Why BDS Matters: A Town Hall Discussion

September 26, 2016

bdstownhall_sm

Why BDS Matters: A Town Hall Discussion
Wednesday, October 26 (7:00 – 9:00 pm)
Edmonton Clinic Health Academy (ECHA) Room 2-190
SW corner of 87 Avenue & 114 Street, U of A campus (map)

RSVP and invite your friends on the Facebook event page.

At its August 2016 convention in Ottawa the Green Party of Canada passed a policy resolution to become the first (and only) party with representation in the House of Commons to publicly support elements of the Palestinian-led call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) to pressure Israel to respect international law, and oppose efforts to “prohibit, punish or otherwise deter expressions of support for BDS.”

The Green Party quickly came under intense pressure from pro-Israeli organizations for its democratic adoption of the resolution. Green Party Leader Elizabeth May reacted by expressing her disagreement with the resolution, firing three members of her shadow cabinet who publicly supported the resolution, and calling a “special general meeting” on December 3-4 in Calgary to revisit, and potentially reverse, the resolution.

This public town hall is an opportunity for students, the general public, members of all political parties, and Green Party members of all perspectives on the resolution to learn more about the reality and aims of the Palestinian-led call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS), why the Green Party resolution is significant, and what can be done to support BDS and the resolution.

The evening will feature presentations by Dimitri Lascaris, former Justice Critic of the Green Party of Canada Shadow Cabinet and author and submitter of the resolution; and Yves Engler, author of the new book, A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Exploitation, followed by ample time for discussion and debate from attendees.

This is a free event, donations are welcome.

Organized by Palestine Solidarity Network and Green Party Members in Support of BDS.

About the speakers:

Dimitri Lascaris was the author and submitter of the Green Party resolution on “Palestinian Self-Determination and the Movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” and was justice critic in the Green Party of Canada Shadow Cabinet before he was removed in September by leader Elizabeth May.

He graduated from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in 1991, and is a practicing lawyer called to the bars of Ontario, the State of New York, and the Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York. He graduated from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in 1991. In 2012, Canadian Lawyer Magazine identified Mr. Lascaris as one of the 25 most influential lawyers in Canada, and in 2013, Canadian Business Magazine identified him as one of the 50 most influential people in Canadian business.

Lascaris is Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Unity Project for the Relief of Homelessness, and is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Real News Network, an independent, not-for-profit media organization based in Baltimore, Maryland. He previously served as a Board member of Toronto 350.org.

In the 2015 federal election, he ran as the Green Party candidate in the riding of London West.

Yves Engler, the former vice-president of the Concordia Student Union, is a Montréal-based activist and author. He is the author of the recently released book A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Exploitation, and has published eight other books: Canada in Africa — 300 Years of Aid and Exploitation, The Ugly Canadian — Stephen Harper’s Foreign Policy, Lester Pearson’s Peacekeeping — The Truth May Hurt, Stop Signs — Cars and Capitalism on the Road to Economic, Social and Ecological Decay (with Bianca Mugyenyi), The Black Book of Canadian Foreign Policy (Shortlisted for the Mavis Gallant Prize for Non Fiction in the Quebec Writers’ Federation Literary Awards), Playing Left Wing: From Rink Rat to Student Radical, Canada in Haiti: Waging War on The Poor Majority (with Anthony Fenton), and Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid.

Getting there:

The Edmonton Clinic Health Academy (ECHA) is located on the southwest corner of 87 Avenue and 114 Street on the University of Alberta campus (map). ECHA is adjacent to the Jubliee Auditorium.

The building’s north entrance is closest to Room 2-190.

Parking

Parking is available at the Jubilee car park (map) and just across the street on the northeast corner of 87 Avenue and 114 Street the Education car park (map).

Transit

Take the LRT to the Health Sciences Centre Station, which is located just south of ECHA or take Edmonton transit to the 114 Street and 89 Avenue stop of the University of Alberta bus loop (map) and walk just south to ECHA.

Bike

Ample bicycle parking is located near the north entrance of ECHA.


Open Bethlehem Film Screening

September 7, 2016

open-bethlehem

Open Bethlehem
Film screening and Q&A with Director Leila Sansour and Executive Producer Wael Kabbani
Tuesday, September 27 (7:00-9:00 pm)
Education Centre South, Room 129
87 Avenue & 113 Street, U of A campus (map)

RSVP and invite your friends on the Facebook event page.

