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Israeli Apartheid Week condemned by Ontario Legislature PDF Print E-mail
Mar 03, 2010 at 03:48 PM

Defend free speech on Palestine!

Tell your Ontario MPPs you oppose their decision to condemn Israeli Apartheid Week.

Members of the Ontario legislature passed a unanimous motion on February 25  that condemns Israel Apartheid Week (IAW), a series of campus-based  educational events that takes place on university campuses all over the  world (full text of motion below).

This is an unprecedented attack on free speech in Ontario. But it is also a  clear sign of the strength and exponential growth of the Palestinian led  solidarity campaign grounded in the 2005 call for Boycott, Divestment and  Sanctions of Israel.

What is unfortunate about this motion, in addition to blatant attack on  freedom of expression, is that it shows lack of understanding of the concept  of Apartheid and the realities of life in Israel/Palestine. No one knows  what apartheid looks like more than the people of South Africa, and in South  Africa, IAW is taking place in at least three cities, under the banner of  "Apartheid for One is Apartheid for All". It is being co-organized by the  Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), one of the main bodies  which significantly contributed to the demise of apartheid in South Africa.  In Quebec, Dr. Jamal Zahalka, a Palestinian leader who will be the keynote  speaker for IAW, will be presented before a full session of the National  Assembly of Quebec. It is really unfortunate that the Ontario Legislature  decided to condemn IAW without knowing what it is, and without even  attempting to hear the organizers.

Please follow the steps below to let your MPPs know that you oppose this  attack on free speech and the Palestine solidarity movement.

E-mailing is the fastest and easiest way to contact MPPs. Just follow these  steps:

Step 1:

Cut and paste the e-mail addresses of the entire Ontario legislature into  your "To" line (If your e-mail account can't e-mail this many addresses at  once, try sending your e-mail to a smaller block of addresses one at a time.  You may have to send several e-mails in order to reach all MPPs.). Please  note that this list includes both Queen's Park and constituency office  e-mail addresses.

NOTE: In addition to e-mail, it is important for MPPs receive phone calls  and office visits all day tomorrow - voice your opposition in all possible  ways.

