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Israeli Apartheid Week a Success

Events were well attended.The event was not without conflicts. Zionist students at York University, in response to Israeli Apartheid Awareness Week, organised Islamic State Apartheid Awareness Week. However, York authorities quickly banned the Zionist-organised event, calling it “racist” and “Islamophobic.”

Events were well  attended.Hundreds of students from universities in Toronto attended lectures and seminars condemning Israeli Apartheid against Palestinians.

Israeli Apartheid Awareness Week, from February 4th to 9th, was organised by Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA). It called for an end to Israeli sanctions on the Gaza Strip, an end to the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, for Israel’s recognition of the right of return of Palestinian refugees to their homeland, and for the academic boycott of the Jewish State.

Palestine, occupied since the creation of the Zionist state in 1948, has had more and more of its land usurped by Israel in order to build Jewish settlements.

Lecture topics included “An Introduction to Apartheid,” “60 Years of Exile”, “Apartheid and the Current Context in Palestine”, and “Nakba and the Right of Return” and were held at the University of Toronto, York University, and Ryerson University.

Palestinians, according to lecturer Toufic Haddad, in addition to being treated as second class citizens, are “identified by religion in order to downplay Arab Nationalism.”

“Israel is in the process of finalising a Palestinian Bantustan,” he said in his lecture on Tuesday, comparing Israeli apartheid today to apartheid in South Africa, which lasted 46 years. He also said that the Middle Eastern peace process was “false”.

Khaled Mouammar, president of the Canadian Arab Federation (CAF), pointed out that Israel does not recognise the right of return of 7.2 million Palestinian refugees but encourages millions of Jews from all over the world to move to Israel.

“You cannot negotiate with an occupier on the issue of your freedom,” he said.

The week culminated in a demonstration outside the Israeli Consulate in downtown Toronto. Hundreds of students and parents held up picket signs outside the Consulate, calling for an end to the siege of Gaza, which, until recently, had been without electricity and other resources due to tough Israeli sanctions.

The event was not without conflicts. Zionist students at York University, in response to Israeli Apartheid Awareness Week, organised Islamic State Apartheid Awareness Week. However, York authorities quickly banned the Zionist-organised event, calling it “racist” and “Islamophobic.”

SAIA members have called the Week a huge success, due to the high turnout of students and an increase in the number of recruits to the organisation.

However, SAIA members insist that their job is not yet done until they can successfully pressure and force certain universities, namely York University and the University of Toronto, into launching an academic boycott against Israel.

What SAIA said encouraged them most of all was not only the high student turnout throughout the week, but also the multiculturalism aspect of the week. Students of all faiths, including Muslims and Jews, marched together, calling for an end to Israeli oppression and racism.

Khaled Mouammar said it best: “One wall has fallen, now the other ones will fall.”

About Nadir Amirali

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