IAM has often reported that the Palestinian global BDS movement has successfully dominated the anti-Israeli academic discourse.
Recently, pro-Palestinian activists have embraced "intersectionality," a reference to the concept that all "minority and oppressed groups" should work together to challenge "global oppressors." One of the most popular forms of intersectionality is the alliance between pro-Palestinians, African Americans, and indigenous groups. To recall, IAM reported in March on how Palestinian groups are building intersectionality alliances with other minority groups, "BDS Alliances are Growing in Different Directions," and in February IAM reported on "The Academic BDS Support Network." IAM noted that the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) announced that Palestinians stand in solidarity with Canada's Wet'suwet'en nation, opposing the TransCanada Coastal Gaslink pipeline which "aims to steal Wet'suwet'en land, use resource extraction to solidify control over Indigenous territories, destroy the environment and violate Indigenous laws." According to the BNC, the BDS movement has a similar struggle against imperialism. At the University of Toronto, Palestinian groups joined the anti-pipeline protestors, and representatives from Israeli Apartheid Week unfurled a large banner in support.
More cases of intersectionality have surfaced recently. The Faculty for Palestine in Canada (F4P), a group formed in Toronto in 2008, previously known as Committee of the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid, is a case in point. The F4P network includes over 600 faculty of all ranks from over 40 universities and 15 colleges across Canada, all active partners of the global BDS movement.
Last month, F4P expressed solidarity with the Black liberation movements and allied mobilizations of other "oppressed people." It demanded justice "in the face of racial terror, criminalization, surveillance, incarceration and murder of Black life in Canada and the US." It urged their supporters to "provide concrete material and political support." This solidarity call comes from their allied organizations, USACBI, and the BNC, which is based in Palestine. It has asked Palestinian solidarity organizations "to stand with the Movement for Black Lives and other Black-led organizations in their righteous struggle for justice." According to F4P, the "Black intifada" in the US is part of a long tradition of Black radical resistance that has inspired liberation movements globally, including BDS and the broader Palestinian justice project. The "Black Intifada" is a response to a number of deaths both in the US and Canada. The Black Intifada will come to protest the "historical neglect and profiling of Black, Indigenous and other racialized individuals." According to F4P, "we also acknowledge the disturbing resurgence of anti-migrant, anti-Asian/anti-Chinese, anti-Muslim, anti-Arab and anti-Latinx pandemic racisms."
Students Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights McGill (SPHR) took the same position. In an address to the McGill University community, the group stated: "Like the United States, the settler colonial state of Canada has long been a staunch defender of Israel's behavior, providing it with significant diplomatic, economic, and military aid, at the same time as it pursues the destruction of Indigenous land and life here on Turtle Island."
Likewise, as IAM reported, some of the alliances are in contradiction, such as the Palestinian group, Samidoun, the Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, has joined the group Sanctions Kill, in a rally in New York, in protest of sanctions. Declaring, "Sanctions Kill! Sanctions are War! End Sanctions Now!" Samidoun urged to end sanctions because sanctions are imposed against countries that resist American agendas. Samidoun explained that sanctions "are a weapon of Economic War," which results in shortages of necessities, hyperinflation, famines, disease, and poverty. "In every country, the poorest and the weakest – infants, children, the chronically ill and the elderly – suffer the worst impact of sanctions." Samidoun also promoted the "anti-imperialist alliance," which "recognizes imperialism as a global economic system." Samidoun called to oppose "US imperialism to assert its global hegemony in the interest of monopoly capital." But, Samidoun, of course, did not mind sanctions that target Israel.
Also, Palestinian BDS activists joined a demonstration outside the High Commission of Canada in London. The purpose of the protest was to "draw connections between British imperialism and the genocide of Indigenous peoples all over the world" and to "focus on stopping the colonial flow of capital." Protestors were chanting against "The violent legacy of British colonialism and settler colonial occupation of Indigenous peoples around the world." A representative of the Young London Palestine Solidarity Campaign read out a statement from the Palestinian National Committee of the BDS movement in solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en nation.
The protest movement unleashed by the killing of George Floyd, known as Black Lives Matter, is expected to increase the Palestinian - African American intersectionality on campus dramatically. IAM will report on this development.
