Feb. 12, 2011: Speaking Up for Palestinian Rights

Understanding recent attempts to silence criticism of Israel in Canada

Free Public Forum
Saturday February 12, 6:30 pm
SFU Harbour Centre
515 W. Hastings St.

Student organizations at UBC have come under attack for opposing Israel’s illegal siege of Gaza. Jenny Peto’s Master’s thesis, ‘The Victimhood of the Powerful: White Jews, Zionism and the Racism of Hegemonic Holocaust Education,’ was condemned in the national media and by three members of the Ontario legislature. A public forum to discuss attacks in Canada on freedom of speech about Israel/Palestine.

Featured Speakers:
Jenny Peto – Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (Toronto)
Omar Chaaban – Solidarity with Palestinian Human Rights – UBC
Brian Campbell – Seriously Free Speech Committee

Over the past few months, two student organizations at UBC have come under attack for their efforts to oppose Israel’s illegal siege of the Gaza Strip.

The situation at UBC began when the Social Justice Centre approved a donation for the Canadian Boat to Gaza at the request of the UBC chapter of Solidarity with Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR). The Canadian Boat is part of an international effort to break the illegal siege on Gaza and expose the Canadian government’s unjustified support for Israel.

Since then, zionist groups on campus have engaged in a vicious campaign to both block this donation from being granted and to undermine the work of these student groups.

This campaign is part of a wider strategy by pro-Israel groups in Canada to undermine solidarity work for Palestine. As recently documented by Al Jazeera, attacks on Palestinian-solidarity organizations and individual activists are escalating in Canada, from the defunding of the Canadian Arab Federation and KAIROS to the banning of British MP George Galloway from entering Canada, the condemnation of Israeli Apartheid Week, and the attempts to ban Queers Against Israeli Apartheid from the Toronto Pride Parade.

This repression is happening at a time when, around the world, opposition is growing to the ongoing human rights violations and war crimes committed by Israel against the Palestinian people. It is also happening at a time of increased repression within the state of Israel itself, where efforts by both Palestinian citizens of Israel and Israeli human rights organizations to challenge Israel’s apartheid policies are increasingly criminalized.

Join us for a free public forum to discuss why these attacks on free
speech are happening in the context of Palestine support work in
Canada, and what we can do to stop them.

About Jenny Peto:

A member of the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid in Toronto, Jenny has a Master’s degree in Sociology and Equity Studies from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto. Her Master’s thesis, entitled ‘The Victimhood of the Powerful: White Jews, Zionism and the Racism of Hegemonic Holocaust Education,’ has been at the centre of a recent firestorm generated by pro-Israel groups in Canada. Jenny has faced personal attacks in the media and her work was condemned by three members of the Ontario legislature. These attacks have been met with a powerful response from hundreds of outraged individuals and from a wide range of organizations including Faculty for Palestine, PACBI, IJV, the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) and the Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA).

For more background information please check out the following links:

Sponsored by the SFU Teaching Support Staff Union Social Justice Committee

For more information:organizer (at) tssu.ca

Endorsers (in alphabetical order): Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign Vancouver, Canada Palestine Association, Canada Palestine Support Network (CanPalNet), Canadian Boat to Gaza, Independent Jewish Voices BC, Seriously Free Speech Vancouver, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights- UBC, Stopwar.ca, Voice of Palestine

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