Hot Docs 2012 Israeli delegation – one minute action

HOT DOCS, JUST SAY NO! TO BRAND ISRAEL AND ISRAELI DELEGATION

Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival is “North America’s largest documentary festival, conference and market”. As part of its 2012 Festival, Hot Docs is hosting official delegations from a number of countries and regions including Israel, which has a long history of violating Palestinian human rights and international law.

As part of the global movement in support of the rights of Palestinian people, we call on Hot Docs to end its collaboration with Israeli state sponsored institutions. The festival’s celebration of this delegation as an achievement for the progressive arts and film community does not erase Israel’s systematic and ongoing violations of human rights and international law. In the last year alone these have included:

* Ethnic Displacement Policies: 222 Palestinian homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem demolished in 2011 by Israel, displacing 1,094 people including 609 children under the age of 18.

* Military killings: 115 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in 2011,a full three years after the Israeli assault on Gaza in 2008-09 when Israeli forces killed 1,390 Palestinians.

* Imprisonment and Collective Punishment: 4,386 Palestinians are currently held in Israeli prisons, including 320 held without trial in Administrative Detention, and 473 prisoners and their families currently affected by an absolute ban, in place since 2007, on all visits to prisoners from Gaza.

* Increased Illegal Settlement Activity: Approval for construction of 1,100 settlement homes in September, 2011 and approval of three settlement outposts just yesterday. The Secretary General of the United Nations reiterated yesterday that “all settlement activity is illegal under international law.”.

Hosting Israeli state-supported delegations is an act of whitewashing, not an occasion for cultural celebration. Israel’s state funded rebranding campaign deliberately attempts to “show Israel’s prettier face” as a means to hide these ugly facts. It involves pursuing partners to create venues that shift the focus from six decades of Israel’s deadly violations of international law to Israel’s achievements in medicine, science and culture.

Hot Docs’ 2012 delegation is implicated in Israel’s rebranding campaign, and it represents a troubling continuation of the festival’s institutional cooperation with Israeli state-funded organisations. In 2005 Hot Docs hosted “Spotlight on Israel”, a program which received direct sponsorship from Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Consulate General of Israel in Toronto. And in 2011 Hot Docs sent an official delegation to Tel Aviv to participate in a co-production forum funded by the Israeli Film Council and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Despite Hot Docs statement that they “cannot endorse or oppose any one political position or cause”, their exchange of official delegations with Israel means they have effectively “taken sides”. Likewise, they have taken sides by ignoring the call to boycott Israeli state funded co-production organizations issued by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) in 2009 following Israel’s deadly war crimes in Gaza.

This complicity has not gone unnoticed. Members of the Palestinian community, filmmakers and the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid met with Hot Docs last year to ask that the festival respect the cultural boycott of Israel by ceasing to work with institutions supported by the Israeli state. And in a letter to Hot Docs opposing its 2011 delegation to Israel, 51 members of the film and arts community stated that “this trend of promoting Israel puts progressive filmmakers and artists who support Hot Docs in an increasingly compromised position.”

We are not calling for a boycott of Hot Docs, because we believe that Hot Docs can achieve its goal of supporting documentary filmmakers and expanding its co-production relationships without supporting Israel and other oppressive states responsible for human rights violations. As supporters of Hot Docs’ progressive ideals and of Palestinian human rights, we once again call upon the festival to end its collaboration and choose not to work with institutions sponsored by the Israeli state.
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ONE MINUTE ACTION IN FIVE EASY STEPS

STEP 1: Cut and paste into subject line: “Hot Docs, Just Say No! to Israeli delegation

STEP 2: Cut and paste into body of e-mail (modify as you wish):

To the Co-Chairs of Hot Docs Board of Directors,

As a long-standing supporter of Hot Docs and a supporter for Palestinian human rights, I am writing to express my concern about your ongoing partnerships with Israeli state-sponsored institutions.

