Should the University of Toronto host "Israeli Apartheid Week"?


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Posted by Al Gordon on 14:45:01 2005/01/19

Should the University of Toronto host "Israeli Apartheid Week"?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, January 19, 2005, Toronto ON -- The Institute for Women s Studies and Gender Studies (IWSGS) at the University of Toronto recently announced on its email distribution service an Israeli Apartheid Week on campus starting January 31 (announcement below). Speakers will represent the Arab Students Collective, International Solidarity Movement, Political Prisoners Working Group, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights, the Palestinian Right of Return Group, and others.

"Those who fund universities, including taxpayers and private donors, generally expect their hard earned dollars will support open debate on major issues," said Alastair Gordon, VP Communications for the Canadian Coalition for Democracies (CCD). "The title of this conference appears to be a conclusion, not a call for debate, and the roster of speakers is almost laughably one-sided."

The branding of Israel as an apartheid state is the latest attempt to de-legitimize Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East. Wars, terrorism, UN resolutions, media condemnation and academic boycotts have all failed to destroy this tiny state. Now, those who seek Israel s destruction are attempting to identify Israel as the next South Africa, an apartheid state to be brought down through economic sanctions.

The problem with this campaign is that Israel is not apartheid. Israel is the only country in the Middle East where Arabs, Christians and Jews can vote for their representatives in free and open elections with a real choice of candidates. Arabs are full members of the Israeli Knesset (parliament) and sit as judges in the Israeli judiciary, including Abdel Rahman Zuabi who is a permanent member of the Israeli Supreme Court. Abdulmalik Dehamshe, an Arab representative, sits on the State Control Committee and was the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset. Both Israeli Arabs and Palestinians regularly bring cases to the Israeli Supreme Court. Ironically, Israel is the only Middle Eastern country where women enjoy full and equal rights, the stated mandate of IWSGS.

"One has to ask why the University of Toronto is hosting an anti-apartheid forum that vilifies a demonstrably non-apartheid state and ignores the apartheid of dhimmitude practiced in many Muslim countries," added Gordon. "Egypt, for example, practices religious apartheid, denying rights and imposing additional taxes and obligations on non-Muslims, especially Coptic Christians. This allocation of rights and obligations based on race or religion is apartheid, pure and simple.

"Is the University of Toronto hosting a free and scholarly exchange of ideas, or a racist rally masquerading as an academic conference?"

Donors to the University of Toronto and other interested parties may express their opinions of hosting such an event on campus by contacting the University of Toronto Governing Council.

University of Toronto Governing Council
Website http://www.utoronto.ca/govcncl/
Email




Israeli Apartheid Week
Monday, January 31
Al-Nakba (1948) and the Palestinian Refugees
7pm: Sidney Smith (100 St. George Street) room 2118
Hazem Jamjoum (Arab Students Collective)
Roots of Apartheid: Al-Nakba and the Right of Return
Stella Andonoff (Canadian-Palestinian Educational Exchange)
The Apartheid of the Camps: Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon Sima Zerehi
(Coalition Against the Deportation of Palestinian Refugees) Palestinians and
the Canadian Refugee Determination Process

Tuesday, February 1
Palestinian Political Prisoners
7pm: Sidney Smith (100 St. George Street) room 2102
Adam Hanieh (Sumoud: Political Prisoners Working Group)
Kole Kilibarda (International Solidarity Movement)

Wednesday, February 2
Labour Apartheid in Israel
6:30pm: Sidney Smith (100 St. George Street) room 2135
Ahmad Shokr (Arab Students Collective)
Palestinian and Migrant Labour in the Apartheid State
John Clarke (Ontario Coalition Against Poverty)
Solidarity with Workers under Apartheid
Workers Advice Center Documentary: A Job To Win

Thursday, February 3
The Apartheid Wall
7pm: Sidney Smith (100 St. George Street) room 2118
Shadi Hajjara (Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights)
The Palestinian Bantustan: An Open-Air Prison
Mazen Al-Masri (Arab Students Collective)
The Illegality of the Apartheid Wall and Canadas Responsibility

Friday, February 4
Resisting Apartheid: Divestment and the Palestinian Intifada 12pm
Assemble behind Robarts Library (Huron/Harbord) for Anti-Corporate Action
6pm: Medical Sciences Building (1 Kings College Circle) Auditorium Dr.
Ilan Pappe (Political Science Department, Haifa University) Rafeef Ziadah
(Al-Awda: The Palestine Right of Return Group)

Organized by the University of Toronto
Arab Students Collective
www.al-awda.ca
sumoud.tao.ca
refugees.resist.ca
www.sphr.org
www.cepal.ca
www.ocap.ca
www.palsolidarity.org

for more information email [email protected]

Via the email listserv of:

Institute for Women s Studies and Gender Studies
University of Toronto
40 Willcocks Street
Toronto, ON M5S 1C6

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