JUSTICE IS INDIVISIBLE: FACULTY FOR PALESTINE IN SOLIDARITY WITH BLACK-LED JUSTICE MOVEMENTS AGAINST RACISM AND POLICE VIOLENCE
JUNE 7, 2020 ADMIN2
Floyd George Mural in Milwaukee. Painted Thursday, June 4, 2020, as a collective artists and community effort. Photo by Graham Kilmer, and posted June 5, 2020, on UrbanMilwaukee.
Faculty for Palestine (F4P Canada) expresses unwavering solidarity with Black liberation movements, and allied mobilizations of other oppressed people, demanding justice in the face of racial terror, criminalization, surveillance, incarceration and murder of Black life in Canada and the US. We urge our members and supporters to participate in the mobilizations (while practicing COVID-19 safety precautions) and/or to provide concrete material and political support.
We heed the calls from the mass mobilizations in the streets of Canada and the US as well as from our allied organizations, USACBI and the BDS National Committee (BNC) , the Palestinian coalition leading the global BDS movement. BNC has asked Palestinian solidarity organizations “to stand with the Movement for Black Lives and other Black-led organizations in their righteous struggle for justice.” This current rebellion is part of a long tradition of Black radical resistance that has inspired liberation movements globally, including BDS and the broader Palestinian justice project.
The US Black intifada comes in the wake of the racist police murders of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Tony McDade in Tallahassee, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, to name only the most recent in a very long list of such murders, including those of Black queer and trans people. In Canada, the death of an Afro-Indigenous woman, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, killed during a police intervention in her Toronto apartment, joins a long list of murders, historical neglect and profiling of Black, Indigenous and other racialized individuals. In just the last two months, Canadian police forces have murdered five Indigenous people: Eishia Hudson, Jason Collins, Stewart Kevin Andrews, Everett Patrick and Chantel Moore. In addition to endemic anti-Black racism , we also acknowledge the disturbing resurgence of anti-migrant, anti-Asian/anti-Chinese, anti-Muslim, anti-Arab and anti-Latinx pandemic racisms. We mourn the death of the unarmed Palestinian, Iyad Halak, shot dead on Saturday by Israeli police.
• Faculty for Palestine stands with the families of the murdered, sharing their demands for prompt and full investigations into the deaths of their loved ones, and their calls for justice.
The white settler colonies of the US and Canada were built on Black enslavement, Indigenous dispossession, racial capitalism, indentured and migrant labour, and patriarchal social relations. Contemporary protests reflect outrage at historical and ongoing white supremacy and at militarized policing to protect property and repress dissent. Justice cannot come through meaningless calls for police reform. We acknowledge the work of Black and other racialized activists and scholars who have elaborated critical new frameworks through decades of work.
• F4P therefore affirms its full support of: abolition and divestment from prisons, policing, and immigration detention; defunding police in favour of social investment in peoples’ needs; decolonization, redress and reparations for historic and ongoing violence against Black, Indigenous, migrant and racialized people.
Faculty for Palestine opposes the accelerating convergence of US and Israeli racial projects. Concretely, this includes exchange programs between Israeli occupation forces and US police, ICE, border patrol, and FBI agents to train, share technologies, and exchange worst practices including racial profiling, mass surveillance, spying, shoot-to-kill, detention and deportation. Canada is not an exception . In 2005, 32 police chiefs from across Canada travelled to Israel for an Israeli police and state-sponsored mission to deepen and further militarize security ties through joint police trainings and trade shows in high-tech security products. Further, and in line with U.S. state anti-divestment efforts, both the Conservatives and Liberals in Canada have advanced legislation to silence growing support for the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
• As a Palestinian solidarity organization, F4P calls for ending all missions and training exchanges of Canadian and US police forces, law enforcement, and border patrol with the Israeli apartheid regime and its occupation forces. We recommit to working with Palestinian prisoner support and human rights organizations, such as Addameer , and with all those detained and imprisoned. We rededicate support for the Birzeit University Right2Education campaign, in solidarity with Palestinian students and faculty subjected to arrests, beatings and imprisonment by the Israeli occupation forces. And we continue to work with the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and USACBI in struggle to end apartheid, institutionalized racism, policing and campus militarization.
