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11
Mar
2012

Women, youth the focus of CU Israeli Apartheid Week

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Carleton University's Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) continued their Israeli Apartheid Week on Tuesday Feb. 6 with the showing of the acclaimed independent documentary, Budrus. The movie showed aspects of Palestinian nonviolent resistance, and was a part of SAIA's aim to dispel myths on the occupation of Palestine.

“Alongside the misconception that Palestinians resist the occupation by Israel with violence are the myths that women are less involved than men, and that young people in Palestine take a backseat when it comes to speaking out,” Dax D'Orazio, a SAIA member said.

“This film really breaks those myths, and we wanted to show that women and youth are really at the forefront of a lot of nonviolent protests that take place in Palestine, be it against the apartheid wall in the West Bank or in other areas,” he said.

This is SAIA-Carleton's fourth Israeli Apartheid Week.

IAW is a phenomenon that took off eight years ago in Toronto, spreading to over 100 cities and campuses worldwide. The movement draws similarities between the Israel-Palestine conflict and apartheid South Africa. It also presents the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions tactic as the most effective means of resistance, drawing the ire of both the Carleton administration and other student groups.

Among others, Canada's Immigration and Citizenship Minister Jason Kenney has come out repeatedly to state that Israeli Apartheid Week unfairly “demonizes” Israel. Mr. Kenney came out with another public statement on Feb. 6, going as far as to say that IAW is “promoted in a manner that disregards the rights and safety of Jewish students and professors.”

Although the film screening Tuesday night went smoothly, other SAIA events have been met with pro-Israeli demonstrations in the past.

“I just think it's very hypocritical,” Aziz Khatib, a third-year engineering student and SAIA member at Carleton said.  “Canada promotes itself as a place of democratic principles and free speech, it's ironic that officials would come out and mischaracterize what SAIA does.”

Since 2011, SAIA-Carleton has also launched its own divestment campaign, aiming to pressure the university to divest from corporations that manufacture weaponry used by Israel.

“It's very inspiring,” Mr. Khatib said, “everywhere I go I hear a lot of fellow activists that know the work we do, and IAW is growing fast around the world””it's very inspiring.”

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