News & Updates
York Federation of Students Endorses BDS Campaign
On March 21st, in an historic vote at the largest students’ union in Canada, York University’s undergraduate students’ union, the York Federation of Students (YFS), voted overwhelmingly in favour of a resolution to endorse the Global Campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israeli apartheid. In passing this BDS resolution, the YFS now joins many student unions around the world, who have all passed similar resolutions. In Canadian universities, the BDS campaign has had several milestones in the last year at Carleton University (Graduate Students’ Association), University of Regina (Student Union) and most recently, York University (Graduate Students’ Association) and University of Toronto (Graduate Students’ Union).
The resolution was drafted in response to the 2005 Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel as a means to pressure it to comply with international law and to end its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza; allow Palestinian refugees their internationally guaranteed right to return to their homes and villages; and grant equal rights to Palestinian citizens of Israel.
With 18 votes in favour and 2 opposed, the board of the York Federation of Students passed the resolution to endorse the BDS campaign, as well as demand that York University abide by the BDS call; specifically urging the University to withdraw its investments from Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems, Amphenol and other companies that are selling weapons and military equipment to Israel.
“The oppression of the Palestinian people at the hands of the Israeli state is not some far off issue that we can choose to ignore. We are already deeply implicated in the human rights violations of the Israeli State through our investments in the above-mentioned companies. We do not have the privilege to remain ‘neutral’ on this issue,” said Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) York collective member Huda Al-Sarraj.
In November of this academic year, SAIA York achieved its first BDS success with the passing of a BDS motion at the York University Graduate Students’ Association (GSA). SAIA York now hopes to bring its demand for divestment to the York University Administration by lobbying for the implementation of a socially responsible investment policy. With the support of the GSA and the YFS, as well as the TA’s, GA’s and contract faculty union, CUPE 3903, which passed a BDS motion in 2006, SAIA York will now demand an end to the investment of university funds into companies that profit from violations of international law and human rights.
Media contact information for Students Against Israeli Apartheid – York University:
Johannah May Black – 416 662 2084
Hammam Farah – 416 669 8114
Announcing the Ninth Annual Israeli Apartheid Week: March 1 – 10, 2013
Mark your calendars for Toronto’s Ninth Annual Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), coming up March 1st – 10th!
First launched in Toronto in 2005, IAW has grown to become one of the most important global events in the Palestine solidarity calendar. Last year’s IAW was incredibly successful with 216 cities participating. The Israeli Ministry of Public Diplomacy even dispatched “envoys” around the world in an attempt to undermine the week.
This year, Palestinians have endured another massacre on Gaza, the enlargement of settlements, and daily growing brutality by Israel. Hence our role in the international community to support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement is more important than ever. This year’s IAW will highlight many faces involved in the Palestinian struggle, from the periphery and the centre, from the diaspora to diplomats, Indigenous groups in solidarity to Palestinian professors, highlighting the many levels of resistance to apartheid.
IAW 2013 will also take special care to voice the narrative of the changing regional context. Around the world, people are standing in solidarity with each other in struggles for democracy, equity, human rights and economic justice. The resolve of Palestinians as they continue their 64 year struggle against colonization, occupation and apartheid has provided inspiration for movements struggling for freedom, justice and equality around the world. Palestine, too, will be free.
IAW 2013 Toronto Highlights:
- Crystal Lameman: Beaver Lake Cree First Nation activist and the Peace River tar sands campaigner for the Indigenous Environmental Network in Alberta
- Razan Ghazzawi: Frontline Syrian blogger and activist
- Screening of Roadmap to Apartheid with Cinema Politica at the Bloor Cinema!
More details on IAW 2013:
University of Toronto Graduate Students Union Endorses BDS!
In yet another momentous vote that adds to the growing list of student unions in Canada endorsing the global campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israeli apartheid, the University of Toronto’s Graduate Student Union (GSU) voted overwhelmingly in favour of a resolution to endorse the campaign. Over 150 graduate students were present at the meeting, of which approximately 97% voted in favour of the motion, with only a few students opposed.
