Deactivate Airbnb on Nakba Day

After initially committing to stop listing rentals in Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, Airbnb did a complete reversal, and will now continue to allow rentals on stolen Palestinian land.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) and Jewish Voice for Peace have launched a campaign calling on people to send a clear message to Airbnb by signing a pledge to deactivate your Airbnb account on May 15, Nakba Day – a day that commemorates Israel’s establishment through the ethnic cleansing of 80% of all indigenous Palestinians from their homes and lands 71 years ago. Airbnb is enabling an ongoing Nakba – Israel’s continued and systematic dispossession of the Palestinian people.

There’s no neutrality in situations of injustice. Airbnb cannot simply donate away dirty profits, as they’ve said they will, and keep their hands clean of illegal occupation, knowing they contribute to inequality, land theft and racial discrimination. The fact remains: Palestinians cannot regain their homes and land, whereas settlers can rent out homes built on Palestinian land with the help of Airbnb.

Sign the #deactivateAirbnb pledge and save this link to deactivate.

Resistance & Resilience: The Activist Practices of Cindy and Craig Corrie

Resistance & Resilience: The Activist Practices of
Cindy and Craig Corrie
Wednesday, May 1 (7:00 – 9:00 pm)
Edmonton Clinic Health Academy (ECHA) 1-182

Corner of 114 St & 87 Ave, University of Alberta (map)

Invite your friends to the Facebook event!

PSN is thrilled to welcome Cindy and Craig Corrie back to Edmonton!

Cindy and Craig Corrie were brought to the issue of Palestine in 2003 when their daughter Rachel Corrie traveled to Gaza in solidarity with Palestinians engaged in nonviolent resistance to the Israeli occupation. Rachel was killed as she stood in the way of the military’s demolition of a Palestinian family’s home.  The Corries will share that history, their experiences as activists during the past sixteen years, the growth and broadening of the movement for Palestinian rights in the U.S. and throughout the world, the intersections between Palestine and other human rights issues, and the challenges and opportunities before us in 2019.

This is a free event. Donations to the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Human Rights are gratefully accepted.

PSN is a Working Group of the Alberta Public Interest Research Group (APIRG), which provided financial support for this event.

About Cindy and Craig Corrie

Cindy and Craig Corrie are the parents of human rights activist and observer Rachel Corrie who on March 16, 2003, 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. Motivated by their daughter’s work and example, the Corries have dedicated themselves to the pursuit of justice and peace in the Middle East and have made numerous visits to the region, most recently in 2012 and 2016 leading Interfaith Peace-Builder delegations to Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza.  “Rachel wrote of the importance of making commitments to places and initiated this one to Rafah and Gaza. The commitment she made continues,” said Cindy Corrie.

The Corries have continued to seek accountability in the case of their daughter and to promote changes in U.S. foreign policy in Israel/Palestine through efforts with the U.S. Congress, U.S. Departments of State and Justice, the Israeli Government, the Israeli and U.S. court systems, and at the corporate headquarters of Caterpillar Inc.

Encouraged by U.S. officials, the Corrie family in 2005 filed a civil lawsuit in Israel in their daughter’s case.  On March 10, 2010, seven years after Rachel Corrie’s killing, oral argument in the case began in Haifa District Court.  It proceeded with sporadic court dates until a final hearing on July 10, 2011. In an August 28, 2012 ruling, Judge Oded Gershon absolved the Israeli military and state of all responsibility.  The Corries filed an appeal with the Israeli Supreme Court, which on February 12, 2015 exempted the Israeli defense ministry from liability for actions by its forces that it deemed to be “wartime activity,” refusing to assess whether those actions violated applicable laws of armed conflict.

Rachel Corrie was a prolific and gifted writer. With their daughter Sarah, the Corries co-edited Let Me Stand Alone: the Journals of Rachel Corrie, a collection of Rachel’s poetry, essays, letters and journal entries, published by W.W. Norton & Co in 2008. The Corries speak widely of their daughter’s story and experience, and of their own work with the people of Palestine and Israel   They have been frequent guests at post-performance discussions of the play My Name is Rachel Corrie, co-edited by Alan Rickman and Katharine Viner, and produced in theaters across the U.S. and world.

The Corries have resided in Olympia, Washington, for over forty years where with community supporters, they now carry on the work of the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice.  In December 2010, the foundation was recognized for “outstanding service for Human Rights-Unique Achievement” by the Thurston County Diversity Council. The Corries are recipients of a Human Rights Advocate of the Year Award from Seattle University’s Human Rights Network and a Pillar of Peace Award from the Pacific Northwest Region of the American Friends Service Committee.  In October 2012, they accepted the LennonOno Grant for Peace on behalf of their daughter Rachel.