Faculty for Palestine (F4P) formed in spring 2008 as a committee of the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA) in Toronto. The F4P network has grown to include over 600 faculty of all ranks (tenured, contract, emeritus, independent researchers, retired, visiting scholars) from over 40 universities and 15 colleges across Canada. We are also an active partner in the global BDS movement. From the beginning, Faculty for Palestine was formed in solidarity with, and endorses the, Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israeli (PACBI).
F4P organizes primarily in the following areas:
- the campaign for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, including the academic boycott and campus divestment
- the right to education under occupation and apartheid, and building ties with Palestinian colleagues, students and staff
- freedom of expression and the right to organize for BDS and Palestinian solidarity, and against Israeli apartheid
It’s Beyond Time
A Letter to the McGill Administration and to our Fellow McGill Students
On this day, July 1 2020, the Israeli coalition government led by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is scheduled to begin the process of formally annexing up to 30 per cent of the occupied West Bank, including the Jordan River Valley, based on the blueprint of US President Trump’s so-called “Deal of the Century.” Illegal under international law, annexation poses a grave threat to Palestinian life; it would deprive thousands of Palestinians of life-sustaining resources they depend on, by formalizing and intensifying Israel’s decades-old theft of their homes, their lands, and their water.
The Jordan River Valley has historically been a site of arable land and fertile soil, and the River Jordan is a significant source of water for Palestinians. According to a report by the United Nations, Israel has already set up an extensive system to divert Palestinian water to Israeli settlements, while Israeli drilling and pollution contaminates the waters still accessible to Palestinians. Given Israel’s current behaviour, the annexation of the Jordan River Valley can only be understood as an extension of its policy of environmental racism against Palestinians, and only further serves to deny them their human rights. It would also facilitate and accelerate the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the Jordan Valley and other regions targeted for annexation. In the words of nearly 50 independent UN human rights experts: “the morning after annexation would be the crystallization of an already unjust reality: two peoples living in the same space, ruled by the same state, but with profoundly unequal rights. This is a vision of a 21st century apartheid.”
How did we get here?
Ever since its establishment in 1948, the settler-colonial state of Israel has subjected Palestinians to a wide range of racist policies, designed to physically eliminate them from their ancestral lands, while erasing or appropriating their history and culture. From 1947 to 1950, Zionist paramilitaries and the Israeli army carried out the first major phase of this violent process, through a terror campaign of ethnic cleansing, including over 70 massacres, in which 15,000 Palestinians were killed, at least 530 villages and towns were destroyed, and around 750,000 Palestinians (half of the Palestinian population) fled their homes, and were barred from returning. To this day, Israel denies these refugees and their descendants their internationally-recognized Right of Return. The Palestinians who remained within the borders of the Israeli state have since been subjected to military rule, displacement and land expropriation, ghettoization and other forms of state-sanctioned discrimination, despite being Israeli citizens. In 1967, Israeli forces occupied the remaining Palestinian regions of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well as the Syrian Golan Heights. Once again, Israeli forces expelled 300,000 Palestinians from the West Bank, as well as 80 per cent of the Golan’s Syrian population.
In 1980, Israel formally annexed occupied East Jerusalem, in violation of international law. The next year, it annexed the occupied Golan Heights. Today, the Israeli government has pledged to begin annexing large parts of the West Bank, without granting citizenship rights to its Palestinian residents. As it did in occupied East Jerusalem, annexation would essentially formalize and entrench an Israeli policy of apartheid which has existed since 1967 in the occupied West Bank, where Israeli settlers enjoy full access to natural resources, infrastructure, and the protections of civil law, while Palestinians endure a brutal military regime of checkpoints, house demolitions, land theft, environmental destruction, deportation, and murder at the hands of Israeli soldiers, police, and settlers. Meanwhile, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip continue to live in ever-worsening conditions under a destructive blockade, where attempts to protest or resist the siege are met with the bullets of Israeli snipers.
Just like previous international reactions to Israeli atrocities, the response of the “international community” to the looming annexation has been predictably toothless. In particular, Canada’s government has not issued a single statement condemning the annexation, while Israel’s military continues to receive millions of dollars worth of hardware from Canadian contractors. Like the United States, the settler colonial state of Canada has long been a staunch defender of Israel’s behaviour, providing it with significant diplomatic, economic, and military aid, at the same time as it pursues the destruction of Indigenous land and life here on Turtle Island.
