Palestine

Canada & Israel: Building Apartheid
By Yves Engler
Fernwood Publishing/Red Publishing
Toronto, 2010, 168 pages.

Most Canadians today would probably agree that their country's foreign policy is pro-Israel. Even Canada's “liberal” supporters of Israel complain that siding so explicitly with Israel damages Canada's role of a peacemaker. It signals a shift away from the country's perceived balanced approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Leichhardt Friends of Hebron can be very proud of the Festival of Friendship for Hebron it held over June 25-26.

The event raised more than $5000 for a kindergarten in the impoverished village of Um al Khair in the South Hebron hills. It also won a significant political victory over the ban the previous Leichhardt Council administration placed on a Palestinian photo exhibition two years earlier.

The following statement was released on June 27 by the group Palestinian Queers for BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions – an international campaign to isolate Israel in protest against its treatment of Palestinians). Support for the BDS campaign has grown significantly since Israel’s massacre of peace activists on a boat taking aid to Gaza on May 31.

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Palestinian Queers for BDS call upon all queer groups, organisations and individuals around the world to boycott the apartheid state of Israel.

The statement below was released by Asian left groups on June 25. To add your organisation’s name, email international@socialist-alliance.org.

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Israel stands increasingly isolated after its manufactured confrontation on May 31, 2010, with the peace flotilla, in which nine Turkish activists on the Mavi Marmara were murdered. So now is the time to increase the pressure on Israel to lift the siege of Gaza.

Seven oxygen machines donated to the Palestinian Authority by a Norwegian development agency were seized by Israeli officials, Ma’an news agency said on June 25. The Ramallah-based PA health ministry said the machines were en route to hospitals in Gaza and the West Bank.

The ministry said in a June 24 statement that Israeli officials confiscated the machines, claiming the generators attached “came under the category of possible use for non-medical purposes” if they were delivered to Gaza.

US-Palestinian professor Saree Makdisi and Canadian-Palestinian lawyer Diana Buttu spoke on June 30 as part of a national tour to promote the international campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.

At the public meeting, Makdisi compared laws in apartheid South Africa with those in Israel and said “There are exact equivalent laws in Israel of all the African apartheid laws.”

He said the discrimination “begins with kids entering day care and continues for the rest of their lives”.

On June 14, Muhammad Juma Abu Wardeh, a 17-year-old Palestinian labourer, was shot and wounded by Israeli snipers along the “buffer zone” in eastern Gaza as he collected materials for a cement plant in Jabaliya, north of Gaza City.

Israel’s ongoing blockade against the Gaza Strip has prevented access to raw construction materials, forcing workers to risk their lives to trawl open agricultural areas for resources.

On June 20, US group Act Now to Stop War and Racism (ANSWER) released a statement, abridged below, on the blockade of the docks in Oakland that prevented an Israeli ship unloading its goods as part of the global boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign targetting apartheid Israel.

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“[We are] saddened by the mixture of politics and sports.”

So said a spokesperson for the Israeli Football Association in response to news on April 31 that the Turkish under-19 soccer team cancelled its match in Israel. Turkey's team made the move following the Israeli Navy's attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla that left at least nine dead and scores injured.

Then on June 1, the Swedish Football Association (SFA) announced that it would formally request European soccer's governing body to cancel Sweden's under-21 game in Israel on June 4.

An internationally renowned academic in the field of Islamic and Gender Studies, Dr Samar Habib (pictured), says pressure from management at the University of Western Sydney caused her to resign from her staff teaching position. Habib said she felt under intense pressure from the university while setting the course material for her compulsory first-year subject, Texts and Traditions. “There were constraints placed on me in terms of what texts I was able to include and who to teach with, and it became very difficult to exercise academic or creative control over my unit”, she said.

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