Inside Israel’s Race Wars with Journalist David Sheen

February 12, 2015

Inside Israel’s Race Wars
Featuring David Sheen
Monday, March 2 (7:00 – 9:00 pm)
Edmonton Clinic Health Academy (ECHA) Room 1-498
South Corner of 87 Avenue and 114 Street, U of A Campus
(Click here for map)

Help us spread the word! Invite your friends to the Facebook event!

Journalist David Sheen will give a lecture and slideshow about Israeli incitement to racist violence, the focus of his on-the-ground reporting for the past five years. The core of Sheen’s presentation concerns the dehumanizing discourse towards African asylum seekers, Palestinians, and other non-Jews by top Israeli political and religious leaders, and the vigilante attacks they inspire, which spiked during last summer’s assault on the Gaza Strip. The presentation will include material Sheen presented at the Russell Tribunal on Palestine in Brussels, as well as some brand new information that has not previously been made public.

About David Sheen

David Sheen is an independent journalist and filmmaker originally from Toronto, Canada who now lives in Dimona, Israel. Sheen began blogging when he first moved to Israel in 1999 and later went on to work as a reporter and editor at the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz. He now writes for a variety of local, regional and international outlets, and his work is quoted in publications like The New York Times and The Guardian. Sheen is currently writing a book about African immigrants to Israel and the struggles they face. His website is and he tweets from @davidsheen.

My Grandmother In Gaza: Bury Me Under the Mulberry Tree, Not In the Cemetery

July 19, 2014


Read PSN member Dr. Ghada Ageel’s article which was published July 19 on Alternet.

My Grandmother In Gaza: Bury Me Under the Mulberry Tree, Not In the Cemetery
Palestinian refugees under attack long for home in their ancestral villages

Ghada Ageel | July 19, 2014

I speak to friends and family in Gaza every day. The stories they tell tear at my soul. I ask myself if President Barack Obama, at the pinnacle of power, hears the same harrowing accounts in his morning briefs from the NSA, CIA and other agencies. Reason says no. No report can tell of the terror Palestinians are enduring – particularly now with the ground war apparently getting underway – and the heartbreak they have lived for more than 66 years. These agencies assess raw numbers and immediate risk, but are not capable of grasping the horrors in Gaza caused by American weaponry and aid to Israel.

Do president Obama’s morning briefs mention my friend Abeer, who told me her three children — ages four to seven — are now using diapers from the fear caused by hourly Israeli bombardment?

Do the president’s morning reports tell of my ill, octogenarian grandmother who, in the event of her death, asked my uncle to dig a hole and bury her under the mulberry tree in her home in Khan Younis refugee camp and not to bury her in the family cemetery? This is not dementia. Sixty-six years of dispossession and upheaval have not robbed her of her wits. She is all too aware that the cemetery is often hit by American F-16s. In that cemetery, there is no dignity even in death.

Do the president’s morning reports tell of the humanity that still exists in a Gaza wracked by bombs and siege?  Where medicine is running low, one neighbor still shares blood pressure medication with another neighbor. Expelled from our homes 66 years ago, we still look out for each other and know that one day we will return home against all odds and all armaments that those who usurped our land throw at us day and night. That principle of protecting our neighbors through thick and thin, and the resolution not to be dispossessed again, undoubtedly played a part in the massacre at the Kwari’ family home when neighbors did not flee the targeted home but massed to it in defiance of the Israeli missile that soon leveled the home in total disregard for human life.

The property deeds that many Palestinian refugee families still possess is evidence our existence was once very different than the one that ekes out a living today in a spit of land 25 miles long by six miles wide. Journalists reporting from Ashkelon may disparage “terrorist” rockets and ignore our aspirations, but what terms do they use for those who expelled Palestinians from Al-Majdal? With expulsion, Ashkelon thrived on the ruins of that Palestinian community and the story is the same in hundreds of places across modern-day Israel.

I shout at anchors and correspondents, are we not humans?  Are we not allowed equal rights? Are we not permitted to return to our homes and lands?  When will you tell our history and not begin it last month?

Will conservative American politicians deny us the property rights and resistance rights they treasure? Will liberal American politicians deny us equal rights and subject us to Israeli segregation and apartheid-like Bantustans?

Yes, they will. They have done so for decades. And there is no salvation in looking to them. But the principles that galvanized the great social movements of the 20th century are open to the people of any land. We will seek equality and the right of return to our homeland and Israelis will find there is sufficient space for all of us.

A wrenching battle, however, lies ahead to achieve the equality and rights so many Palestinians envision. The lynch mobs that marauded through Jerusalem in recent days, pitched into frenzy by the rhetoric of vengeance emanating from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his partners, burned away the life of young Muhammad Abu Khdeir, and Israeli police nearly beat the life out of his younger Palestinian-American cousin, Tareq Abu Khdeir. Their enraged bigotry speaks of an Israel descending into the swamp of hate akin to the Jim Crow laws in American South.

