Organizing effective campaigns: A cross-movement discussion

Organizing effective campaigns in the global struggle against apartheid, colonization, austerity and war:
A cross-movement discussion

Saturday, October 29, 7 – 9 p.m.
Bloor Street United Church – The McClure Room

(300 Bloor Street -on the north side, east of Spadina – accessible washrooms and wheelchair access )

Please join us for an engaging evening of discussion, reflection and strategizing around building movements and learning from each other across allied campaigns.  As monumental struggles for freedom and justice are unfolding globally, this is a crucial moment to connect and share strategies for sustaining and growing our various movements across common struggles.

Speakers panel:

* Michael Deas – Europe Coordinator of the BDS National Committee
 Lessons from organizing BDS campaigns in Europe, including successful boycotts of Veolia, Agrexco and the campaign for a military embargo of Israel

* Ilian Burbano – CUPE activist and Labour for Palestine
Building union/community solidarity against austerity, including CUPE’s resolution to support Raise the Rates

* Yafa Jarrar – Students Against Israeli Apartheid, Carleton University (Ottawa)
 Launching the first Canadian campus BDS Divestment campaign, reflections on student organizing and building allies on and off campus

* Shiri Pasternak – Member of Barriere Lake Solidarity, ally in Defenders of the Land network, organizer of annual Indigenous Sovereignty Week
Organizing the Barriere Lake solidarity campaign along with reflections on doing indigenous solidarity work

Facilitated by Abigail Bakan – CAIA, Greater Toronto Workers Assembly, Faculty 4 Palestine

Organized by: Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA), Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA)

Endorsed by:  Barrio Nuevo; Common Cause; Educators for Peace and Justice; Faculty for Palestine; Greater Toronto Workers’ Assembly (GTWA); International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN – Canada); Justicia 4 Migrant Workers; Labour for Palestine; Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Network (LACSN); Latinas Canada; No One Is Illegal – Toronto; Not in Our Name: Jewish Voices Opposing Zionism (NION); OPIRG Toronto; Palestine House Educational and Cultural Centre; Socialist Project; Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR-Ryerson); Toronto Coalition to Stop the War; Toronto New Socialists (NSG); Toronto Stop the Cuts Network; Women in Solidarity with Palestine (WSP)

CAIA Picket of Jerusalem String Quartet

Patrons coming to see the Jerusalem String Quarter in Toronto on October13th 2011 were made to realize that any performance providing a cultural facade to the state of Israel and its oppression of the Palestinians was going to be met with opposition. On a wet and chilly evening in front of the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, twenty members of the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA) staged an information picket to demonstrate against this attempt at re-branding Israel. See the video here

The Toronto demonstration was in response to a call issued by PACBI and USACBI to picket the Jerusalem String Quartet’s North American tour ( The Jerusalem Music Centre, the home base for the Jerusalem String Quartet, is prominently featured on the Israeli Foreign Ministry website, revealing how it is among the Israeli cultural institutions that are part of theongoing effort to “re-brand” Israel’s image in the West.

The picket creatively raised awareness about the use of cultural ambassadors to whitewash Israel’s human rights abuses and violations of International Law. While CAIA members handed out informational flyers to patrons and passersby, others staged a mock string duet playing cacophonic music (by design) under placards that read “No Harmony In Apartheid”. In addition, CAIA members handed out brochures to theatre goers that seemed, on the outside, to provide information on the quartet, while on the inside exposing Israel’s apartheid system and attempts to whitewash it through cultural re-branding.

While the picket provoked some lively responses and discussion, many people reacted with interest and cautious affirmation.

The picket was one among many that have followed the quartet during its North American tour from October 2-16.












BDS Action: Protest the Jerusalem String Quartet on Oct 13th

With their “Brand Israel” campaign, the Israeli government sends cultural creators and “ambassadors” abroad in an effort to whitewash the ongoing crimes, human rights abuses, and apartheid they are responsible for. Currently on a North American tour, The Jerusalem String Quartet (JSQ) are a perfect example of Israel’s desire to use art and culture to distance itself from occupation, apartheid and racial discrimination.

“We will send well-known novelists and writers overseas, theatre companies, exhibits…This way you show Israel’s prettier face, so we are not thought of purely in the context of war.” -Arye Mekel, Israel Foreign Ministry

The Jerusalem Music Centre—home base for the Quartet—is prominently featured on the Foreign Ministry website. The Centre’s stated purpose is to “showcase the State of Israel as a thriving cultural environment that stimulates creativity and artistic life.”

From October 2 – 16 protests of the Jerusalem String Quartet (JSQ) performances are being held in Vancouver, Toronto and cities across the United States. These protests join a growing international cultural boycott of the JSQ from Edinburgh (2008) to Australia (2009) to London (2010). The JSQ has made no attempt to dissociate itself from Israel’s apartheid policies. We can only assume that it is happy to play under the patronage of the State of Israel and/or its institutions while the charges of war crimes against Israel hang thick in the air worldwide.


In 2009 filmmakers and artists from around the world protested the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) participation in Brand Israel through its celebratory “Spotlight on Tel Aviv” program. Toronto’s resounding response to Brand Israel … not welcome here!

The Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA) was formed in 2006 in response to the Palestinian civil society call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), and the call for the boycott of all Israeli academic and cultural institutions issued by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI). Over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations signed the BDS call in July 2005, and an overwhelming majority of Palestinian cultural and artistic institutions have endorsed the call for a cultural boycott of Israel.

When: Thursday Oct 13th, 6:30pm
Where: St. Lawrence Centre for the Performing Arts 
27 Front Street East (1 block East of Yonge Street, South side)

Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid
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