PSN is pleased to co-sponsor with Development and Peace the Edmonton premiere of Open Bethlehem as part of the Edmonton Peace Festival.

Following the screening, there will be a Q&A with Director Leila Sansour and Executive Producer Wael Kabbani, followed by a discussion and an informal reception.

Everyone is welcome, admission by donation.

About the film

Film director Leila Sansour returns to Bethlehem to make a film about her home town, soon to be encircled by a wall. Armed with her camera and a dilapidated family car that keeps breaking down, Leila plans to make an epic film about a legendary town in crisis but just few months into filming her life and the film take an unexpected turn when cousin Carol, Leila’s last relative in town, persuades her to stay to start a campaign to save the city.

Open Bethlehem is a story of a homecoming to the world’s most famous little town. The film spans seven momentous years in the life of Bethlehem, revealing a city of astonishing beauty and political strife under occupation. The film draws from 700 hours of original footage and some rare archive material.

While telling a personal story, the film charts the creation of a campaign to compel international action to bring peace to the Middle East.


Sharing Tea Amidst Conflict

June 15, 2016

eappi

Amnesty International Edmonton is hosting an event focused on Palestine/Israel at its upcoming general meeting, which is open to the public:

Sharing Tea Amidst Conflict
Tuesday, June 21 (7:00 pm)

McKernan Community Hall 
11341 78 Avenue (map)

How can there be peace in Israel and Palestine? Can you have peace without justice? Is a two state solution even possible? These questions stirred Debbie Hubbard and Dean Reidt to volunteer to serve for three months as human rights observers in the occupied territories of Palestine. The answers to those questions became clearer as they worked along side Palestinian and Israeli activists from October 2014 to January 2015 in East Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

They will be sharing stories of their experiences and some of the reality on the ground that they witnessed.

In the words of the late Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe “until lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.” This is an opportunity to hear the story from a perspective that is often not shared in the Canadian media.

This even is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Kirk Starkie at kirk.starkie@gmail.com


The Nakba at 68

May 15, 2016

013_ashraf_ghareeb_pppa

On May 15, 2016 Palestinians worldwide will mark 68 years since the Nakba (Arabic for “catastrophe”): the dispossession, forced exile, and ethnic cleansing of some 750,000 Palestinians from their land before and during the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.

Here are some resources to help you learn about the Nakba:

Visualizing Palestine has created an interactive map showing 143 years of colonization and 68 years of the Nakba.

Read Lessons on the Anniversary of the Nakba on The Palestine Chronicle.

The Institute for Middle East Understanding has updated its page of quick facts on the Nakba.

Read Ghada Ageel’s excellent article from last year’s commemoration, “The Nakba 67 years on: Holding tight to our long postponed dreams.”

Visualizing Palestine has created an interactive tool to show Palestine shrinking and Israel expanding since 1948.

For an in-depth history of the Nakba and Plan Dalet, read Ilan Pappé’s The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.

Al Jazeera in 2008 produced an award-winning series on the Nakba, which you can watch for free below.

Parts 1 & 2:

Parts 3 & 4:

Here are some key facts and figures about the Nakba from the Institute for Middle East Understanding:

General Facts & Figures

  • The Palestinian “Nakba” (“catastrophe” in Arabic) refers to the mass expulsion of Palestinian Arabs from British Mandate Palestine during Israel’s creation (1947-49).
  • The Nakba was not an unintended result of war. It was a deliberate and systematic act necessary for the creation of a Jewish majority state in historic Palestine, which was overwhelmingly Arab prior to 1948. Internally, Zionist Jewish leaders used the euphemism “transfer” when discussing plans for what today would be called ethnic cleansing.
  • The Nakba’s roots lay in the emergence of political Zionism in 19th century Europe, when some Jews, influenced by the nationalism then sweeping the continent, concluded that the remedy to centuries of anti-Semitic persecution in Europe and Russia was the creation of a nation state for Jews in Palestine and began emigrating as colonists to the Holy Land, displacing indigenous Palestinians in the process.
  • In November 1947, following the horrors of World War II and the Nazi genocide of European Jewry, the newly-created United Nations approved a plan to partition Mandate Palestine into Jewish and Arab states. It allocated approximately 55% of the land to the proposed Jewish state, although Zionist Jews owned only about 7% of the private land in Palestine and made up only about 33% of the population, a large percentage of whom were recent immigrants from Europe. The Palestinian Arab state was to be created on 42% of Mandate Palestine, with Jerusalem becoming an international city. (See here for map of the partition plan and subsequent 1949 armistice lines.)
  • Almost immediately after the partition plan was passed, violence broke out and large-scale expulsions of Palestinians began, long before the armies of neighboring Arab states became involved. When Zionist forces finished expanding, the new state of Israel comprised 78% of historic Palestine, with the remainder, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza, falling under the control of Jordan and Egypt, respectively. In the 1967 War, Israel occupied the remaining 22% and began colonizing them shortly thereafter.
  • The Nakba did not end in 1948 and continues until today, in the form of Israel’s ongoing theft of Palestinian land for settlements and for Jewish communities inside Israel, its destruction of Palestinian homes and agricultural land, revocation of residency rights , deportations, periodic brutal military assaults that result in mass civilian casualties such as the one that took place in Gaza in the summer of 2014, and the denial of the internationally recognized legal right of return of millions of stateless Palestinian refugees.