Find out more about the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice.

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 Jubilee Auditorium.

The building’s north entrance is closest to Room 1-182.

ECHA is a fully accessible building.

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.

What Walaa Wants screening at Metro Cinema

What Walaa Wants
Film screening and discussion with director Christy Garland

Sunday, February 17 (3:00 pm)
Metro Cinema, 8712 109 St NW

Purchase Tickets ($13 adult | $8 student/child/senior)

Raised in a refugee camp in the West Bank while her mother was in an Israeli prison, Walaa is determined to become one of the few women in the Palestinian Security Forces—not easy for a girl who breaks all the rules. Following Walaa from the ages of 15 to 21 with an intimate POV, What Walaa Wants tells the compelling story of a defiant young girl who navigates formidable obstacles, disproving the negative predictions from her surroundings and the world at large.

Join director Christy Garland for a Q&A and Skype session with Walaa after the screening.

What Walaa Wants has been hailed as one of the best films of 2018 by Canada’s Top Ten as chosen by the Toronto International Film Festival. It has screened at the Berlin Int’l Film Festival, the Montreal Int’l Documentary Festival and IDFA (International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam), and received the Special Jury Prize for Canadian Feature at Hot Docs in 2018. It has just been nominated for Canadian Screen Awards in Editing and Cinematography, and is also up for the prestigious Ted Rogers Best Feature-Length Documentary Award.

Canada/Denmark 2018, 89 min, Dir: Christy Garland
Arabic with subtitles

The Occupation of the American Mind

The Occupation of the American Mind
Film screening & discussion with Greg Shupak,
author of The Wrong Story: Palestine, Israel, and the Media
Monday, January 28 (7:00 – 9:00 pm)
Education Centre North, Room 2-115
87 Avenue & 113 Street, U of A campus (map)

Invite your friends to the Facebook event.

Polling shows strong global opposition to Israel’s illegal over-50-year occupation of Palestinian land, and mounting outrage over Israel’s ongoing slaughter of unarmed Palestinian civilians who are fighting for their rights. Nevertheless, public sympathy and support for Israel within the US continues to hold strong. The Occupation of the American Mind zeroes in on this critical exception, breaking down the devastatingly effective public relations war that Israel and right-wing pro-Israel advocacy groups have been waging for decades in the US.

Narrated by Roger Waters and featuring leading observers of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, the film explores how the Israeli government, the US government, and the pro-Israel lobby have joined forces, often with very different motives and interests, to shape American media coverage of the conflict in Israel’s favor. The result is a stunning look at how—and why—American media coverage of the conflict regularly minimizes the occupation, vilifies critics of Israeli policy, and dehumanizes the Palestinian people.

The film screening will be followed by a discussion (via Skype) with Greg Shupak, who will offer his insights into the flaws and fallacies inherent to how large media organizations in both the US and Canada cover the issue of Israel-Palestine, based on his recent book, The Wrong Story:  Palestine, Israel, and the Media.

Greg Shupak teaches Media Studies and English at the University of Guelph-Humber in Toronto. He writes fiction and political analysis and is the author of The Wrong Story:  Palestine, Israel, and the Media, which can be purchased on the website of its publisher, OR Books.

The Wrong Story lays bare the flaws in the way large media organizations present the Palestine–Israel issue. It points out major fallacies in the fundamental conceptions that underpin their coverage, namely that Palestinians and Israelis are both victims to comparable extents and are equally responsible for the failure to find a solution; that the problem is “extremists,” often religiously-motivated ones, who need to be sidelined in favour of “moderates”; and that Israel’s uses of force are typically justifiable acts of self-defense.

Weaving together the existing literature with new insights, Shupak offers an up-to-date and tightly focused guide that exposes the distorted way these issues are presented and why each is misguided.

 

Take action to stop the JNF Canada

Last week, a CBC exposé revealed that the Jewish National Fund of Canada has been the subject of a Canada Revenue Agency audit over a complaint that it used charitable donations to build infrastructure for the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), in violation of Canada’s tax rules, and to support illegal settlement projects in the Occupied West Bank.

Created to purchase land for a Jewish State in Palestine, the JNF is today the largest single landowner in Israel. Most commonly known for its century-old campaign to “make the desert bloom,” the JNF is not a public body in Israel but a private corporation whose lands were obtained through exploitative land sales and often-violent, forced removals of Palestinians from their lands. While the JNF has planted millions of trees—a remarkable environmental achievement—it has also used its forests to keep Palestinians off the lands taken from them. In Israel, the JNF has been charged with corruption by the State Comptroller and faced High Court challenges due to its explicitly discriminatory practices.

