Event marks one-year anniversary of the BDS petition circulated at Concordia
The 2015 BDS Week started on Monday with its first lecture at the Hall building seventh-floor lounge. BDS, which stands for Boycott, Divest and Sanction, is a global movement to put pressure on Israel until it complies with international law and respects Palestinian rights.
BDS Week was organized by Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights Concordia (SPHR) and co-sponsored by the CSU and SPHR McGill to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the first petition about BDS passed around at Concordia. The week features daily events including presentations from lawyers, journalists and photographers.
Rami Yahia, BDS Week organizer with SPHR Concordia, said the event aims to promote the use of BDS as a nonviolent way to speak out against the occupation and settlement of Palestine.
“We also want to emphasize the international laws that are being broken by Israel,” he said.
While there are critics of the BDS movement, Yahia said the movement and SPHR Concordia have received a lot of support.
“We have a collaboration with the People’s Potato, we have Amnesty International collaborating with us,” Yahia said. “It’s just amazing.”
The BDS movement has also received support from the CSU as well as student unions, trade unions and NGOs across the country.
Indigenous and Palestinian struggles
BDS Week’s first event was a presentation by Clifton Nicholas, a documentary filmmaker and member of the Kanehsatake Kanien’kehá:ka Community. His presentation, called “Indigenous struggle in Canada and Palestine,” focused on the similarities between the indigenous struggle in Canada and problems currently facing Palestinians.
“The whole notion of an empty land open for exploitation is very familiar,” he said. “You hear the zionists notions of going to the desert and ‘making it bloom.’ It’s the same ideology that’s used here … these are the same arguments being used up to this day in particular with the tar sands.”
He also discussed how there are Palestinians who know Hebrew better than their own native language, similar to the way aboriginal children lost their language and culture through Canada’s residential school programs.
BDS Week continues until Nov. 30. To see a full list of events, visit facebook.com/sphr.official