I understand that Hot Docs has invited an official Israeli delegation as part of this year’s International Co-Production Day, and that you sent an official delegation to Tel Aviv last year to participate in a co-production forum funded by the Israeli Film Council and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Last year 51 members of the film and arts community wrote to you stating their concern that “this trend of promoting Israel puts progressive filmmakers and artists who support Hot Docs in an increasingly compromised position.” As a member of the broader community who supports progressive venues for documentary film-making and cultural production, I share their concerns.

For all of these reasons I am asking that you reconsider your partnerships with Israeli state-sponsored institutions in the future, until Israel stops its violation of Palestinian human rights and conforms to international law.

Sincerely,

Name, Affiliation, City, Country

STEP 3: Cut and paste addresses for Hot Docs Co-Chairs and Chris McDonald, Executive Director into To: line of your e-mail:

cmcdonald@hotdocs.ca

cochairs@hotdocs.ca

info@hotdocs.ca

STEP 4: Cut and paste CAIA into “Bcc” line:

endapartheid@riseup.net

STEP 5: press Send

For more information on this issue email endapartheid@riseup.net

Joint Statement on Minister Jason Kenney’s Condemnation of Israeli Apartheid Week

Joint Statement on Minister Jason Kenney’s Condemnation of Israeli Apartheid Week

March 9, 2012

As organizations and groups committed to protecting freedom of expression and public debate on Palestine/Israel, we demand that Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney immediately retract his March 7th statement “condemning Israel Apartheid Week”. http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/statements/2012/2012-03-07.asp

This statement is the Conservative government’s latest attempt to silence activist groups and organizations in Canada that act or speak in support of the basic human rights of the Palestinian people. While Kenney’s statement claims to value “free exchanges of ideas” and “academic dialogue,” his targeted condemnation of Israeli Apartheid Week events on Canadian universities this week (and in previous years) is a blatant attempt to shut down free expression for Palestine solidarity on campus.

The Harper government’s track record clearly reveals that it does not actually value the university as “an environment in which academic discourse can take place freely”. Indeed, it has been actively involved in undermining this ideal that it claims to uphold. In 2009 the Conservative Minister of State (Science and Technology), Gary Goodyear was widely criticized by Faculty for Palestine and academics across the country for his unprecedented and dangerous acts of state political interference in the public funding of an academic conference. The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) called for the Minister’s resignation around this incident, finding it “simply unacceptable” for the Minister to engage in any act that “compromises the integrity and public purpose of universities”. The sole target of the Minister’s actions was an academic conference at York University titled Israel/Palestine: Mapping Models of Statehood and Paths to Peace. His actions were so egregious that they have since been the subject of two major inquiries, one of which is written up in the newly published book titled No Debate: The Israel lobby and free speech at Canadian universities.

Free expression on Canadian campuses, including both academic discourse and political analysis, must be protected from these kinds of political interference and all attempts of censorship. Unlike the Conservative government, we encourage and invite open debate and discussion on the full spectrum of views on the Israel/Palestine conflict. As public events on university campuses, IAW talks are open to anyone who wishes to attend and is willing to participate within the standard regulations governing debate and events on university campuses.

For eight years, Israeli Apartheid Week has provided a model for free and open discussion by providing a week-long series of public lectures by academics and activists on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Currently IAW events are held on campuses in over 100 cities around the world. Many of these lectures address, in a factual manner, the nature of Israeli rule of a Palestinian population of some five million people within the borders which it controls and the effects of the exclusion of a similar number of Palestinian refugees. This system of blockade, occupation, settlement, discrimination and exclusion has been described as a form of apartheid by a wide range of scholars, journalists, activists, politicians, UN officials and legal experts including former Minister of Government in South Africa Ronnie Kasrils and former Special Rapporteur to the UN Commission on Human Rights John Dugard. IAW events examine these conditions while also building awareness for the movement for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against apartheid Israel as called for by over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations in 2005.

The recent welcome for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Ottawa is just the latest indicator of where the current government stands on this issue. It is a serious threat to democratic interchange that the Harper Conservatives use their position as government to try to shut down discussion and debate on their uncritical support for every action of the Israeli state, including ongoing violations of international law and the human rights of Palestinians.