In Canada, the JNF’s fundraising branch, JNF Canada, raises millions of dollars for its projects in Israel/Palestine each year which are tax deductible due to JNF Canada’s charitable status.

In the words of the CBC report:

[The JNF Canada has] funded infrastructure projects on Israeli army, air and naval bases. While no law bars a Canadian citizen from writing a cheque directly to Israel’s Ministry of Defence, rules do ban tax-exempt charities from issuing tax receipts for such donations, and also ban donors from claiming tax deductions for them. …

In its guide for Canadian registered charities carrying out activities outside Canada, the CRA states plainly that “increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of Canada’s armed forces is charitable, but supporting the armed forces of another country is not.”

Yet JNF documents describe some of the charity’s spending in Israel in those very terms.

Independent Jewish Voices released a media release in response to the CBC’s report, saying, “A comprehensive complaint has been filed with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) regarding the Jewish National Fund of Canada (JNF Canada). The complaint, submitted in October 2017 with the support of Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV), presents detailed evidence that JNF Canada works in violation of the Income Tax Act and in contravention of Canadian foreign policy in various ways.”

Despite multiple letters and complaints sent to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and to Ministers of National Revenue over the last four decades—expressing strong concerns about the Jewish National Fund of Canada’s (JNF Canada) violations—the organization maintains its registered status with the CRA. It appears that JNF Canada has not even received any penalties from the CRA.

Take action

Independent Jewish Voices has launched a new Stop the JNF Canada website where you can take action to revoke the JNF Canada’s charitable status and expose, challenge and stop the JNF’s discriminatory and harmful activities.

If you are resident of Canada or a citizen of Canada living either in Canada or abroad, take a moment now to add your name to the Parliamentary E-Petition to call for the revocation ​of JNF Canada’s charitable status!

Once you’ve signed the petition, you can also help spread the word about the campaign, sign up for campaign updates, read IJV’s policy recommendations, read answers to frequently asked questions about the JNF Canada, and read, watch, and listen to more information about the JNF Canada.

Please take action now! In the words of Dr. Ismail Zayid, a Halifax-based retired professor who was expelled from his home and whose entire village was demolished in 1967 for what became JNF Canada’s flagship project, Canada Park, along with a new adjacent Israeli settlement, “I along with several others have been complaining to the CRA about the JNF for nearly four decades now. It’s about time that the CRA acted on its own rules and regulations and revoked the JNF Canada’s charitable status.”

Palestine Reading Circle February book selection

Here is information about the next book we have selected to read for the Palestine Reading Circle, which we’ll meet to discuss in early February 2019:

Defending Hope: Dispatches from the front lines in Palestine and Israel
Edited by Eóin Murray and James Mehigan
Publisher: Veritas, 2018
ISBN: 9781847308337
Information: Hardcover, 272 pages

Defending Hope is an inspiring collection of first-hand accounts by Palestinians and Israelis who movingly describe how their lives have been shaped by conflict and who are united by a common goal: to bring about a just peace for the land they call home.

Time and again these human rights defenders choose love, non-violence and human connection over division and fear. Their stories will transport you to the olive groves near Bethlehem, the rubble of Gaza and into the law courts in Jerusalem.

This book offers a hopeful counter-narrative in an otherwise bleak political landscape and celebrates the indomitable power of the human spirit in the midst of grave adversity.

Defending Hope has not yet been published in Canada. Copies are currently only available in Edmonton from one of the editors, Eóin Murray, who lives in Edmonton. Copies are $30, and proceeds go to the Irish charity Frontline Defenders, an Irish-based human rights charity, founded in 2001 to protect and support individuals who uphold the rights of others as outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

If you are interested in getting a copy to participate in the reading circle discussion, please email us at psnedmonton@gmail.com so we can arrange pickup and payment.

Full details about the reading circle and how to join are available on the Palestine Reading Circle page.

 

Delivering Health Care Under Fire – Dr. Tarek Loubani in Gaza

Delivering Health Care Under Fire
Featuring Dr. Tarek Loubani
Thursday, November 29 (5:30 pm)
Live via Livestream from Toronto

Canadian Friends of Sabeel has announced that Dr. Tarek Loubani will be the featured speaker at the 2018 James Graff Memorial Lecture, which will take place on November 29 in Toronto. For those outside the Toronto area, the event will also be Livestreamed.

