On April 28-30, the Liberation Conference was held in Ottawa, Canada to examine strategies for Palestine solidarity work going forward in North America. The conference was organized by Masar Badil, who has already held several conferences in Europe, Brazil and Lebanon and is working to harness the new energy amongst diaspora Palestinians.
The conference was attacked by Zionist lobby groups before the first speaker even stepped to the platform, based on a now familiar litany of fraudulent charges of “terrorism”. The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs CIJA, along with the National Post newspaper, went on an inflammatory rampage, warning of some “shadowy terror-connected network devoted to Israel’s destruction”.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network was, and is, one of the main targets of these smear campaigns, and their international coordinator Charlotte Kates commented this way:
“Time and again, we see Zionist lobby organizations demanding the silencing, criminalization and persecution of those demanding justice for Palestine and refusing to allow Palestine to be excluded from discussions of social justice. We view the attacks on Samidoun as attacks primarily on the Palestinian prisoners themselves, attempting to isolate and extend their imprisonment through silencing and intimidation.”
The pro-Israel lobby is frantic about the clear anti-colonial and anti-Zionist basis of recent Palestine solidarity organizing, especially amongst students and youth. A clarity that often got lost after the signing of the Oslo accords but is now being revived.
Historically, Palestinian activists in Canada have always challenged the Zionist narrative. In October 1975, the leading pro-Israel paper in Vancouver at the time bemoaned the anti-Zionist organizing on UBC campus, due to the upcoming visit of war criminal Moshe Dayan. That visit involved two local meetings, both of which were met with noisy protests; the banner that was done up for the events showed the clarity of the support movement at that time – “Support the Palestinian People’s Struggle against Imperialist-Zionist Aggression”.
Read the full article by Marion Kawas here.
PAJU also carried the article in both English and French on its website.