The story of the current violence did not start on June 12 with the brutal killing of three Israeli teens as the cable news programs often suggest. Nor did it start with the killing of two Palestinian teens on May 15 in what Human Rights Watch now calls an “apparent war crime.”  No, the conflict started years ago when world leaders decided that Palestinian pain at the loss of their children didn’t count for much. Those unnoticed deaths have created an indignation and righteous fury that no Israeli missile will ever stop and no presidential report will ever explain.

This conflict is not complicated, as defenders of Israeli expansion would have one believe. In fact, it is very simple. Restoring some semblance of stability in this part of the world requires the fulfillment of Palestinian rights. Despite its military might, Israel cannot bomb away the Palestinian desire to live in freedom and dignity and with the rights sought by people the world over.

My grandmother may some day be buried in Khan Younis refugee camp under a mulberry tree. But her descendants will be buried in Beit Daras, the village of her childhood, having lived a full life, with equal rights, in a country Palestinians and Jews can only begin to imagine through the smoky horrors currently being visited on Gaza.

Ghada Ageel is a visiting professor at the University of Alberta (Edmonton) and a member of Faculty for Palestine, Alberta.

5 Broken Cameras Screening and Fundraiser

February 23, 2014


Islamic Relief at the University of Alberta, a new student group on the university campus, is hosting a film screening of the 2013 Academy Award Nominated Palestinian film 5 Broken Cameras to raise awareness around the suffering that both Palestinian and Syrian refugees face.

5 Broken Cameras
Film screening and discussion
Wednesday, February 26 (5:00 – 7:00 pm)
Telus Building Room 236/238
Corner of 111 Street & 87 Avenue, University of Alberta Campus
(Click here for map)

Everyone is welcome! Admission to the event is by donation, and all proceeds will be going towards Syrian and Palestinian refugees. Light refreshments will be provided!

About 5 Broken Cameras:

5 Broken Cameras is a deeply personal, first-hand account of non-violent resistance in Bil’in, a West Bank village threatened by encroaching Israeli settlements. Shot almost entirely by Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat, who bought his first camera in 2005 to record the birth of his youngest son, the footage was later given to Israeli co-director Guy Davidi to edit. Structured around the violent destruction of each one of Burnat’s cameras, the filmmakers’ collaboration follows one family’s evolution over five years of village turmoil. Burnat watches from behind the lens as olive trees are bulldozed, protests intensify, and lives are lost. “I feel like the camera protects me,” he says, “but it’s an illusion.”

No Electoral Options for Pro-Palestinian Canadians

December 6, 2013


Following the November 29 release of a transcript revealing Green Party leader Elizabeth May’s perspectives on the situation in Palestine, which led to her being dropped as a keynote speaker at a fundraiser for Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, the Montreal Media Co-op‘s Dru Oja Jay offers this relatively bleak assessment about options for Canadian voters concerned with Palestinian human rights.

Canadian Voters May Only Support Destruction of Palestinian Villages
Four national parties now endorse dispossession in the Negev
by Dru Oja Jay

Elizabeth May made enemies on both sides of the Israeli-Palestine conflict this week when she accepted to speak at an event organized by Canadians for Peace and Justice in the Middle East (CPJME), then derided that organization as “anti-Israel” in an interview with the B’nai Brith-run Jewish Tribune, then issued a denial that she had called CPJME anti-Israel, provoking the wrath of the Tribune editors, who released a full transcript and recording in which she does in fact denounce CPJME as “anti-Israel.” CPJME then cancelled her speaking event.  It was surprisingly flat-footed for someone who has been the leader of a national political party for the last seven years.

What’s missing from the discussion is that May’s pandering marks the official end of choice when it comes to Canada’s relationship with what Stephen Harper recently called “that light of freedom and democracy in what is otherwise a region of darkness,” Israel. Not one political party that is technically capable of winning a majority in Canada’s parliament is — as of now — willing to put up any resistance to Israel’s military occupation, belligerence, or ongoing campaign of dispossession against the Palestinians. Read the rest of this entry »

Vue Weekly Article on Corries IAW 2013 Keynote

February 28, 2013


This week’s Vue Weekly features an interview with IAW keynotes Craig and Cindy Corrie and a discussion of Edmonton’s Fifth Annual Israeli Apartheid Week.

What happened in Gaza
Parents of deceased activist Rachel Corrie to keynote Israeli Apartheid Week

Rebecca Medel /

Cindy Corrie says she’ll always remember the first night her daughter Rachel called home from Gaza, where she was protesting Israeli occupation of Palestinian land with the International Solidarity Movement.

“Her voice trembled when she asked if we could hear the shelling outside. And she was staying in the same house when she made that call; that was the house that she stood in front of when she was killed,” Cindy says. “But then during the weeks that followed she connected with the Palestinians and became so connected to the people and the children and the families that she was working with. We saw her confidence grow and I think ours did, too.”