saggelonitis.mpp@liberal.ola.org, lalbanese.mpp@liberal.ola.org, ted_arnott@ontla.ola.org, warthurs.mpp@liberal.ola.org, bob.bailey@pc.ola.org, bbalkissoon.mpp@liberal.ola.org, toby.barrett@pc.ola.org, rbartolucci.mpp@liberal.ola.org, cbentley.mpp@liberal.ola.org, lberardinetti.mpp@liberal.ola.org, mbest.mpp@liberal.ola.org, gilles@gillesbisson.com, jbradley.mpp@liberal.ola.org, lbroten.mpp@liberal.ola.org, mbrown.mpp@liberal.ola.org, jbrownell.mpp@liberal.ola.org, mbryant.mpp@liberal.ola.org, dcansfield.mpp@liberal.ola.org, dcaplan.mpp@liberal.ola.org, acarroll.mpp@liberal.ola.org, mchan.mpp@liberal.ola.org, ted.chudleigh@pc.ola.org, mcolle.mpp@liberal.ola.org, kcraitor.mpp@liberal.ola.org, bcrozier.mpp@liberal.ola.org, bdelaney.mpp@liberal.ola.org, vdhillon.mpp@liberal.ola.org, dinovoc-qp@ndp.on.ca, jdickson.mpp@liberal.ola.org, ldombrowsky.mpp@liberal.ola.org, bduguid.mpp@liberal.ola.org, dduncan.mpp@liberal.ola.org, garfield.dunlop@pc.ola.org, christine.elliott@pc.ola.org, kflynn.mpp@liberal.ola.org, pfonseca.mpp@liberal.ola.org, jgerretsen.mpp@liberal.ola.org, mgravelle.mpp@liberal.ola.org, fgelinas-qp@ndp.on.ca, hhampton-qp@ndp.on.ca, ernie.hardeman@pc.ola.org, randy.hillier@pc.ola.org, ahorwath-qp@ndp.on.ca, phoy.mpp@liberal.ola.org, tim.hudak@pc.ola.org, hjaczek.mpp@liberal.ola.org, ljeffrey.mpp@liberal.ola.org, sylvia.jones@pc.ola.org, frank.klees@pc.ola.org, pkormos-qp@ndp.on.ca, kkular.mpp@liberal.ola.org, mkwinter.mpp@liberal.ola.org, jmlalonde.mpp@liberal.ola.org, jleal.mpp@liberal.ola.org, dlevac.mpp@liberal.ola.org, lisa.macleod@pc.ola.org, amangat.mpp@liberal.ola.org, rmarchese-qp@ndp.on.ca, gerry.martiniuk@pc.ola.org, dmatthews.mpp@liberal.ola.org, bmauro.mpp@liberal.ola.org, dmcguinty.mpp@liberal.ola.org, tmcmeekin.mpp@liberal.ola.org, pmcneely.mpp@liberal.ola.org, mmeilleur.mpp@liberal.ola.org, norm.miller@pc.ola.org, pmiller-qp@ndp.on.ca, jmilloy.mpp@liberal.ola.org, cmitchell.mpp@liberal.ola.org, rmoridi.mpp@liberal.ola.org, julia.munro@pc.ola.org, bill.murdoch@pc.ola.org, ynaqvi.mpp@liberal.ola.org, john.otoole@pc.ola.org, dorazietti.mpp@liberal.ola.org, jerry.ouellette@pc.ola.org, lpendergast.mpp@liberal.ola.org, speters.mpp@liberal.ola.org, gphillips.mpp@liberal.ola.org, mprue-qp@ndp.on.ca, spupatello.mpp@liberal.ola.org, sqaadri.mpp@liberal.ola.org, kramal.mpp@liberal.ola.org, dramsay.mpp@liberal.ola.org, lrinaldi.mpp@liberal.ola.org, bob.runciman@pc.ola.org, truprecht.mpp@liberal.ola.org, lsandals.mpp@liberal.ola.org, joyce.savoline@pc.ola.org, laurie.scott@pc.ola.org, msergio.mpp@liberal.ola.org, peter.shurman@pc.ola.org, msmith.mpp@liberal.ola.org, gsmitherman.mpp@liberal.ola.org, gsorbara.mpp@liberal.ola.org, csousa.mpp@liberal.ola.org, norm.sterling@pc.ola.org, tabunsp-qp@ndp.on.ca, htakhar.mpp@liberal.ola.org, mvanbommel.mpp@liberal.ola.org, jwatson.mpp@liberal.ola.org, jwilkinson.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org, jim.wilson@pc.ola.org, elizabeth.witmer@pc.ola.org, kwynne.mpp@liberal.ola.org, john.yakabuski@pc.ola.org, dzimmer.mpp@liberal.ola.org

Step 2:  Don't forget to fill out your subject line:

I oppose your decision to condemn IAW. I support free speech in Ontario.

Step 3:

Cut and paste the message below. Feel free to personalize it with your own  words. And don't forget to include your name at the bottom. If you know the  name of your MPP, address your e-mail to her/him.

Dear Members of the Provincial Parliament:

I am writing in response to your decision to support a motion on February 25  that condemns Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), a series of campus-based  educational events that takes place annually on campuses all over the world.

The motion, which was introduced by Progressive Conservative MPP Peter  Shurman (Thornhill), is an unprecedented attack on free speech in Ontario. I  condemn and oppose your decision to support such a motion.

IAW has grown in size and scope since it was first launched on campuses in  Toronto in 2005, and now includes dozens of events in over 50 cities  worldwide including 3 cities in South Africa. IAW is marked by its inclusive  and diverse nature, its respect for discussion and debate, and its call for  peaceful solutions to the Israel-Palestine conflict. IAW has been endorsed  and supported by dozens of organizations including student unions, trade  unions, faith groups, and Jewish solidarity organizations.