The resolution states “Be it resolved that the Graduate Students Union endorse Palestinian civil society’s 2005 call for boycotts, divestment and sanctions by calling on the University of Toronto to refrain from investing in all companies complicit in violations of international law. This includes any company that: profits from the illegal occupation of Palestinian land, directly benefits from the construction of the Wall and Israeli settlements, is economically active in settlements, and profits from the collective punishment of Palestinians. This would include the companies BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Hewlett Packard”.
The resolution was adopted in support of Palestinian rights and opposition to Israel’s illegal military occupation of Palestine and its violations of international law under the Geneva Conventions, as affirmed by the International Court of Justice in 2004. By divesting, the University of Toronto will fulfill its legal obligation not to invest in companies or organizations that are complicit in human rights violations, and will help force Israel to comply with international law.
The passage of this resolution is a milestone in divestment activities for the University of Toronto and will hopefully pave the way for a broader divestment campaign launched in 2011 by Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA). This campaign addresses the university’s investments in companies that assist in, and profit from Israeli apartheid and the occupation of the Palestinian territories.
In passing this BDS resolution, U of T now joins many universities around the world, who have all passed similar resolutions at their student unions. In Canadian universities, the BDS campaign has had several milestones in the last year at Carleton University, University of Regina and most recently, York University.
For more information, please contact SAIA at the University of Toronto at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Solidarity with Gaza – Emergency Demonstration in Toronto
Nearly four years after Operation Cast Lead, which killed 1400 Palestinians and left the infrastructure of Gaza in ruins, Israel is once again attacking Gaza. The latest operation, Operation Pillar of Defense, has seen the Israeli Defense Forces conduct upwards of 50 airstrikes causing numerous casualties, including children.
The Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid, Canadian Arab Federation, Palestine House and Canadian Peace Alliance strongly condemn these attacks and urge you to stand in solidarity with Gaza. Together, we have organized a solidarity demonstration for this Thursday, Nov 15th, in front of the Israeli Consulate. Please look for Palestinian flags and be sure to bring friends, family, allies and your banners and voices!
Thursday, November 15th
6 pm @ the Israeli Consulate
180 Bloor Street (east of St. George TTC)
Facebook event page
This demonstration has been endorsed so far by:
Faculty for Palestine, International Solidarity Committee – Greater Toronto Workers Assembly, Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Network, Toronto Students for Justice in Palestine, Canadian Muslim Union, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network – Canada, Women in Solidarity with Palestine, Students Against Israeli Apartheid UTM, No One Is Illegal – Toronto, Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, Gaza’s Ark, Students Against Israeli Apartheid – UofT, Ontario Public Interest Research Group – York U, Labour for Palestine, Students Against Israeli Apartheid – York U, Not In Our Name: Jewish Voices Opposing Zionism, MESA – UTM, MESA – York U, SPHR – McMaster, McMaster Muslims for Peace & Justice, Independent Jewish Voices, Toronto, Socialist Action, Afghans for Peace, Toronto Haiti Action Committee, The Network for Pan-Afrikan Solidarity, Hamilton Coalition To Stop The War, CASMO, Arab Students Association – UofT, BAYAN-Canada, Anakbayan-Toronto, Students for Palestinian Rights University of Waterloo, Christian Peacemaker Teams, Palestine Action Group-The University of Guelph, Fredericton Palestine Solidarity, Fredericton Peace Coalition, Arab Palestine Association, Students for Justice in Palestine – Ryerson.
* To add your organization to the list of endorsers, please send an email to email@example.com.
CAIA Statement on Israel’s Latest Assualt on Gaza
The Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA) condemns Israel’s latest assault on Gaza.
On Friday night, hundreds of people from around the GTA gathered at the Israeli consulate in Toronto to protest Israel’s latest deadly assault on Gaza and to condemn Canadian support for Israel’s actions. In unity with calls from similar demonstrations being held in dozens of cities around the world, the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA) unequivocally condemns Israel’s assault on Gaza dubbed Operation Pillar of Defence which was launched on 14 November 2012 with the assassination of Ahmed al-Jabari, chief of staff of Hamas’ military wing. Since then the Israeli military has continuously attacked Gaza with drones, Apache helicopters, F-16 fighter jets, naval vessels and artillery.
