through its wanton killing and collective punishment of civilians, ongoing human rights abuses, warmongering, occupation, and segregation.

Kenney claims that IAW is “overrun by hatred and intolerance”. IAW organizers and speakers welcome constructive discussion and diverse views. It is apologists for Israeli government crimes who spew hatred and intolerance.

Mr. Kenney has a long record of undermining free speech. He was a driving force for the Canadian Parliamentary Committee to Combat Anti-Semitism (CPCCA), which IJV and others have exposed in a recent video as a front group for the pro-Israel lobby. IJV Canada believes that the purpose of this extra-parliamentary committee is to undermine free speech in this country.

Mr. Kenney has also championed the defunding of human rights and social justice groups like the Canadian Arab Federation, KAIROS, and Palestine House for taking (real or perceived) positions critical of federal government policy regarding Israel / Palestine. He attempted (and failed) to ban George Galloway from entering Canada for public speaking events and he has actively sought to deport war resisters, to name just a few examples.

It is not anti-Semitic to criticize Israel. In fact, as a Jewish human rights organization with members and Chapters in major Canadian cities, we believe that we have a moral obligation to do so.

Calling Israel’s policies an apartheid regime is a legitimate political position. Those who claim otherwise simply provide cover for Israel’s violations of international law and don’t seem to care much about free speech.

But we will not be silenced.

We stand with IAW and its organizers. And we will continue to work hand in hand with the movement for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions, until Israel complies with international law.

Web: http://ijvcanada.org/ | Twitter: @JewishCanada


A Palestinian Citizen of the World: In the Memory of Ibrahim Abu-Rabi

July 8, 2011

PSN member Siavash Saffari wrote the following in memory of our friend, Dr. Ibrahim Abu-Rabi.

A Palestinian Citizen of the World
In the Memory of Ibrahim Abu-Rabi

It’s sometime in October 2008. We are organizing PSN’s first event on campus; a small workshop on the BDS campaign. We post posters and send out emails and wait to see what kind of response we get. There hasn’t been a lot of Palestine activism in Edmonton for a while, so we want a chance to get together with other people who are interested and see what can be done. A few days before the event, I get an email from Ibrahim Abu-Rabi. The message starts with “Dear _______,”. Formal but friendly. He introduces himself as a professor at the university; says that he is going to be in Germany (or somewhere else in Europe, I can’t remember) for a few days and will miss the event. He wants to meet when he returns, and would like to help if he can. I google his name and realize that he is the new Islamic Studies chair, a Palestinian from Nazareth, Galilee, with a long CV of work on interfaith dialogue.

A couple of weeks later, I get another email from Ibrahim. He is back in town and wants to meet. He invites me to see him at his office for a chat over a cup of herbal tea. At his office, he greets me with a big smile and some exotic herbal tea that he has brought back from one of his recent trips. He tells me about himself, asks about my research interests, and we end up chatting about Ali Shariati and Muhammad Iqbal for a while. He tells me about a friend in Karachi who is an Iqbal scholar and says if I intend on going to Pakistan he can put me in touch with the friend. Then we talk about Palestine, I tell him about PSN, the workshop, and future plans. He is glad to hear that something is happening. He tells me about his own hopes to get the Palestinian community in Edmonton more engaged and says he’ll help any way he can. We talk about meeting again, maybe this time over some Arabic food at his house.

****

Over the next two and a half years, Professor Abu-Rabi (or “Dr. Ibrahim” as many people in the community call him), spoke at several PSN events, introduced us to many of his friends and colleagues who were also committed to the struggle of the Palestinian people, and was a bridge that connected organizers to the Palestinian community in Edmonton.

The last time he spoke at one of our events was during IAW last March. We were organizing a panel discussion abut the Arab Spring and its impact on Palestine. Philip Weiss was going to talk about the effect of the uprisings on US foreign policy in the Middle East. Ghada Ageel was going to talk about the implications for the Palestinian refugees. We needed another speaker to contextualize the recent changes and talk about different movements across the region. Ibrahim was the obvious choice, and we were hoping that he could find the time between his busy travel schedule and hosting academic or religious delegations from other countries. He was just as comfortable speaking about his homeland of Palestine, as he was speaking about Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Tunisia and many other places where he had lived, visited regularly for research, and took his students and people from the community for education tours.