Rachel was killed on March 16, 2003,  less than two months after her arrival in Rafah, when she stood in front of a Palestinian home that was to be demolished. An Israeli bulldozer scooped her up in a pile of dirt and then ran her over, fracturing her body and skull. Fellow activists dug her out of the dirt and held her head straight as they waited for an ambulance, but Rachel died in the hospital half an hour later. Read the rest of this entry »

Event: Paved With Good Intentions Book Launch

September 12, 2012
APIRG is hosting a book launch and public forum with Nikolas Barry-Shaw and Dru Oja Jay, whose new book, Paved with Good Intentions: Canada’s development NGOs from idealism to imperialism includes a case study of the co-optation of the Left in the NGOs in Palestine during the post-Oslo period.
Paved with Good Intentions: Canada’s development NGOs from idealism to imperialism
With authors Nikolas Barry-Shaw and Dru Oja Jay
Thursday, September 27 (7:00 pm)
Telus Centre Room #217/219
Corner of 87 Ave and 111 St, U of A Campus
(Click here for map)

Help spread the word! Invite your friends to the Facebook event.

“NGOs are as Canadian as hockey,” declared a 1988 Parliamentary report. Few institutions epitomize the foundational Canadian myth of international benevolence like the non-governmental organization devoted to development abroad.

Join Nikolas Barry-Shaw and Dru Oja Jay to discuss these organizations and their development projects. Just how “non-governmental” are organizations that get most of their funding from government agencies? What impact do these funding ties have on NGOs’ ability to support popular demands for democratic reforms and wealth redistribution? What happens when NGOs support a repressive regime? What happens when NGOs bite the hand that feeds them?

Free admission. Books available for $20 (retail price: $24.95).

About the book:

Official site:

“An extraordinary exposé”- Mike Davis, author of Planet of Slums

“Timely, hard-hitting and well-researched.”
– Mike Edwards, Distinguished Senior Fellow, Demos

“An important piece of scholarship.”
– Lamia Karim, Associate Professor, University of Oregon and author of Microfinance and Its Discontents: Women in Debt in Bangladesh

“Sure to be controversial.”
– Brian K. Murphy, former policy analyst, Inter Pares

“A must-read for scholars and practitioners alike.”
– Sangeeta Kamat, Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and author of Development  Hegemony: NGOs and the State in India.

United Church of Canada Approves Boycott of Settlement Products

August 21, 2012

On Wednesday, August 15 the General Council of the three-million member strong United Church of Canada (UCC) voted to approve comprehensive policy on Israel/Palestine, including the boycott of goods produced in Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law. The vote was re-confirmed by members on Friday, August 17.

The policy also said the United Church policy would include “continue to identify the end of the occupation as necessary for peace in the region” and affirmed that “non-violent resistance to the occupation is justified and should be supported by all who seek and end to the occupation.”

It also calls for education and economic action directed against settlement products and directs “the Executive of the General Council to explore the wisdom of divesting in companies that are profiting from or supporting the occupation” and “requesting that the Canadian government ensure that all products produced in the settlements be labelled clearly and differently from products of Israel.”

You can read the full details of the resolution.

The policy was passed after seven hours of debate with what United Church officals said was a vote “substantially in favour” of the boycott motion. The resolution comes after the United Church released on May 1, 2012 its Working Group on Israel/Palestine Policy.

This action by the UCC, Canada’s largest Protestant mainline denomination, follows moves by the United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church (USA), two large mainline Protestant Christian denominations in the United States, which both adopted boycott motions targeting settlement products at their membership general assemblies in May and July 2012.

Below is a round-up of some of the reaction and press coverage in response to this historic win for the BDS movement in Canada, and was only possible due to years of work and education carried out by people of conscience within the UCC working in solidarity with the Palestinian people.


Independent Jewish Voices commends United Church for finalizing stand against Israeli occupation

BIAC congratulates United Church of Canada on settlement boycott

CJPME: In historic vote – United Church will boycott “Settlements” and United Church approves boycott as official church policy

Canadian Friends of Peace Now: CIJA’s Outrage is Outrageous, Says CFPN (in response to the Centre for Israel & Jewish Affairs’ reaction to the vote)

Media Coverage

Electronic Intifada: United Church of Canada adopts resolution to boycott Israeli settlement products

Toronto Star: United Church members vote for boycott of products from Israeli settlements

Globe & Mail: United Church of Canada approves Israeli settlement boycott

Globe & Mail Op-ed by Thomas Woodley of CJPME: The United Church boycott is in keeping with its principles Israeli settlements and the United Church boycott: Responding to three common distortions

Postmedia: United Church approves controversial boycott of some Israeli products

Huffington Post: Israel Boycott: United Church Of Canada Will Not Buy Products From Settlements

Haaretz: Canada’s largest Protestant church approves boycott of Israeli settlement products