Palestinian films and Canadian activism: can watching help?

Netflix recently distributed a wide selection of Palestinian films; some of these focused on Palestinian refugees outside the Occupied Territories. The complex situation for these refugees usually leaves viewers with as many questions as answers. For Canadians who do watch, will viewing lead to deeper awareness? Is it too hopeful to think these stories on film could ever move viewers on to more active forms of support? This and other questions will form the basis of the first “Dialogue with the Diaspora” webinar organized by the Canadian-Palestinian Education Exchange (CEPAL) and sponsored by PSN.

Prior to the webinar, you are invited to view the representative documentary film Soufra. Its story follows a group of women entrepreneurs at the Burj al Barajneh camp in south Beirut. In the face of huge obstacles, they show unrelenting belief in each other, and their small business begins to take root. But the real test comes next, when they attempt to add on a food truck service which could carry business outside of their camp. (Click here for Soufra trailer.)

Click here to register for the webinar, and to receive a link to our sponsored viewing platform. Watch the film, at a time good for you and then join us for the panel discussion on November 18 (6pm, MST, 8PM Eastern)

Panelists include:

Robert Allison, Communications Director, Hamilton Voices of Palestine Film Screenings
Dania Majid, Programmer and Media Relations, Toronto Palestine Film Festival
Thomas Morgan, Producer-director of Soufra, and other films
Henry Zaccak, Moderator, President, Canadian-Palestinian Education Exchange

View Soufra on-line, some time prior to the webinar.

(viewing time: 70 minutes)

Netflix Launches New Palestinian Film Collection – Check Out Full List

US-based streaming service Netflix launched a new Palestinian film collection on Thursday, Reuters reported.

The collection, titled ‘Palestinian Stories’, consists in 32 films that are “either helmed by Palestinian filmmakers or about Palestinian stories,” Netflix said in a statement released on Tuesday. 

Source: https://www.palestinechronicle.com/netflix-launches-new-palestinian-film-collection-check-out-full-list/?fbclid=IwAR2sEFjzS_Q_dfDmtDbiDjEIdaf-mIqb7QuC6T1sc845bs3PrXqNxhBXdt0

Arrest, detention and interrogation of Palestinian teenagers living in the West Bank

A special webinar organized by Stand Up for Palestinian Children’s Rights”, a broad based cross-Canada planning committee,in collaboration with the Ottawa Forum on Israel/Palestine (OFIP).

Oct 13, 2021 12:00 PM (noon) Eastern Time (US and Canada) 

Imagine heavily armed soldiers breaking into your home at 2 am, dragging your teenager out of bed and taking him off to be interrogated!
Hundreds of Palestinian children are arrested in this way every year by the Israeli military.  Many on “suspicion” of stone throwing which can bring a sentence of up to 10 years in jail. Their parents can also be arrested.
In custody the children may be subjected to physical and/or psychological torture to reveal the names of their friends.  The conviction rate of the children is 99%.
Canadians Kathy Bergen and Dorcas Gordon will interview two on the spot observers – one Palestinian and one Israeli – from Jerusalem about this horrifying situation.

Salwa Dubais from Military Court Watch will tell us about the impact on Palestinian families and the difficulties teens face after their imprisonment. 
Dani Shenhar from HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual (an Israeli human rights organization assisting Palestinians of the occupied territories whose rights are violated due to Israel’s policies) will explain the difference in laws governing Palestinian and Israeli youth.

What can Canadians do?
In 2020 the Canadian government admitted it is aware of what is happening.  Yet no obvious action has been taken. Might the appointment of a Canadian special envoy help to change this?To learn more and join the conversation, you are invited to a Zoom webinar. 

When: Oct 13, 2021 12:00 PM (noon) Eastern Time (US and Canada) 
Topic: Arrest and detention of Palestinian children

By registration only. To register in advance for this webinar:
https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_1rswWd7cTBCu1IuLUuC96A

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Aid to Gaza

Fourteen years of a brutal, life-threatening blockade has denied Gaza of water, food, electricity, shelter and held two million people captive. Gaza was deemed “unlivable” by international agencies in 2020. Now the recent Israeli bombardment has only worsened the humanitarian disaster:
roughly 60,000 people have been made homeless by the bombing, 800,000 people left without access to piped water.  Six hospitals and eleven primary health-care centers, as well as 54 schools and educational facilities, damaged by the bombing.

