Webinar: Silencing Palestine in the Education System
Held on Sat. Nov. 19, 1 PM ET
Check out the resources shared during the webinar.
Action you can take:
Contact your local school board (administration, trustees, educators) and share the webinar and the anti-Palestinian racism report for the Canadian Lawyers’ Association. Contact local federations, unions and other organizations involved in education including parent organizations, and your provincial/territorial Ministry of Education. Ask them to follow the example of Peel Region District School Board and including anti-Palestinian racism in their anti-racism policy. (see resources below).
Education is used to promote the discourse of the colonizer while negating the indigenous population. This is the case here on Turtle Island as it is in Palestine.
This webinar will look at the Israel settler-colonial project and how the narrative in education is used to silence and discriminate against the indigenous Palestine population both in historic Palestine but also the diaspora here in Canada.
Organizers Just Peace Advocates and Canadian Foreign Policy Institute brought together this panel as part of our support for the International Day of Solidarity for the People of Palestine on November 29th.
Dr. Nurit Peled-Elhanan
Lecturer, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Discussing: Palestine in Israeli Schoolbooks
Dr. Samira Alayan
Senior Lecturer and Researcher, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Discussing: The power of education: the case in Israel and in Palestine
Michelle Weinroth, academic and activist from Ottawa, and Kathy Copps, retired teacher from Vancouver
Discussing: The Attack on Palestine Through Education in Canada
Moderator: Bianca Mugyenyi, Canadian Foreign Policy Institute
The webinar explored how Palestine is covered in Israeli textbooks as well as Palestinian education in East Jerusalem and the West Bank/Gaza.
This is important in not only understanding the settler- colonial project but also to have accurate information to dispute the Israel lobby’s regular disparaging of UNRWA funded education as part of their bid to stop Canadian funding for Palestinian refugee education.
Speakers considered how Palestine is treated in the Canadian education system. There have been many examples of anti-Palestinian racism in Canadian schools and the Israel lobby has promoted schools adopting the IHRA’s anti-Palestinian definition of anti-Semitism.
Information shared about Canadian schools during the webinar
Just this past week the Thames Valley District School Board in South Ontario ended up apologizing after they included that a slogan “Free Palestine” was an example of a label on clothing that could incite violence.
The following letter has been sent by the Canada Palestine Association to the Executive of the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation
In early December the Waterloo Regional District Board of Education will consider implementing the problematic IHRA definition. You can take action by writing a letter HERE.
A similar attempt failed in the York Region District Public Board when Palestinian, Jewish and others concerned about this anti-racist definition came together to speak out.
December 2021, the Toronto District School Board Office of the Integrity Commissioner published a report following an independent investigation into social media comments by Trustee Alexandra Lulka. Their findings raised a number of serious concerns about anti-Palestinian racism and Islamophobia, however, concerningly the Toronto District turned down their won Integrity Commissioner’s recommendation.
Anti-Palestinian racism included in anti-racism policy
On a positive note, the Peel District School Board earlier this year approved the most comprehensive anti-racism policy that has ever been announced by a school board in Ontario, including naming anti-Palestinian racism.
(you can down load actually policy from link on the above website)
The Arab Canadian Lawyers Association has developed an important resource
ANTI-PALESTINIAN RACISM: NAMING, FRAMING AND MANIFESTATIONS.
This resource with the engagement of the Palestinian community was used by the Peel District school board in their anti-racism policy
(can down load the resource from the link above)
The definition according to the Canadian Arab Lawyers Foundation include that:
Anti-Palestinian racism is a form of anti-Arab racism that silences, excludes, erases, stereotypes, defames or dehumanizes Palestinians or their narratives. Anti-Palestinian racism take various forms including: denying the Nakba and justifying violence against Palestinians; failing to acknowledge Palestinians as an Indigenous people with a collective identity, belonging and rights in relation to occupied and historic Palestine; erasing the human rights and equal dignity and worth of Palestinians; excluding or pressuring others to exclude Palestinian perspectives, Palestinians and their allies; defaming Palestinians and their allies with slander such as being inherently antisemitic, a terrorist threat/sympathizer or opposed to democratic values.
More important Tactical and Legal Resources
Also you are encouraged to check out the Just Peace Advocates Comprehensive Legal and Tactical Guide and associated information sheets for Palestine advocacy work in Canada from
Independent Jewish Voices resources mentioned during webinar
Learn more about BDS in Canada
Info about Canada’s donations to UNRWA
Canada is a top ten donor to UNRWA, helping to meet basic education, health, and livelihood needs, as well as funding to emergency appeals. In 2020, Canada and UNRWA signed a multi-year agreement worth CAD 75 million for the Programme Budget and another three-year agreement for the Syrian Regional Emergency Appeal worth CAD 15 million. In addition, Canada pledged CAD 1.5 million for the COVID-19 Appeal in 2020 and CAD 4 million to the oPt Flash Appeal in May 2021.
UNRWA funding to date 2022
Despite Canada’s support to UNRWA at best Canada historically abstains in regard to support of UNRWA during UNGA votes. Again this year this is the case.