The Nakba by the Numbers

  • Between 750,000 and one million: The number of Palestinians expelled and made refugees by Zionist paramilitaries, and subsequently Israeli forces, during Israel’s creation in 1947-49.
  • Between 250,000 and 350,000: The number of Palestinians expelled from their homes by Zionist paramilitaries between the passage of the UN partition plan in November 1947 and Israel’s declaration of independence on May 15, 1948 – prior to the start of the war with neighboring Arab states.
  • Approximately 7.1 million: The number of Palestinian refugees and displaced persons as of 2009, including Nakba survivors and their descendants. They are located mostly in the occupied West Bank and neighboring Arab countries such as Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria, denied their internationally recognized legal right to return to their homeland by Israel, simply because they are not Jewish.
  • Approximately 150,000 : The number of Palestinians who remained inside what became Israel’s borders in 1948, many of them internally displaced. These Palestinians (sometimes called “Israeli Arabs”) were granted Israeli citizenship but stripped of most of their land and placed under martial law until 1966. Today, there are approximately 1.6 million Palestinian citizens of Israel, who live as second-class citizens in their own homeland, subject to more than 50 laws that discriminate against them because they are not Jewish.
  • At least two dozen: The number of massacres of Palestinian civilians by Zionist and Israeli forces, which played a crucial role in spurring the mass flight of Palestinians from their homes.
  • Approximately 100: The number of Palestinian civilians, including women and children, massacred in the town of Deir Yassin on April 9, 1948, by members of the Irgun and Stern Gang, pre-state Zionist terrorist organizations led by future Israeli prime ministers Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, respectively.
  • More than 400: The number of Palestinian cities and towns systematically destroyed by Israeli forces or repopulated with Jews between 1948 and 1950. Most Palestinian population centers, including homes, businesses, houses of worship, and vibrant urban centers, were demolished to prevent the return of their Palestinian owners, now refugees outside of Israel’s pre-1967 borders, or internally displaced inside of them. (See here for interactive map of Palestinian population centers destroyed during Israel’s creation.)
  • Approximately 4,244,776: The number of acres of Palestinian land expropriated by Israel during and immediately following its creation in 1948.
  • Between $100 and $200 billion: The total estimated monetary loss of Palestinians dispossessed during Israel’s creation, in current US dollars.

 


Day Of The Land Potluck Dinner

March 25, 2016

ld18

Our friends at the Canada-Palestine Cultural Association are hosting their annual Day of the Land event:

Day of the Land Potluck Dinner
Sunday, April 3 (5:30 pm)
Edmonton Islamic Academy
14525 127 Street
(map)

Canada-Palestine Cultural Association (CPCA) would like to invite you to join us for the Day of the Land Potluck Dinner. We would like to ask you kindly to bring along a Palestinian authentic dish.

Tickets are $5 each and will be available at the door.

Dress to impress in your best Palestinian Traditional Clothes.

Hope to see you all there and please share with your families and friends.

Full details are on the CPCA website and Facebook event page.


March 24 IAW 2016 Event

March 24, 2016

freespeech

BDS, Dissidence, and the Fight for Free Speech
Featuring Nisha Nath and Dax D’Orazio
Thursday, March 24 (7:00 – 9:00 pm)
Edmonton Clinic Health Academy (ECHA) Room 1-190
SW corner of 87 Avenue & 114 Street, U of A campus (map)

RSVP and invite your friends on the Facebook event page.