With a severe lack of fuel due to the Israeli blockade and recent bombing damage to the electricity network, Gazans are reduced to an average of 4-6 hours of electricity per day. Besides the terrible impact on daily life, the lack of electricity hugely compounds the difficulty in providing health care. Gaza’s health system was already completely overwhelmed by a surge in COVID-19 cases in 2021; now the only laboratory for Covid-19 testing has been damaged.

About half of Gaza’s population is under 18, and there are many children who have lived through several of these terrifying Israel bombardments in their short lives. Even before this latest destruction, 80% or more of the population was dependent on humanitarian aid for survival. Now the need is more urgent than ever.

HOW YOU CAN HELP NOW
Besides advocating for justice for the Palestinian people, we know we are also called to help those in dire need. There are many options for your giving; here are three respected organizations that have a good track record of getting urgent aid into the hands and homes of those who need it. (Courtesy of United Methodists for Kairos Response)

1) UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) 

2) M.A.P. (Medical Aid to Palestine)

3) Care Canada

Webinar: The Use and Misuse of Antisemitism Accusations in Canada

June 10, 2021 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm EDT

In the last month Israel’s grave human rights abuses have received unprecedented recognition and public condemnation in Canada. Across the country we have seen mass protests and demonstrations in many cities, statements by sitting MPs and senators, and the multiplication of calls for boycotts and sanctions. In response, the institutional Jewish community has linked these protests and condemnations to claims that there has been a significant rise in antisemitism, conflating the movement for Palestinian liberation with hatred towards Jews.

Complicating these claims are the isolated incidents of antisemitism which have taken place, some of which have been shown to be false, and others that can only be seen as verifiable instances of Jew-hatred.

How are we to understand the institutional Jewish community’s attempts to conflate a liberatory popular movement for Palestine with rising antisemitism? How is antisemitism being weaponized to push back against the growing movement for Palestinian liberation, and how can we work to counter this weaponization while standing steadfast against real antisemitism? What is the political strategy being used in this current moment to attack the Palestine solidarity movement, and how does that strategy rely on faulty assumptions and the structures of racism embedded in Canada?These are some of the questions this webinar will seek to address. IJV is proud to host experts from both academic and political backgrounds to engage these difficult but important topics. By discussing antisemitism, its history of weaponization in Canada, and our institutional Jewish community, the speakers will seek to gain a clearer insight of what is really happening, and what we need to do about it.

Click here to register!

United Nations Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk on Gaza

Once again, missiles and rockets flew between Israel and Gaza. When the ceasefire was finally declared on Thursday, at least 242 Palestinians – including at least 66 children – in Gaza had been killed, along with 10 Israelis, including two children. At least 14 Palestinians in the West Bank protesting the violence in Gaza were killed by Israeli security forces. Gaza suffered immense property destruction. And 75,000 Palestinians were forced to seek shelter in UN schools and other locations to escape the missiles.

As international human rights observers, we believe that the firing by Israel of missiles and shells into heavily populated areas of Gaza, its dreadful toll on civilians, property destruction and bombing of international media offices constitute war crimes. We also believe that the firing of rockets by Palestinian armed groups into Israeli urban areas violates international law. These actions must be investigated by the International Criminal Court.

Click here to read the rest of Michael Lynk’s article

(courtesy of Amnesty International)

PSN Statement on Antisemitism

Amid an upsurge in reports of antisemitic incidents in recent weeks, the Edmonton Palestine Solidarity Network reiterates that we categorically condemn and denounce all acts of antisemitism in the strongest possible terms. Those committing such attacks are not in solidarity with Palestinians, they are in solidarity with racism, the very force we are struggling to overcome.

We are committed to the liberation of the Palestinian people and are opposed to Israeli war crimes and their continued violation of Palestinian human rights, which have escalated in recent weeks. We are also committed to fighting all forms of racism, including antisemitism, with our allies.

PSN Reading Group

A new PSN Reading Group has just been initiated; the book to be discussed will be Decolonizing Israel, Liberating Palestine, a recently released title by Jeff Halper. If time permits, we may also consider Jonathan Kuttab’s, Beyond the Two-State Solution and then subsequently compare the political proposals and strategies for peace that are outlined in the two works.

An organizing meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 24 at 7pm to decide how to organize the readings and discussion, and how often and when to meet. If you are interested in being part of this, please email psnedmonton@gmail.com. We’ll get back with more details and a Zoom link for the organizational meeting.