Independent Jewish Voices is proud to support Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), an important initiative for education and mobilization to challenge Israel’s violations of international law. Events in Canada are taking place this week.
As noted on the IAW website, “Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) is an annual international series of events (including rallies, lectures, cultural performances, film screenings, multimedia displays and boycott of Israel actions) held in cities and campuses across the globe. Last year’s IAW was incredibly successful with over 215 cities participating worldwide. IAW seeks to raise awareness about Israel’s apartheid policies towards the Palestinians and to build support for the growing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel campaign.”
IJV views the government backlash against IAW as a shameful attempt to intimidate schools into censoring information that is supportive of Palestinians or critical of Israel. IJV stands by students and teachers who are resisting this government McCarthyism, just as the organization stands with allies in Palestine and Israel to seek a just resolution to their conflict.
“Critics of Israeli Apartheid Week such as Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and Liberal Party Interim Leader Bob Rae accuse organizers of singling Israel out. Ironically and hypocritically, these same critics are actually the ones singling Israel out – for exemption from international law,” said IJV steering committee member Sid Shniad. “They remain silent when Israel commits war crimes as it did during ‘Operation Pillar of Cloud’ this past fall.”
Shniad also noted that critics of Israeli Apartheid Week remain silent when Israel violates the ceasefires, as it has been doing at least once a day since the end of Pillar of Cloud. They remain silent on what many view as the racist practices of the Israeli state, including the recent revelations about forced sterilization of Ethiopian women, the adoption of segregated Palestinians-only and Jewish-only buses in the spirit of Jim Crow in the Southern US, and the deportation of Sudanese refugees, despite their lives being at risk.
“Israeli Apartheid Week is about treating Israel equally,” said Shniad. “It is about international law applying to Israel, just as it should apply to every other country. Unfortunately, there are many vested interests, including the Harper government, which ensure Israel enjoys impunity for its actions, no matter how criminal they may be.”
Independent Jewish Voices supports the movement for BDS against Israel as a crucial initiative for upholding human rights. International momentum is growing; a recent UN Human Rights Council fact-finding mission urged governments and corporations to consider applying political and economic sanctions on Israel over its illegal settlement construction in the West Bank.
Details for local events across Canada and around the world are available at apartheidweek.org.