The term "apartheid" is not a hateful one, nor is it on the "margins" of  mainstream debate. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter uses the term in his  best-selling book Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid. South African  anti-apartheid campaigners, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop  Desmond Tutu and President of the Congress of South African Trade Unions  (COSATU) Willie Madisha, regularly use the term "apartheid" to describe the  conditions in which Palestinians live both inside Israel and in the Occupied  Territories. The term is also used widely inside Israel itself: former  Israeli Prime Minister and current Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak  recently used the term in a speech about the consequences of stalled peace  talks.

The conditions in which Palestinians live clearly meet the definition of  "apartheid" as described by the United Nations. The increasingly  differential system of roads, housing, laws, access to resources, basic  rights, living conditions, and quality of life between Jewish Israelis and  Palestinians all point to a system of apartheid. Palestinians have the right  to describe these conditions in the way they experience them.

You may disagree with such an analysis, but you have no right to limit or  restrict Palestinians and their supporters from expressing a completely  legitimate perspective. Your decision to condemn IAW represents a serious  setback for free speech in Ontario, and should be reconsidered. The Ontario  legislature should not be in the business of censorship.

I urge to rethink your position, to become more informed about this issue,  and to demonstrate support for free speech in Ontario – including for those  political perspectives with which you might disagree.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Step 4:  Press send! 

If you get a response from you MPPs, please let us know. Forward e-mail  responses to endapartheid@riseup.net

Israeli Apartheid Week begins March 1 on campuses across Ontario despite  this motion. For city schedules please check: www.apartheidweek.org 

Private Members Motion 93 Reads 

That, in the opinion of this House, the term Israel Apartheid Week is  condemned as it serves to incite hatred against Israel, a democratic state  that respects the rule of law and human rights, and the use of the word  'apartheid' in this context diminishes the suffering of those who were  victims of a true apartheid regime in South Africa

Vancouver panel says: "Enough!"
Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

It is the conviction of Canpalnet that there are many and varied pathways that can and do bring Canadians to a simple conclusion; namely, that Israel's occupation must be ended, for elementary justice, and to salvage the humanity of all.

To illustrate this, a diverse and distinguished panel of speakers assembled in Vancouver at a press conference on June 6th to express their opposition to Israel’s 40 year occupation of Palestinian lands, and to call for the government of Canada to take action against that occupation and in support of human rights and international law. The conference took place in the Bank of Nova Scotia Room at Simon Fraser University’s Harbour Centre campus in downtown Vancouver.

Dr. Naseer Aruri, noted Palestinian intellectual and prolific author, was a special guest. Born in Jerusalem, now Emeritus Chancellor Professor at the University of Massachussetts, he has been a member of the international board of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch (USA), and Palestinian human rights groups. His most recent work is Dishonest Broker: The U.S. Role in Israel and Palestine.

A statement of support was sent by the all-party parliamentary group in Ottawa, the Canada Palestine Parliamentary Association.

That message and the statements of the panelists (listed below) are posted on this site.  

  • Svend Robinson, long time member of Parliament.
  • Sister Elizabeth Kelliher, of the Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement.
  • Murray Dobbin, journalist, broadcaster, and author of books on Canadian politics.
  • David Diamond, founder and artistic director of Headlines Theatre and recipient of the City of Vancouver’s Cultural Harmony Award.
  • Lee Lakeman, organizer of Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter and a representative for the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centers.
  • Carl Rosenberg, editor of Canadian Jewish Outlook Magazine.
  • Terry Greenberg, recently retired member of Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs.
  • Reverend Brenda Faust, Minister of Port Coquitlam Trinity United Church.
  • Henry Krause, pastor of Langley Mennonite Fellowship.
  • Cynthia Flood, prize-winning Canadian short-story writer.
  • Dr. Ivar Ekeland, Canada Research Chair in Mathematical Economics at UBC and former President of the University of Paris-9.
  • Ken Davidson, head of the International Solidarity Committee of CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees).
  • Thekla Lit, founder and president of BC ALPHA (Association for Learning and Preserving the History of World War 2 in Asia).

To see podcast of press conference:

40 Years of Occupation(Part 1) Press Conf. WM video - 9 mins - June 6, 2007

40 Years of Occupation(Part 2) Press Conf. video - 9 mins - June 6, 2007


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