Dear Friend, I am appalled that censorship at a Canadian campus is celebrated by Israel’s advocacy organizations. Two weeks ago, they succeeded in ba

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latuff anti semitism Canada

Click here to tell the U. of Manitoba Student Council to reverse its censorship.

Dear Friend,

I am appalled that censorship at a Canadian campus is celebrated by Israel’s advocacy organizations. Two weeks ago, they succeeded in banning the University of Manitoba's Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA). For years, groups like the B’nai Brith and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs have been slandering SAIA’s annual Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) with accusations of anti-semitism and attacks upon Jews at their events.

Unable to produce any examples of anti-semitism on SAIA’s part, the Student Council motion to ban SAIA bizarrely claims that Jewish students must be Zionists, and Zionists therefore constitute an “ethnic and national” group, “offended” and “intimidated” by SAIA.

AIsraeli-Apartheid-week CENSORED

Israel advocates are thrilled that they have set a precedent by banning Israeli Apartheid Week organizers.

Such arguments conflate questions of individual identity and origin with identification to a nationalist ideology. Furthermore, they also erase Palestinian citizens of Israel, who face multiple forms of systemic discrimination, as well as the many Jews who believe in equal rights for all and who stand in solidarity with Palestinians. I am convinced that banning SAIA is inexcusable and I want you to take this simple step to sign this letter now to have SAIA reinstated as a student group.

CENSORED Palestinian students face real dangers trying to attend school under Israeli occupation

Palestinian students face real dangers trying to attend school.

What these organizations don’t want you to know is that progressive Jewish students like me are part of Israeli Apartheid Week in many campuses. We believe Palestinians and Jews should have equal rights, and are not afraid to criticize Israel’s actions.

This year, Israeli Apartheid Week was held in more than 100 cities, featuring workshops, film screenings, conferences and cultural events aiming to build momentum around the global boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign against Israeli racial discrimination which we call apartheid. During these events, IAW activists maintain firm anti-harassment policies, and opposition to all forms of discrimination, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

Many of us have opposed the attacks on students and faculty here who speak out for Palestinian human rights, against the actions of the Israeli state, and the Canadian government. It must also be noted that Palestinian students face routine repression for their involvement in the popular resistance. These students take great risks just to speak out.

2009 IAW poster banned by U Censored Carleton because it could be seen to incite others to infringe rights and insensitive to the norms of civil discourse in a free and democratic society

2009 - In the aftermath of Israel’s bombing of Gaza, which killed over 1,300 Palestinians, including 410 children, this IAW poster was banned by Carleton University because it purportedly could “incite others to infringe rights" and is "insensitive to the norms of civil discourse in a free and democratic society".

Between 2003 and 2009 alone, 411 Birzeit University students in the West Bank have been incarcerated by Israel. More recently, protests against the Israeli assault on Gaza during Operation Pillar of Defense were banned at Tel Aviv University and the University of Haifa, while the Israeli police brutally attacked a peaceful demonstration by Palestinian students at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on November 20, 2012.

Israel advocacy organizations now want to take their campaign of campus censorship across Canada. Indeed, B’nai Brith Canada has stated “This is a precedent-setting move that should be emulated by students on every campus where IAW events take place.

I am proud that IJV members immediately joined efforts to have SAIA reinstated, by denouncing this attack on free speech. I urge you to do the same – tell the University of Manitoba Student Council that you object to the ban of SAIA.

Furthermore, the SAIA ban comes after student unions at York University and University of Toronto’s Scarborough and Mississauga campuses recently endorsed the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement against Israel.

Hillel McGill demo supporting attack on Gaza sm

Israel advocates only want their side of the conflict allowed. Photo of McGill Hillel during Operation Cast Lead.

It is clear that such attacks represent an effort by the Israel lobby to silence student voices and stifle all criticism of Israel. My Jewish heroes were never so obedient, nor did they ever shy away from speaking out against injustice.

I’m counting on you to join IJV in telling the University of Manitoba Student Council that they made a terrible mistake and should immediately reinstate SAIA

Amy Darwish portrait signature

p.s. Please forward this to your faculty, student, civil rights allies, family & peers. Please copy and paste this link and post to your social networks like Facebook!

UofW IAW posters 2013

U of Manitoba IAW 2013 posters by Krishna

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