Contrary to Israel’s propaganda that its attacks are “surgical” strikes on military targets and that they are trying “to minimise civilian casualities in Gaza”, the real facts are piling up. Overwhelmingly, Palestinian civilians are the victims of this past week’s relentless attacks by the Israeli military, which has left 38 Palestinians dead and 400 injured. We stand in solidarity with the people of Gaza as the death toll rises and life threatening injuries to Palestinians escalate with each new strike by the Israeli war machine.
Despite the rising death toll of Palestinian civilians, Prime Minister Harper and his Conservative government have failed to condemn Israel’s aggression. The Canadian government has, in fact, condoned Israel’s military operations by casting Israel as the innocent victim, ignoring its role in the current escalation and its continued siege of Gaza. On November 14, the day Israel launched its assault, Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird stated “We fundamentally believe that Israel has the right to defend itself and its citizens from terrorist threats.” And that “Canada condemns the terrorist group Hamas and stands with Israel as it deals with regional threats to peace and security.” On November 16 Prime Minister Harper stated “We condemn this terrorist group’s attacks on Israel,” These statements are the latest example of the government’s decision to ignore international law with respect to Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people.
This attack marks the latest stage of a policy of collective punishment and killing practised by Israel against the people of Gaza. Israel has imposed an illegal siege on Gaza and created a devastating humanitarian crisis for the 1.5 million people trapped there. In 2009, 1,400 Palestinians were killed and 5000 more injured during the Israeli assault on Gaza. A senior Israeli official described Israel’s policy in Gaza saying “the idea” is to “put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.”
Israel’s latest attack on civilians in Gaza is a war crime, made possible only through the continued financial, military and diplomatic support Israel receives from Western states including Canada which earlier this year announced that “Israel has no greater friend in the world today than Canada.” The Canadian government has also rewarded Israeli aggression with free trade and industrial R&D agreements and has signed a memorandum of understanding with Israel covering defence and industrial initiatives, as well as information-sharing. Just last month Canada donated $5 million to support a new Canada-Israel Energy Science and Technology Fund.
CAIA denounces the Harper government’s support and encouragement of Israel’s deadly aggression, and we stand in steadfast solidarity with the people of Gaza as Israeli war crimes continue with impunity. We urge people of conscience everywhere to join us in calling for an end to Israel’s policies of collective punishment, an end to its ongoing violation of international laws, and end to the siege on Gaza, and to continue building the Palestinian led global campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). Indeed, as the death tolls and injuries from Israel’s attacks on Gaza continue to rise, so too does support for the BDS movement. On November 15, as 800 people in Toronto rallied in solidarity with Gaza, the York University Graduate Student’s Association voted overwhelmingly in favour of a BDS Resolution. This addition to the growing campus divestment campaign marks the most recent victory in an expanding BDS movement across Canada to bring an end to Israeli apartheid.
York University Graduate Students’ Association Endorses BDS Campaign
In a momentous vote that adds to the growing list of student unions in Canada, York University’s Graduate Students’ Association (YUGSA) voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution to endorse the global campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israeli apartheid.
The resolution was drafted in response to the 2005 Palestinian civil society call for BDS as a means to pressure the state of Israel to comply with international law and end its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza; to allow Palestinian refugees their internationally guaranteed right to return to their homes and villages; and to grant equal rights to Palestinian citizens of Israel.
“With 29 votes in favor and 7 opposed, the Graduate Students’ Association’s Council passed the resolution to endorse the BDS campaign, specifically urging the University to withdraw its investments from Hewlett Packard, Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin and other companies profiting from Israeli human rights violations, war crimes and oppression,” said Wangui Kimari, VP Campaigns of the YUGSA executive. YUGSA represents over 6,100 graduate students at York University, Canada’s third largest University.
This resolution passed in the midst of the latest Israeli bombing campaign in Gaza, which had reportedly taken the lives of 16 Palestinians, including 3 children at the time of the vote. “It is important for organizations to not pretend to be neutral while profiting from human rights violations. And we, as students, need to take a stand against apartheid wherever it exists, from Canada to Palestine,” said Mona Ayyoub a Students Against Israeli Apartheid York (SAIA York) member. SAIA York plans to continue to educate the York University community about the BDS campaign and is working on a petition to encourage York University’s undergraduate students’ union, the largest students’ union in Canada, to endorse the BDS motion later this school year.
