Wednesday, March 7, 2012

#IAW Event Threatened With Cancelation Now Gets the Green Light Again!!!

As you can see from the title of this post, the Israeli Apartheid Week Event threatened with cancelation has now been reconfirmed and will go ahead as planned!
Below  you will find the initial Urgent Call out for Solidarity. This post is followed by the update from SPHR as well as a letter of support from GSAED.
Please read and distribute! The solidarity shown to SPHR and SAIA was amazing! Keep up the posts on Facebook, the RTs on Twitter, the letters and general support! As you can see, it worked! Within hours! Thank you all!
~ Sofia Smith

Defend the right to critical discussion around Israeli apartheid on our campuses! Call on the University of Ottawa Administration to uphold free expression and follow clear and transparent procedures.

On March 5th, Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) 2012 opened at the University of Ottawa to a packed room, as students, faculty, and community members were treated to an informative lecture entitled “Arab Spring, Apartheid Falls? The Egyptian Uprising and Possibilities for Palestinian Resistance.” It featured an Egyptian activist who played an important role in the revolution that overthrew the Egyptian dictatorship, as well as a community activist from Montreal (for full schedule, see:

Moreover, two students from the organizing committee were harassed by unidentified individuals, who on several occasions attempted to intimidate SPHR and Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) just outside the lecture hall during the event.

On March 6th, a member of SPHR received an email from Conventions and Reservations Services at the University of Ottawa telling her that their room booking for Thursday’s Keynote IAW event is now “on hold”, that SPHR “may not continue with this event for now”, and that SPHR's contract was being forwarded to “Protection Service for evaluation.” These heavy-handed measures are because of an unnamed “incident” that supposedly occurred at Monday’s event. When members of SPHR met with the University administration, they were not told what this “incident” was (see below for full email from U of O). The very fact that the organizers were put in a situation, where their event was threatened with cancellation, is a form of intimidation from the University of Ottawa administration.

In 2009, the Administrations at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University banned the international-used IAW poster, gaining national and international headlines. SPHR and SAIA see today's email as another attempt to silence the voices of students who advocate for Palestinian human rights. When the IAW poster was banned in 2009, we stood up and fought back with all of your support.


UPDATE (originally posted at
To those who've responded to the SPHR call-out:

Dear friends,

Thank you for your support. The University of Ottawa has re-confirmed the room reservation for the lecture event on Thursday, March 8th. As such, the panel discussion, entitled "Legalized Apartheid and Women's Resistance in Palestine: Principled Solidarity and the Global Struggle for Liberation" will proceed as planned at 7:00pm that evening.

However, the University has imposed the presence of agents from the Protection Services as a condition for the event to take place, after evaluating a complaint by unknown persons regarding our event on March 5th ("Arab Spring, Apartheid Falls? The Egyptian Uprising and Possibilities for Palestinian Resistance"). While we will not be contesting this decision at this point, it is our belief that such a security presence is unnecessary and does not contribute to a safe and open environment for our guests and speakers. Furthermore, despite repeated demands, we have received almost no information on the details and exact nature of the aforementioned complaint, leaving us entirely in the dark as to the reasons why a previously confirmed lecture event was precipitously placed in jeopardy only two days before it was due to take place.

As such, we encourage you to continue writing to the University of Ottawa Administration to demand transparency through the release of information about the complaint, as well as information as to how it was evaluated by the administration and how the latter motivated the decisions it took in consequence. It is both unacceptable and highly suspect that the University of Ottawa has taken such arbitrary action without any due explanation.

You may e-mail: - Allan Rock – President, University of Ottawa, and; - Martin Bergeron, Coordination Agent - Conventions and Reservations Services

Or call :

Allan Rock – President, University of Ottawa - Telephone: 613-562-5809

Martin Bergeron, Coordination Agent - Conventions and Reservations Services

Bureau / Office : (613) 562-5800 ext: 2825 Cellulaire / Cell : (613) 796-8099

Please include in CC: &

Secondly, please join us on Thursday, March 8 for IAW 2012’s Keynote Panel Discussion “Legalized Apartheid and Women's Resistance in Palestine: Principled Solidarity and the Global Struggle for Liberation” on the University of Ottawa campus, in Hagen Hall Room 302 (near Laurier Bus Station).

UPDATE (Letter by GSAED - also originally posted at
Mr. Rock and Mr. Bergeron,

It has come to GSAED’s attention that the University of Ottawa is attempting to cancel the Thursday Israeli Apartheid Week Events. This news is very worrisome and entirely deplorable.

This event is supported by... the GSAED – as graduate students and graduate student representatives we strongly value the work of Students for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) who highlight the continuing human rights abuses and the conditions Palestinians live under Israeli occupation. Furthermore, it is also International Women’s Day and it is imperative that we have discussions about the experiences of Palestinian women and their resistance to oppression and occupation.

I urge the University of Ottawa to take measures to ensure that SPHR will be granted the room booking without hesitation, and play a role in supporting the work of students on this campus. Do not play a role in silencing them.

We also require to know the reason the University of Ottawa attempted to shut down the events in the first place, which is concerning as we are very aware the university has attempted to silence SPHR in the past by banning posters.

GSAED will continue to monitor the outcome of this request and will do everything in our power to ensure the event will go forward without delay.

Taiva Tegler

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