Israeli Apartheid Week has played an important role in opening up this discussion. This has been recognized by Palestinians, Jewish anti-Zionists, and South Africans including Bishop Desmond Tutu, and journalist Naomi Klein. Israeli Apartheid Week has always condemned anti- Semitism and all forms or racism including Islamophobia, and will continue to do so.

Endorsing signatories:
Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign (BIAC) – Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories
Building Bridges Vancouver
Canada Palestine Association, Vancouver
Canadian Palestine Support Network (CanPalNet)
Canadian Arab Federation (CAF)
Canadian Boat to Gaza
Canadian Forum for Justice and Peace in Sri Lanka
Canadian Peace Alliance
Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME)
CanPalNet Winnipeg
Centre for Social Justice
Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA) – Toronto
Coalition of Arab Canadian Professionals and Community Associations (CAPCA)
College and University Workers United (CUWU, Montreal)
Edmonton Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (EQuAIA)
Edmonton Small Press Association (ESPA)
Educators for Peace and Justice (EPJ)
Faculty for Palestine (F4P Toronto)
Faculty for Palestine (F4P Alberta)
Faculty for Palestine (F4P Carleton)
Greater Toronto Workers Assembly (GTWA)
Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War
Independent Jewish Voices (IJV)
Independent Jewish Voices, Toronto
International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN)
Labour for Palestine
Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Network
The Louis Riel Bolivarian Circle – Toronto
National Council of Latin American and Caribbean Women of Canada – LATIN@S
New Socialist Group
Nightslantern Suppressed News
No One Is Illegal Toronto
No One Is Illegal – Vancouver Coast Salish Territories
Not In Our Name: Jews Opposed to Zionism (NION)
NOWAR – PAIX
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty – OCAP
OPIRG – Toronto
OPIRG – York
Palestine House Educational and Cultural Centre
Palestine Solidarity Working Group, Laurentian University, Sudbury
Palestine Solidarity Network – Edmonton
Palestinian Association of Hamilton
Peace Alliance Winnipeg
People for Peace, London, Ontario
Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA)
Regina Solidarity Group
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
Seriously Free Speech Committee
Simon Fraser Public Interest Research Group (SFPIRG)
Socialist Project
SPHR McGill
SPHR UWO – Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights at Western University
SPHR Ryerson
SPHR – UBC
SPHR – University of Ottawa
Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) – Carleton
Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) – Regina
Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) – University of Toronto
Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) – York University
Students for Palestinian Rights – University of Waterloo
Students United in Representation of Latin America (SURLA)
Tadamon! – Montreal
Teachers for Palestine (T4P) – Toronto
Toronto Bolivia Solidarity
Toronto Coalition to Stop the War (TCSW)
Toronto Haiti Action Committee (THAC)
Voice of Palestine
Winnipeg CAIA
Women in Solidarity with Palestine (WSP)
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Statement – Minister Kenney issues statement on ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’
Ottawa, March 7, 2012

The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, issued the following statement on ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’:

Like many Canadians I am concerned with the rise of anti-Israel activities on campuses across Canada, culminating in the so-called ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’ (IAW), which is often promoted in a manner that disregards the rights and safety of Jewish students and professors.
Universities are meant to offer an environment in which academic discourse can take place freely. Jewish faculty and students have the right to engage in this debate without feeling the need to conceal their identity, or to self-censor.

The irony of this week cannot be overlooked. While singling out the only liberal democracy in the Middle East for condemnation, the organizers of IAW ignore Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s brutal slaughter of his own people and the suppression of basic human rights in many countries around the globe.

Debate over Israeli policy is legitimate and encouraged through academic dialogue. However, there is a point at which well-intentioned debate is overrun by hatred and intolerance, creating a toxic environment that prevents meaningful dialogue on important issues from taking place.
The organizers of Israeli Apartheid Week use the cover of academic freedom to demonize and delegitimize the State of Israel. In reality, this week is nothing more than an unbalanced attempt to paint Israel and her supporters as racist. This week runs contrary to Canadian values of tolerance, mutual respect, and understanding.

