Israel/ Palestine and the Queer International

Join University of Toronto Mark S. Bonham Centre Fellows Sarah Schulman and Richard Fung for an engaging conversation about Schulman’s latest book, Israel/Palestine and the Queer International.Schulman’s new book is a chronicle of her political awakening and involvement in the Palestine liberation movement. In her book, Schulman introduces us to anti-occupation activists in Tel Aviv and queer Palestinian activists in the West Bank. She takes us from New York to Jerusalem, Ramallah, Madrid, Berlin, and Toronto as she explores the developing movement for international LGBTQ support for Palestinians.

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Act Now: Stand in Solidarity with Palestinian Political Prisoners!

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
Time: 2pm
Organized by: Palestine House and the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA).
Facebook event page
Bring Palestinian flags, banners and your voices!

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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:

BDS Reportback from the World Social Forum: Free Palestine

Friday January 11, 2012 7pm
Beit Zatoun, 612 Markham St. Toronto

In the aftermath of apartheid Israel’s most recent attack on the people of Gaza, over 3000 delegates travelled to Porto Alegre, Brazil to participate in the World Social Forum – Free Palestine. From November 28 to December 1, 2012 this historic gathering brought together Palestinians and Palestine solidarity activists from more than 35 countries to discuss, educate, strategize, mobilize and expand networks across organizations and global campaigns. A popular theme of the forum was building joint strategies for advancing the Palestinian-led movement for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). BDS was also a primary focus for delegates from across Canada, all of whom are eager to share news of connections made, information gathered and insights gained through participation at the forum. Continue reading

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