****

Hamid Dabashi describes Edward Said as an intellectual who “cared deeply for Palestine,” and this care and commitment shaped his “politics and ethics of responsibility towards the rest of the world.” The Dr. Ibrahim that I got to know was one those people. A true “citizen of the world” (as a friend described him), with a deep commitment to the struggle of the Palestinian people against occupation and racism. In an IAW event in 2009, Abu-Rabi read one of his poems called “Who will weep for Palestine?” When I heard the news, I made a cup of herbal tea and listened to his words.

Greet our house for us; oh Stranger,
Kiss the stones of our backyard;
Embrace the leaves of our trees
That have shed so many tears since our departure
And take care of the animals too,
Who have gone hungry since we left
And do not forget to pray at the grave of my mother
For all the strength that I have, has come from her.

And greet Father for us
In the chaos of the night;
In the chaos of departure
He was left behind
And although we smell his presence all the time
He has disappeared from our sight

Do you remember the routes of our migration?
I was a baby then
And my mother forgot me hanging in the saddle of our donkey,
Who was shot for trying to return home.
Since that time I have been weeping
For the death of our beloved donkey
Who sacrificed his soul for mine.

You, who are coming from across the seas
Fortified with the claims of civilization
And the fake mission of peace
Take your civilization away
And leave us to our simple ways, to our fig and olive trees
Take your tanks out of our refugee camps
And take your snipers out of our hearts.

You have been asking us to stop
Our anger at dispossession
At humiliation
So that our Arab Emirs and Sheikhs
Can gamble away the wealth of the desert
Or that their American friends can suck out the oil
From the fossils of the desert;
And get drunk in the corridors of Washington and London.

You can exile us, strangle our kids,
And murder our neighbors.
But please be kind to our dreams, to our past
Do not murder our future together,
Because some day we must learn how to live together.

We, the humiliated and the defeated, have extended our hands to you
all this time, begging you to forgive us for the sins we had never
committed
Begging you to drink our coffee with us
To eat our food with us
And even to sleep in our bed.
But you have refused
You wanted our coffee, our food and our bed without us.

You have thrown us into the nightmare of exile, into the abyss of agony.
You have broken the feet of a whole generation, gouged their eyes,
and left them to bleed to their death
And we are still begging you to be merciful; to be mindful of our plight
We still believe there is an atom of humanity within you.

How sad is it to walk the streets of cold New England
Holding the Departed Ones? hands
And how sad is it to think of your eyes
That are full of tears?
And how tragic that I am left alone after your departure from this life
Left alone, unprotected and unsafe!
Please take time from your place of rest to call on me.

Remember the aroma of coffee coming out
from many a chimney of sleepy villages
And the smoke coming out of the nostrils
of old men and women smoking the Huka?

Where do we go from here?
When we are burdened with our tragedy
When we are not left in peace alone
Where do we go from here?


Defend Academic Freedom and the Right to Talk About BDS

August 25, 2009

NeveGordon-200

On Thursday, August 20 the LA Times published an op-ed in which Ben Gurion University Professor Neve Gordon, a prominent political scientist and long-time peace activist, wrote that the question that kept him up at night, both as a parent and as an Israeli citizen, was how to ensure that his two children as well as the children of his Palestinian neighbors do not grow up in an apartheid regime. His pained conclusion is that the only strategy left is “massive international pressure” in the form of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). He therefore endorses the Palestinian BDS campaign proposed by a wide swath of Palestinian civil society.

Following the publication of the article there has been a vehement and aggressive attack against Gordon in Israel that calls into serious question Israel’s commitment to academic freedom and the democratic right to free speech.

We now believe that “massive international pressure” will be needed to keep him from being fired from his job.

Read the rest of this entry »


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