As Minister for Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, I call on all Canadians to reject anti-Semitism and all forms of racism, discrimination and intolerance, which are unacceptable and completely contrary to Canada’s fundamental values.

NOTE: This statement was originally accessed at the following link:
http://www.jasonkenney.ca/news/statement-by-minister-jason-kenney-condemning-israel- apartheid-week/

Joint Statement on Minister Jason Kenney’s condemnation of Israeli Apartheid Week

Joint Statement on Minister Jason Kenney’s condemnation of Israeli Apartheid Week
March 9, 2012

As organizations and groups committed to protecting freedom of expression and public debate on Palestine/Israel, we demand that Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney immediately retract his March 7th statement “condemning Israel Apartheid Week”. http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/statements/2012/2012-03-07.asp

This statement is the Conservative government’s latest attempt to silence activist groups and organizations in Canada that act or speak in support of the basic human rights of the Palestinian people. While Kenney’s statement claims to value “free exchanges of ideas” and “academic dialogue,” his targeted condemnation of Israeli Apartheid Week events on Canadian universities this week (and in previous years) is a blatant attempt to shut down free expression for Palestine solidarity on campus.

The Harper government’s track record clearly reveals that it does not actually value the university as “an environment in which academic discourse can take place freely”. Indeed, it has been actively involved in undermining this ideal that it claims to uphold. In 2009 the Conservative Minister of State (Science and Technology), Gary Goodyear was widely criticized by Faculty for Palestine and academics across the country for his unprecedented and dangerous acts of state political interference in the public funding of an academic conference. The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) called for the Minister’s resignation around this incident, finding it “simply unacceptable” for the Minister to engage in any act that “compromises the integrity and public purpose of universities”. The sole target of the Minister’s actions was an academic conference at York University titled Israel/Palestine: Mapping Models of Statehood and Paths to Peace. His actions were so egregious that they have since been the subject of two major inquiries, one of which is written up in the newly published book titled No Debate: The Israel lobby and free speech at Canadian universities. Read more..

Endorsing signatories:
Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign (BIAC) – Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories
Building Bridges Vancouver
Canada Palestine Association, Vancouver
Canadian Palestine Support Network (CanPalNet)
Canadian Arab Federation (CAF)
Canadian Boat to Gaza
Canadian Forum for Justice and Peace in Sri Lanka
Canadian Peace Alliance
Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME)
CanPalNet Winnipeg
Centre for Social Justice
Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA) – Toronto
Coalition of Arab Canadian Professionals and Community Associations (CAPCA)
College and University Workers United (CUWU, Montreal)
Edmonton Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (EQuAIA)
Edmonton Small Press Association (ESPA)
Educators for Peace and Justice (EPJ)
Faculty for Palestine (F4P Toronto)
Faculty for Palestine (F4P Alberta)
Faculty for Palestine (F4P Carleton)
Greater Toronto Workers Assembly (GTWA)
Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War
Independent Jewish Voices (IJV)
Independent Jewish Voices, Toronto
International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN)
Labour for Palestine
Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Network
The Louis Riel Bolivarian Circle – Toronto
National Council of Latin American and Caribbean Women of Canada – LATIN@S
New Socialist Group
Nightslantern Suppressed News
No One Is Illegal Toronto
No One Is Illegal – Vancouver Coast Salish Territories
Not In Our Name: Jews Opposed to Zionism (NION)
NOWAR – PAIX
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty – OCAP
OPIRG – Toronto
OPIRG – York
Palestine House Educational and Cultural Centre
Palestine Solidarity Working Group, Laurentian University, Sudbury
Palestine Solidarity Network – Edmonton
Palestinian Association of Hamilton
Peace Alliance Winnipeg
People for Peace, London, Ontario
Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA)
Regina Solidarity Group
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
Seriously Free Speech Committee
Simon Fraser Public Interest Research Group (SFPIRG)
Socialist Project
SPHR McGill
SPHR UWO – Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights at Western University
SPHR Ryerson
SPHR – UBC
SPHR – University of Ottawa
Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) – Carleton
Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) – Regina
Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) – University of Toronto
Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) – York University
Students for Palestinian Rights – University of Waterloo
Students United in Representation of Latin America (SURLA)
Tadamon! – Montreal
Teachers for Palestine (T4P) – Toronto
Toronto Bolivia Solidarity
Toronto Coalition to Stop the War (TCSW)
Toronto Haiti Action Committee (THAC)
Voice of Palestine
Winnipeg CAIA
Women in Solidarity with Palestine (WSP)