For more information please contact:
Hammam Farah, Students Against Israeli Apartheid York, 416-669-8144, firstname.lastname@example.org
Wangui Kimari, VP Campaigns, YUGSA, 647-460-5821, email@example.com
Act Now: Stand in Solidarity with Palestinian Political Prisoners!
|February 23, 2013|
|2:00 pm||to||3:00 pm|
Palestinian political prisoners Samer Issawi, Jafar Ezzedine, Tareq Qa’adan and Ayman Sharawna have been on hunger strike to protest the Israeli system of administrative detention for the last several months. Due to Israel’s use of administrative detention, and the lack of due process afforded to Palestinians in the military court system, a hunger strike represents one of the only non-violent means available to administrative detainees and political prisoners to fight for their basic human rights. Over the course of their hunger strikes, each of the prisoners in question has been placed in isolation as a punitive measure, been subjected to regular beatings, almost-daily cell and body searches and shackling to hospital beds. And, in violation of international law, the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) has prohibited the hunger strikers from receiving family visits as well as denying them access to lawyers and independent physicians.
Despite these grave conditions and the declining health of all four prisoners, their hunger strike has been largely ignored by the Canadian government and mainstream media.
Palestine House and the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid are joining in a global call to action to take action and show solidarity with Samer, Jafar, Tareq and Ayman. In the absence of any formal charges against these hunger-strikers and administrative detainees in general, and knowing very well that the Israeli court system does not offer a fair and transparent judicial process for Palestinians, we demand an immediate release of all four prisoners, as well as other administrative detainees. Join us this Saturday to show your support and stand in solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners!
When: Saturday, February 23, 2013
Where: In front of the Israeli Consulate – 180 Bloor Street West
Organized by: Palestine House and the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA).
Facebook event page
Bring Palestinian flags, banners and your voices!
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
About political prisoners currently on hunger strike:
Four Palestinian prisoners are currently on hunger strike: Samer Issawi, Jafar Ezzedine, Tareq Qa’adan and Ayman Sharawna.
- At a hearing yesterday, Samer Issawi, who is in a life-threatening condition and weighs less than 48 kilograms after being on intermittent hunger strike for more than 200 days, was denied release on bail by the Jerusalem Magistrate Court. Samer is protesting his arbitrary re-arrest after his release in a prisoner exchange on 18 October 2011. Using Military Order 1651, Article 186, the military prosecution is requesting that he serve the twenty years that remain from his previous sentence. Samer is suffering from various health conditions including low blood pressure and irregular heart rate, severe pain in the kidney region, muscle pain and constant headaches.
- Tarek Qa’adan and Jafar Azzidine have been on hunger strike for 86 days in protest against their detention without charge or trial. Neither man has access to the information upon which his detention is based, therefore undermining their ability to effectively challenge the administrative detention order. On 12 February, Tarek and Jafar told PHR-Israel’s lawyer that they were no longer taking any supplements or vitamins, adding further threat to their lives. Tarek and Jafar were informed by the prison doctor that due to their rapidly deteriorating health, they were at risk of imminent heart attack unless they received adequate medical treatment. Both men have expressed their wish to be monitored by and receive impartial medical consultation from physicians of PHR-Israel, however, this request has been ignored by the IPS. Tarek and Jafar are both being held under administrative detention orders, which are due to expire on 22 February 2013.
- Ayman Sharawna has been on hunger strike since 1 July 2012, except for a brief reprieve in January 2013 when he believed that his case was moving in a positive direction. He is protesting the Israeli prosecution’s attempt to have him serve the remaining 28 years of his previous sentence. Ayman was released in the 18 October 2011 prisoner exchange but was re-arrested on 31 January 2012. Since then, he has been held without charge or trial, based on a “secret administrative file” which alleges that he breached the terms of the exchange deal. Ayman and his lawyer have not been granted access to this secret file or allowed to know the nature of his alleged breach of contract. At a Supreme Court hearing today to contest the legitimacy of his detention under Military Order 1651, Article 186, Ayman’s case was referred back to the Military Court, which will hear his case at a later date. While in court, Ayman told Addameer’s lawyer that as of 16 January he had only been drinking water. Ayman has also been under continuous pressure from the Israeli General Security Service to end his hunger strike.
For more information, we encourage you to visit the following websites: