Occupation, Eviction, Urbanization

Race and Space struggles in Palestine, the Americas, and Europe

Friday, January 13,
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Beit Zatoun, 612 Markham Street, Toronto
$5 minimum requested donation to cover venue cost

Wanting to encourage a broader dialogue about the Palestinian struggle in
relation to questions of race, space and power, Faculty for Palestine brings
together a panel of academics to review spatial and racial struggles in a
variety of contexts to cover such questions as:

  • Which spatial forms have been used to further state racism in various national settings?
  • What modes of resistance have been used to challenge racialized spatial governing practices?
  • What is the relationship between different spatial politics across national settings?
  • How does urbanization figure into these dynamics?

Aiming to foster maximum discussion, brief presentations will be made by each
panelist followed by a short commentary by Cynthia Wright (York University).
The balance of the evening is a moderated question and answer period.

Presenters are: Abigail Bakan (Queen’s University), Kanishka Goonewardena
(University of Toronto), Stefan Kipfer (York University), Karen Murray (York
University), and Vannina Sztainbok (University of Toronto).

Presenter Biographies

Abigail Bakan:
Head of the Department of Gender Studies, and Professor of Political Studies,
at Queen’s University. Her current work includes a collection with Ena Dua,
on theorizing anti-racism based on a dialogue between Marxist and post-colonial
approaches; a SSHRC-funded project, with Yasmeen Abu-Laban, on the World
Conferences Against Racism and processes of racialization in the context of
Israel/Palestine. Her articles have appeared in Race and Class, Social
Identities, Rethinking Marxism, Socialist Studies, Atlantis, and Studies in
Political Economy.

Kanishka Goonewardena:
trained as an architect in Sri Lanka and now teaches design and theory at the
University of Toronto. His research is informed by Marxist and anti-colonial
scholarship and he has co-edited with Stefan Kipfer, Richard Milgrom and
Christian Schmid, Space, Difference, Everyday Life: Reading Henri Lefebvre (New
York: Routledge, 2008). His writings on architecture, urbanism, nationalism and
critical theory have appeared in both academic and popular publications in
North America, Europe and South Asia.

Stefan Kipfer
teaches in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University. He
researches comparative urban politics and the role of ‘the city’ in Marxist and
counter-colonial theoretical traditions, including those embodied in Henri
Lefebvre, Frantz Fanon and Antonio Gramsci. With Kanishka Goonewardena, he
pursues a research project on the re-‘colonization’ of public housing districts
in Paris and Toronto.”

Karen Murray
Associate Professor of Political Science at York University. Her current
research examines the governmental interplay of race, space and gender in urban
contexts. Her recent work on Vancouver’s east end has been published in BC
Studies, and she has a forthcoming paper entitled “The Silence of Urban
Aboriginal Policy” to be published in Urban Aboriginal Policy Making, Evelyn
Peters, ed. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Vannina Sztainbok
(PhD, University of Toronto) is a Lecturer in the Department of Social Sciences
at the University of Toronto. Her research interests include race and space in
Latin America; intersections of race, class, sexuality, and gender; the
politics of culture; and citizenship and belonging. She has recently completed
a thesis that investigates the simultaneous marginalization and celebration of
an Afro-Uruguayan neighbourhood in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Cynthia Wright:
teaches in the School of Women’s Studies, as well as theDepartments of History
and Geography at York University. Her diverse research interests include the
social and historical production of migrant “illegality”; the origins of
immigration controls; colonialism and imperialism; Cuba; transnational feminism
and sexuality studies; and social justice movements. With Bridget Anderson and
Nandita Sharma, she recently guest-edited a special issue of Refuge on “No
Borders as Practical Politics.”

Sponsored by:
Faculty for Palestine (F4P). Formed in spring 2008, the F4P network currently
includes faculty of all ranks (tenured, contract, emeritus, independent
researchers, retired, visiting scholars) from over 40 universities and 15
colleges across Canada.
Visit Beit Zatoun: beitzatoun.org for more programs and events.

Need to know:
– Doors open at 6:50
– $5 minimum admission
– Accessible on demand via portable ramp; washrooms not accessible
– Due to breathing sensitivities, please avoid using strong-scented products
Tasty refreshments (non-alcoholic) and Zatoun oliveoil+za’atar dipping

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 (http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=1718). 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 www.caiaweb.org
For more information: endapartheid@riseup.net