Rhymes of Resistance and the Sounds of Existence

Saturday, March 10, 7pm  - Sunday, March 11, 2am
with poet Remi Kanazi, Red Slam and Chand-nee
at the Tranzac, 292 Brunswick Ave.
Doors open at 7:00 PM
$10 – $20, sliding scale**
Red Slam™ is a 5 member artist collective expressing their creativity through their Okra (story) and their Owena (word) in the spirit of indigenous oral traditions using contemporary poetry performance through the development of creative writing through visualization, music, and multi-media. A variety of themes are expressed in the pieces, but the underlying goal is to: uplift, self-identify and promote unify through Spoken, Lyricism which Arranges Meaning (SLAM). Slam members include: Lena Recollet Anishnaabe from Wikwemikong First Nation, an emerging playwright, actress and resident artist for Red Pepper Spectacle; John Hupfield Anishinaabe from Wasauksing First Nations, writer, filmmaker, and youth worker; Miles Turner Six Nations, filmmaker, emerging musical producer, and part of the NDN Uncensored creative team; Isaac Llacuachaqui Native, Spanish, Black Inca ancestry from Pachamama, a song writer and musician with RiverWalker Music; Mahlikah Awe:ri, 9th generation Afro-Native of Mohawk and Mik’maw First Nations from Nova Scotia, is a spoken-word artist, arts educator for the Royal Conservatory of Music, and digital story creator and facilitator.
Chand-nee is an artist, activist-scholar. She has been involved in community organizing locally and globally around issues of justice and equity for a number of years. Her southern African roots motivated her anti-apartheid activism and brought her to organize with Students Against Israeli Apartheid. Politics and music inspired her academic work on Palestinian hip hop and spoken word as a modality of youth cultural resistance.
**Tickets available in advance, at all IAW events

A People’s Interrogation of Law and Human Rights

Saturday, March 10, 3:00 – 5:00 PM
Speakers: Frank Barat, Faisal Bhabha
Location: Ryerson University, Library Building, Room 72, 350 Victoria St.
Hosted by Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) – Ryerson, and Students Against Israeli Apartheid
Frank Barat will give a brief historical overview of the work of the Russell Tribunal, including the Vietnam and South America tribunal of the 70s and will then focus on the Palestine tribunal with a strong emphasis on its last session, in Cape Town, that concluded that ‘Israel policies against the Palestinian People were in breach of the prohibition against Apartheid in International Law’. His presentation will then address the global pro-justice movement and look into the need to internationalise the struggle.
Faisal Bhabha has researched and published in the areas of human rights, equality, multiculturalism, national security and access to justice. Previously, he sat as Vice-chair of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. He holds an LL.M. from Harvard Law School and carried on a varied public and private law practice, appearing before administrative boards and tribunals and at all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada. He also advised or represented numerous public interest organizations and NGOs in matters related to constitutional law and human rights. Professor Bhabha’s perspective on legal research and education is global. He has spent time living and working abroad, including advocating for human rights in the Middle East, and researching comparative discrimination law in South Africa. Professor Bhabha’s current research focuses on diversity in legal education and in the legal profession. He has served as a member of the Equity Advisory Group of the Law Society of Upper Canada and has been involved in a number of local and international initiatives concerning justice and development.