McGill University: Accomplice in Occupation, Enabler of Annexation
McGill University’s complicity in Palestinian dispossession and suffering is every bit as egregious and unapologetic as that of the Canadian government. As the apartheid reality in Palestine becomes increasingly impossible to deny, it’s beyond time for McGill to drop its investments in Mizrahi-Tefahot Bank, which operates branches in illegal Israeli settlements and finances the construction of new settlements on more and more stolen Palestinian land. It’s beyond time for McGill to ditch its investments in Re/Max, which sells real estate in these same settlements, thereby facilitating and profiting from the transfer of Israeli settlers into occupied Palestinian territory, in violation of article 49 of the Fourth Geneva convention. It’s beyond time for McGill to divest from L-3 Communications, a company that supplied equipment to Israeli checkpoints, provided engines for Israeli tanks, and helped assemble the Hermes 900 Unmanned Arial Vehicle (UAV) used in the 2014 attack on Gaza, in which Israeli forces were instructed to deliberately target Palestinian civilians.
McGill’s complicity in apartheid is not limited to its investments. It also extends to its network of exchanges and memoranda of understanding with Israeli educational institutions which are deeply implicated in the atrocities committed by the Israeli state. For instance, McGill has established partnerships with Tel Aviv University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, both of which are heavily and openly involved in military research and development (R&D). According to one Tel Aviv University professor, “Military R&D in Israel would not exist without the universities. They carry out all the basic scientific investigation, which is then developed either by defense industries or the army.” What’s more, Tel Aviv University’s Greenberg National Institute of Forensic Medicine has for a long time directly assisted in the state’s policy of detaining the dead bodies of killed Palestinians, as well as dissecting them without the family’s permission. Another formal partner of McGill, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, hosts a military intelligence training program, while its very rooftops have been used by Israeli snipers to shoot protesters in the Palestinian neighborhoods of Jerusalem.
It is beyond time for McGill to end its formal relationships with companies, universities and other institutions directly involved in the the subjugation and destruction of Palestinian lives, just as it cut its ties with the institutions complicit in South African apartheid in the 1980s, after concerted student activism.
To our fellow McGill students
Do not shy away from the conversation because it is deemed “taboo.” Conversations about human rights should never be taboo or controversial. Refusing to have a conversation about Palestinian human rights under the pretext that the situation is “too complex” for firm moral stances is essentially suggesting that the existence of Palestinians and their fundamental human rights are controversial, or just inconvenient.
Start listening to what Palestinians have been telling you all along, rather than shutting them down and treating them like they are “biased” or “too emotional” just because they are speaking from lived experiences. Palestinian students are routinely excluded and ignored in conversations about Palestine-Israel on campus. Too many fellow students will only take anti-Zionist narratives seriously on the condition that they come from the mouth of a white non-Palestinian. Despite the fact that these issues affect us in profound, often upsetting ways, Palestinian students rarely get asked “what do you think?” It is important to understand not only that negating, ignoring, or gaslighting Palestinians is a harmful micro-aggression, but that consistently doing so creates an unsafe, systemically violent environment for Palestinian students to exist on campus. We ask that you, our fellow students, start to actively notice when our voices are not present or when our lived experiences are dismissed, and to actively make strides to include us and listen to us.
Stop treating the colonization of Palestine as an “unsolvable two-sided conflict” between equally matched rivals. The details might be complicated, but the overarching truth is the reality of settler-colonial domination and subjugation of an indigenous people. Since the late 19th century, the Zionist colonial movement and subsequently the Israeli state, backed by other colonial powers, has been expanding by forcibly removing Palestinians from their ancestral lands, restricting them to exile or to ever-shrinking enclaves resembling Bantustans, and distributing their lands and resources to Israeli settlers. Today, the Israeli state alone controls the borders, the economy, the population registry, the infrastructure, the lands, and the waters between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, sustaining the unjust and violent domination of one ethno-national group over another.
The impending annexation merely marks a formalization, an escalation and a deterioration of this regime. It’s beyond time for our fellow students, as well as McGill University, to finally opt out of complicity in the violent erasure of Palestinians from their homeland, and decide which side of history they should stand on: that of Apartheid, or that of Justice.