Please join the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA) in telling Toronto’s Mayor John Tory that there is no ‘equity’ in apartheid! Urge him to cancel the City of Toronto’s participation in the May 17th Jerusalem conference now by withdrawing the participation of the City’s Director of Equity, Diversity and Human Rights.
a) Sign the CAIA petition, “City of Toronto: Don’t whitewash racist Israeli policy in the name of equity!” and share it widely with your friends and networks.
b) Check out more information on this campaign below. Educate your friends, family and colleagues by sharing this page including organizational list-serves, social media. Use the following: #EquityNotApartheid @John Tory
c) Send an email from yourself or your organization to Mayor John Tory – email@example.com – urging him to cancel the City of Toronto’s participation in the Jerusalem conference. Use the material from this page and the home page in your email. Please cc CAIA in your email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
d) Join us at the rally at Nathan Phillips Square on Friday May 13, 2:30pm. Help us deliver the message to Mayor Tory in person, loud and clear! Invite your friends over Facebook here.
Basic Information about the “TORONTO CITY HALL: EQUITY NOT APARTHEID!” campaign
- the City of Toronto plans to participate – and provide the keynote speaker through the Office of Equity, Diversity and Human Rights – in the upcoming May 17, 2016 “Jerusalem as a Culturally Competent City” conference in Jerusalem.
- The Jerusalem Conference, is part of a “rebrand Israel” campaign to take the focus off Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and its international law violations, and refocus it on celebrating Jerusalem as a model of multicultural tolerance and “coexistence”. Indeed, the Mayor
- Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat is the first speaker of the conference, in the “Festive Openings and Greetings” segment. In 2010, Mayor Barkat told the Israeli Knesset (parliament) that the number of Palestinian residents in Jerusalem poses a “strategic threat”, citing a 70-30 Jewish majority as “the government’s goal”. During his time in office, nearly 60,000 Palestinians in Jerusalem were left without water for three months. In addition, according to a December 2015 report by Israeli human rights group Ir Amin, the official municipal education system has capacity for only 42% of Palestinian students in occupied East Jerusalem due to a shortage of classrooms – with 42% having to seek education in unofficial schools. Just recently in October 2015, Mayor Barkat was roaming an East Jerusalem neighbourhood with a gun. A statement by the City of Jerusalem affirmed his actions saying that “the mayor encourages licensed gun owners to carry their weapons to increase security. He himself serves as a personal example of this.” These statements not only reflect the mayor himself, but the official policy of the City of Jerusalem towards the indigenous Palestinian population.
- The city of Toronto’s participation in a conference with speakers from an Israeli settlement (Ramot) encourages settlement activity and undermines Canada’s responsibility to respect and ensure respect for international humanitarian law.
- The city of Toronto’s participation in the Jerusalem Conference undermines the Palestinian civil society call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). Issued in 2005, the call is signed by over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations including those whose mandate is equity and human rights such as the General Union of Palestinian Women (GUPW), ADDAMEER: Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, the Palestinian NGO Network, the Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center and was later endorsed by Palestinian Queers for BDS and Aswat Palestinian Gay Women and other groups. Today, eleven years after the initial BDS call from Palestinians, global support for BDS has grown enormously particularly from feminist, queer and anti-racist organizations including the Israeli Coalition of Women for Peace, the U.S.-based National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA), Critical Ethnic Studies Association, Native American and Indigenous Studies Association and the Simone de Beauvoir Institute (Concordia University, Montreal).
- In its May 8, 2016 letter to the City of Toronto, the General Union of Palestinian Women (one of the signatory organizations on the 2005 BDS call) is clear in identifying the problem: “Your participation in this conference plays in the hands of Israel’s propaganda. Falsely presenting Jerusalem as a ‘culturally competent city’ masks the city’s reality: arbitrary killings of indigenous Palestinians and systematic discrimination with the explicit aim of ridding the city of its Palestinian residents. Equity cannot exist in Jerusalem until Israel’s systematic discriminatory laws are changed. We urge you to refrain from aiding our oppression: cancel your participation in this conference.”
- CAIA formally reached out to the city of Toronto on April 30, 2016 to express its concern over the city’s participation in the conference and to request a formal meeting to discuss the issue. The city responded on May 6, 2016 to confirm that it will continue its participation, and has declined to meet with us.