Register for the Livestream

Dr. Loubani is an Associate Professor at the Schulich School of Medicine and   Dentistry at Western University, and an emergency room physician at the London   Health Sciences Centre and the Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza. He is well-known for his humanitarian work as a field medic in Gaza, where he was shot in the leg by the Israeli military in May 2018 while providing health care for injured Palestinians.

Dr. Loubani has combined his humanitarian efforts and medical expertise through the Glia Project, which has developed 3-D print stethoscopes that can be made in under 3 hours for less than $3. This project was inspired by the shortage of basic medical supplies in Gaza caused by Israel’s 11 year illegal blockade. Currently, Dr. Loubani and the Glia research team are working on 3-D print tourniquets to help reduce deaths related to blood loss in Gaza.

The annual James Graff Memorial Lecture was established in beloved memory of University of Toronto philosophy professor, husband, father, and tireless peace advocate. Dr. James Graff founded NECEF, Canada’s oldest Middle East peace education NGO. In October 2005, Jim was still teaching as well as actively working for peace before he died later that month.

Tell Trudeau: The BDS movement is NOT antisemitic

Please take a minute to participate in this online Action Alert from Independent Jewish Voices.

Last week, Trudeau issued a long overdue apology on behalf of the Canadian government for turning away a ship full of Jewish refugees in 1939 to the eventual death of over 250 people by the Nazis.

Shamefully, Trudeau took this important opportunity to denounce the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian human rights, which he portrayed as an example of antisemitism today.

In making this false equivalency, Trudeau lends credence to Israel lobby efforts to silence Palestinians, Jews and others across Canada who support BDS as a peaceful means of putting pressure on the state of Israel to abide by international law.

It has absolutely nothing to do with antisemitism, and saying so is slanderous.

IJV-member and Holocaust survivor Suzanne Weiss has already sent Trudeau a letter expressing her outrage.

Join Suzanne by sending your own message to Trudeau now that the BDS movement is NOT antisemitic!

Palestine Solidarity: What’s Working, What’s Not

Does activism in building Palestinian solidarity really matter, and is it making a difference? What’s working and what’s not?

Katie Miranda, an artist and activist with the International Solidarity Movement, is taking on these strategic questions through a series of 20 free, online “telesummits” with important voices on what works best in organizing on Palestine.

Sign up to participate in the telesummit at summit.katiemiranda.com to receive email notifications when the interviews are live. The first interview will be released on October 29, followed by one a day for 20 days.

As Katie puts it, “Imagine being able to attend a strategy-building conference on Palestine with some of the top activists, scholars, journalists and thought leaders from all over the world. In order to attend something on this scale, you’d have to pay conference fees, airfare and hotel. But because of the unique telesummit format, all this is yours for free.”

Speaking our Peace: Jewish and Palestinian Voices in Conversation

Speaking our Peace: Jewish and Palestinian Voices in Conversation
Monday, October 29 (7:00 pm-9:00 pm)
Holyrood Mennonite Church
9505 79 St NW
(map)

Join Sahar Vardi (American Friends Service Committee, Jerusalem) and Tarek Al Zoughbi (Wi’am: the Palestinian Conflict Resolution Center) as they discuss the current context, ongoing challenges, and how they are working towards a just peace in Israel and Palestine.

Organized by Mennonite Central Committee.

This is a free event, and snacks will be provided after the formal program.

About the speakers

Sahar Vardi is a Jerusalem-based activist. She publicly refused her military service and was imprisoned in 2008. Since then she has been active with Israeli anti-militarist groups such as New Profile and today works as the Israel Program Coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee based in Jerusalem. Today most of her work focuses on the militarization of Israeli society, both around issues of conscription, as well as Israel’s military industry and export. Much of her activism is in Jerusalem in Palestinian-led struggles against house demolitions, child arrests and discrimination of East Jerusalem.

Tarek Al-Zoughbi is a Christian Palestinian-American, who was raised in the little town of Bethlehem. He received a B.A. in Economics and Peace Studies from Manchester University, Indiana and returned to Bethlehem, where he currently works as the project and youth Coordinator at Wi’am: The Palestinian Conflict Transformation Center. Aside from working on an M.A. in International Cooperation and Development at Bethlehem University, Tarek also serves on the Executive Board of the National Coalition of Christian Organizations in Palestine and is currently the coalition’s treasurer. He is active in civil society, part of three choirs, and had the privilege of being part of the World Council of Churches “12 Face of Hope Campaign.” You can read more about Tarek and Wi’am’s work on alaslah.org or on the organization’s ​​Facebook page.