PSN’s first event, held in October 2008, was a workshop discussing the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). Following that event, a small group of individuals committed to upholding justice for Palestinians came together and began to organize in the Edmonton community, hosting a wide range of events focusing on current issues relating to the Palestinian struggle.
PSN then had a presence at Edmonton solidarity rallies in response to Israel’s unjust assault on the people of Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009, and continued this solidarity with a Gaza teach-in held at the University of Alberta, which was attended by more than 200 people.
In collaboration with other organizations, PSN then hosted a January 2009 presentation by Dr. Norman Finkelstein, who spoke out strongly against Israel’s massacre against the people of Gaza to an audience of more than 500 people.
PSN is also very proud to have organized and hosted the inaugural Edmonton Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) in 2009. PSN and its partner groups have organized a total of seven week-long IAW events, bringing to Edmonton a diverse range of speakers, including Craig and Cindy Corrie, Ali Abunimah, Laila el Haddad, Ramzy Baroud, Dalit Baum, Remi Kanazi, Huwaida Arraf, and dozens more.
Another focus of PSN’s work over the years has been to defend the right to freedom of speech, especially as it relates to discussion of Palestine-Israel. When Conservative MP Jason Kenney prevented British MP George Galloway from entering Canada to participate in a speaking tour in support of Palestine, PSN stood up for the free speech of all Canadians by hosting a live video feed at the University of Alberta of his address from New York. We were also a co-sponsor of events in Edmonton with Professor Steven Salaita, and have hosted a number of events related to attempts to silence pro-Palestinian voices. Over the years, PSN has been active in a number of campaigns to ensure a fair and open discussion about the situation in Palestine, speaking out about attempts at censorship on campuses across Canada and pushing back against silencing initiatives such as the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism (CPCCA).
PSN looks forward to continuing its education and solidarity work in Edmonton and on the University of Alberta campus. PSN is grateful to the many Edmonton community groups and institutions for supporting this important work.