On February 22 the Parliament of Canada passed by a margin of 229-51 (with 57 absences or abstentions) a Conservative motion to “reject the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement” and “call upon the government to condemn any and all attempts by Canadian organizations, groups or individuals to promote the BDS movement, both here at home and abroad.”

The motion was the just the latest in a string of international moves aimed at slowing the rapid growth of support for the global Palestinian-led BDS movement. More than two dozen nation, state, or local laws against BDS have been put forward in the United States since 2015, the UK recently banned publicly funded institutions from participating in BDS, and Israel itself has had an anti-BDS law in place since 2011.

But these official moves are just the most recent attack on free speech related to BDS. For years, BDS campaigns by Palestinian solidarity activists on university campuses have been stifled or silenced by anti-boycott campaigns.

This panel will explore the aims of the BDS movement, official reactions to it, the relevance of the anti-BDS backlash in the context of increasingly neoliberal and militarized spheres of power, and what the implications are for broader movements of marginalized/oppressed/dissident people’s movements and free speech.

* While PSN cannot provide childcare for this event, this event is child inclusive so children of all ages are welcome in the room during the panel.

Nisha Nath is a long-time supporter of Palestine Solidarity Network-Edmonton and is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta. Nisha is also a contributing editor with Voices-voix and the Dissent, Democracy and the Law Research Network. Her research looks at race, security, dissent and citizenship in Canada.

Dax D’Orazio is former member of Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) at Carleton University in Ottawa, which campaigned for the university to divest its pension fund from four companies complicit in human rights violations in Palestine. He is now a PhD student in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta.


Getting There

The Edmonton Clinic Health Academy (ECHA) is located on the southwest corner of 87 Avenue and 114 Street on the University of Alberta campus (map). ECHA is adjacent to the Jubliee Auditorium.

The building’s north entrance is closest to Room 1-190.

Parking

Parking is available at the Jubilee car park (map) and just across the street on the northeast corner of 87 Avenue and 114 Street the Education car park (map).

Transit

Take the LRT to the Health Sciences Centre Station, which is located just south of ECHA.

Take Edmonton transit to the 114 Street and 89 Avenue stop of the University of Alberta bus loop (map) and walk just south to ECHA.

Cycling

Ample bicycle parking is located near the north entrance of ECHA.


March 23 IAW 2016 Event

March 23, 2016

The Wanted 18
Film Screening
Wednesday, March 23 (7:00 – 9:00 pm)
Education Centre South, Room 129
87 Avenue & 113 Street, U of A campus (map)

RSVP and invite your friends on the Facebook event page.

It’s 1987, and the first Palestinian Intifada (uprising) against the Israeli occupation is spreading across the West Bank.

Residents of the village of Beit Sahour want local alternatives to Israeli goods, including milk, which they’ve been buying from an Israeli company. Activists in the town decide to create a co-operative dairy farm, and purchase 18 cows from an Israeli kibbutz and transport them to the West Bank.

And so begins the strange story of the 18 cows.

After some trial and error, the newly minted “lactivists” succeed, the population comes to depend on the “Intifada milk,” and the cows become a symbol of freedom and resistance. But soon the illegal cows, cherished by the Palestinians, were being sought by the Israeli army and declared “a threat to the State of Israel.”

Will the Wanted 18 live to milk another day?

With humour and passion, this film captures the spirit of the First Intifada through the personal experiences of those who lived it. Acclaimed Palestinian artist Amer Shomali illustrated The Wanted 18 and co-directed it with veteran Canadian filmmaker Paul Cowan, combining stop-motion animation, interviews, drawings and archival material to bring to life one of the strangest chapters in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Poignant and thought-provoking, humorous and serious, it shows the power of grassroots activism, peaceful resistance and courage.

National Film Board of Canada, 2014, 75 minutes


Getting There

Education Centre South is located on 87 Avenue at 113 Street on the University of Alberta campus (map).

Parking

Parking is available the Education car park (map), located just west of Education South on the northeast corner of 87 Avenue and 114 Street.

Transit

Take the LRT or Edmonton transit to the University Station and walk one block south to Education Centre south (map).

Cycling

Ample bicycle parking is located near the east entrance of Education Centre South.