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With this letter I would like to officially withdraw as a member of the jury for the 2008 Prize of the Alex and Ruth Dworkin Foundation for the Promotion of Tolerance through Cinema (2008 Prix annuel de la Fondation Alex et Ruth Dworkin pour la promotion de la tolérance à travers le cinéma) at the Rendez-Vous du Cinéma Québecois.
For those who may not be aware, this prize, which includes a grant of $5000, “goes to a producer representing the production team which has best demonstrated, in the winning work, a message of comprehension and tolerance”.
I accepted the invitation from the Rendez-Vous du Cinéma Québecois to join this year’s jury in good faith. But after examining in more detail the political and financial basis of the prize I must refuse to have my name associated with it. Behind this noble sounding “award for tolerance” hides a story of intolerance, division and discrimination.
Firstly, I quit the jury because the Prix annuel de la Fondation Alex and Ruth Dworkin is an initiative of the Congrès juif canadien, Région du Québec, an organization which I consider to be a vehicle for the Israeli propaganda machine and fundamentally intolerant of dissent and difference, particularly when it comes to Israeli government policies.
One case in point is the refusal of the national leadership of the Congrès juif canadian (CJC) to accept a recent membership application from the Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians (ACJC).
ACJC members “joined together to create a cross-Canada alliance of Jewish anti-occupation forces… whose views are not represented by the government of Israel or by the uncritical positions taken by the leadership of the major Jewish organizations in Canada.”
Part of the 5th international week of action against the apartheid wall, initiated by the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, to oppose Israeli occupation and ethnic cleansing and to support the movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions.
Leading up to ‘Palestinian Perspectives’, an evening of film screenings at the Cinéma du Parc in Montreal on November 29th, to commemorate 60 years of occupation and to celebrate the Palestinian voice. Featuring cutting edge cultural projects from Montreal & internationally, uniting in expression against Israeli Apartheid.
* Lubo Alexandrov: A Bulgarian-born guitarist, composer and singer, Alexandrov has developed a unique musical style, merging Bulgarian, Turkish and Roma musical traditions. Recipient of the 2007 Juno Music Award for the ‘Best World Album’. http://www.luboalexandrov.com
* Valerie Khayat: Poet, singer songwriter, Khayat has been active in folk, poetry and spoken word circles since 2004. She released her first book of poetry, ”The Road to Vesper”, and her first full length album, ”Resonance in Blue”, in 2007. http://www.myspace.com/valeriekhayat
* Kalmunity Vibe Collective members:
Jason Selman: Performance poet & musician
Mohamed Mehdi: Singer songwriter, poet.
Phenix: Hip-hop artist, poet of the Haitian diaspora.
* Ehab Lotayef: Writer, photographer, poet, activist and engineer.
* DJ Kandis: Middle Eastern, international beats, music from DJ Kandis.
Screening two films from the ‘Beyond Blue & Gray’ documentary project of Eyes Infinite Films, with an introduction by series producer Nirah Shirazipour:
An excellent article from THIS magazine concerning the growing national campaign to boycott Chapters/Indigo bookstore due to the support for the Israeli military from the company majority shareholders Heather Reisman & Gerry Schwartz...
Full Article at: This Magazine.
Imagination. Creativity. Inspiration. Three words to stir the soul crown the towering windows of Toronto’s flagship Indigo bookstore. At ground level, shoppers pass in and out of wood-framed glass doors, navigating planters and benches intended to create a friendly, front-porch sort of welcome. They take little notice as, on the sidewalk beyond, two women unfurl an off-white canvas banner. Printed on one side are another three words, less poetic perhaps than the store’s motto, but the intended effect is just as moving: Boycott Chapters/ Indigo.
No, the protest is not a last-ditch attempt by independent booksellers to draw the literate back into their fold. Rather, the activists—11 have turned up on this Friday in April, the first truly warm day of spring—are taking a page from a much larger book. They are members of the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA), a network of Palestinian rights, Jewish peace and socialist groups doing their part to promote an international boycott campaign against Israel. They compare themselves to the early voices against South African apartheid, and history, they believe, can repeat itself: If international pressure could help rescue South Africa from apartheid, the same can be true for Israel.
Montreal, September 18th 2007: The Montreal network of the Coalition against Israeli Apartheid welcomed former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney during a launch of his autobiography at Indigo bookstore by unfurling a banner denouncing the apartheid situation under which Palestinians are living...
Full release from Tadamon! Montreal.
Listen / Download HERE.
This edition of Radio Tadamon! brings you to the streets, from the ongoing demonstrations throughout Canada calling for a boycott of Indigo/Chapters bookstores due to their support for Israel, to the major demonstrations in Montabello, Quebec surrounding the North American trilateral summit in August 2007.
The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.