Israeli Apartheid Week
Israeli Apartheid Week is an annual series of university lectures and rallies of the Israeli situation with the Palestinians held in February or March. According to the organization, "the aim of IAW is to educate people about the nature of Israel as an apartheid system and to build Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns as part of a growing global BDS movement". It began in Toronto in 2005 and, by 2010, spread to 55 cities around the world including locations in Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, South Africa, the West Bank, Mexico, Norway and Australia. The Israeli Apartheid Week is regarded as anti-Semitic by various political figures. Jason Kenney criticized the event, claiming that: "This week is nothing more than an unbalanced attempt to paint Israel and her supporters as racist. I call on all Canadians to reject anti-Semitism and all forms of racism, discrimination and intolerance." Conservative MP David Anderson criticized the event by saying that labelling Israel as an apartheid state is "abhorrent," and interim Liberal leader Bob Rae said the campaign "continues to defy logic. This year the focus continues to be on Israel, rather than on the appalling massacres and human rights violations that have reached intolerable heights in countries such as Syria and Iran."
The organizers said the week has "played an important role in raising awareness and disseminating information about Zionism, the Palestinian liberation struggle and its similarities with the indigenous sovereignty struggle in North America and the South African anti-Apartheid movement." An international divestment campaign was also said to have gained momentum in response to the 2005 statement by over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations who called for boycotts, divestments and sanctions. They also claimed that important gains had been made in the campaign in countries like South Africa, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States.
The years preceding 2008, a significant year in that it marked the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the state of Israel, had seen a sharp increase of literature and analysis that was said to have sought to document and challenge alleged Israeli apartheid, including reports issued by major international bodies and human rights organizations and findings published by political leaders, thinkers, academics, and activists. The efforts were also said to have highlighted the role that people and governments across the world could play in providing "solidarity with the Palestinian struggle by exerting urgent pressure on Israel to alter its current structure and practices as an apartheid state."
Opponents of Israeli Apartheid Week argue that it has fomented an upsurge of anti-Zionism on Canadian and American campuses. There is evidence that some supporters have expressed anti-Semitism.
Cities to have hosted a previous event of the Week are, amongst others: Oxford University (Oxford),  New York City, University of Toronto and University of Ottawa, Canada; Montreal, Hamilton, London, Cambridge and Soweto, South Africa.
In 2010, locations include Jerusalem, Amsterdam, Bard (NY), Beirut, Berkeley, Bethlehem, Bil'in, Bogota, Bologna, Boston, Cape Town, Caracas, Chicago, Connecticut, Duluth, Dundee, Durban, Eastern Cape, Edinburgh, Edmonton, Gaza, Glasgow, Guelph, Hamilton, Houston, Ireland, Jenin, Johannesburg, Kingston, London (ON), London (UK), Madrid, Melbourne, Minneapolis/St.Paul, Montréal, Nablus, New York City, Nil'in, Ottawa, Oxford, Peterborough, Pisa, Pretoria, Providence, Puebla, Roma, San Francisco, Seattle, Sudbury, Tilburg, Toronto, Truro (CA), Utrecht, Vancouver, Waterloo and Winnipeg.
The first Israeli Apartheid week was held Jan 31 to February 4, 2005.
The 2006 Israeli Apartheid week was held February 13 to 17, 2006.
The 2007 Israeli Apartheid week was held February 12 to 17, 2007.
The 4th Annual Israeli Apartheid Week 2008 was officially launched on February 3, 2008 in Soweto, South Africa as the "exiled Palestinian Israeli Knesset" Azmi Bishara, gave a lecture on the 60th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba. The conference continued till the 19th of the same month. The week of the event was February 4 to February 9, 2008.
The 2009 Israeli Apartheid Week was held March 1 to 8, 2009.
The 2010 Israeli Apartheid Week was held March 1 to 6, 2010.
Views on the conference and its activities
Two Berkeley students filed charges in July 2012 that the annual apartheid week events on campus has led to more anti-semitism on campus. The U.S. Department of Education’s civil rights office is carrying out the investigation. University spokesman Dan Mogulof said "the campus protests were constitutionally protected speech and that officials had made extensive efforts to maintain a safe and inclusive climate."
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While academic institutions hosted the events, amidst controversy and debate, other speakers at the various meetings around the world supported the goals of the Week. An Arab citizen of Israel and Member of the Knesset, Jamal Zahalka, spoke in Montréal in 2007. He said: "Calling the occupation apartheid isn’t an overstatement, it’s an understatement. The Israeli occupation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are worse than apartheid.
In response to "rhetorical attacks" and "institutional measures" directed at Israeli Apartheid Week 2009 in Canada, Omar Barghouti, one of the founders of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and a prominent speaker at the events, stated that equating criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism would be analogous to equating criticism of Saudi Arabia with Islamophobia, and labelled such accusations as "hypocrisy". He noted the role of Canadian Jewish citizens amongst the organizers of the event, while remarking: "Who says Israel equals Jews? Making this equation is itself anti-Semitic [...], since saying that attacking Israel is the same as attacking Jews assumes that Jews all over the world assume full responsibility for every crime and violation of international law committed by Israel."
At Toronto’s 2011 Israel Apartheid Week event, Chadni Desai, speaking on behalf of the organizers, announced, “We as the organizers of Israeli Apartheid Week in Toronto believe that we cannot speak meaningfully about Israeli apartheid without speaking first about the realities of apartheid here in Canada. Canada’s reservation system and the treatment of indigenous peoples is (sic) closely studied by the planners of apartheid in South Africa, although this is a hidden chapter of our history. From its very foundations, Canada has been based on the theft of indigenous land and the genocide and displacement of indigenous peoples. If you are with us in opposition to Israeli Apartheid, we encourage your consistent opposition to apartheid right here in Canada."
Reaction by university administration
The University of Toronto president, David Naylor, said of the week featuring the events "this isn’t [my] favourite time of year." However, Dr. Naylor responded to objections from the Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, in signing a statement that declared, "We do, in fact, recognize that the term Israeli Apartheid is upsetting to many people, [but] we also recognize that, in every society, universities have a unique role to provide a safe venue for highly charged discourse."
University of Manitoba President David Barnard, in a report to the Board of Governors regarding Israeli Apartheid Week in 2010, that "while he had not personally attended any of the events, the events proceeded as anticipated and were orderly. He added that he had received a lot of communication from the external community regarding this, and that while there were a number of people against the event, there was also support for the University's position in allowing the event to proceed." In 2011, Barnard responded publicly to complaints about IAW, saying "Ultimately, we have an obligation to uphold the right to freedom of expression, and will not censor an individual or group for what has not yet been expressed." 
In 2009, the University of Ottawa and the University of Carleton ordered the removal of the Israeli apartheid week posters.
In 2007 the event spread to New York University, Columbia University and Hunter College in New York City. The David Project, organized meetings the same week in opposition to the characterization of Israel as an apartheid state, and the American Jewish Committee Koppelman Institute on American Jewish-Israeli Relations denounced the apartheid week saying "the specter of apartheid should not be raised in any form."
Some commentators have called for an "Arab Apartheid Week" to counter Israeli Apartheid Week. In one of his series of articles published by Gatestone Institute and accusing the government of Lebanon of practicing "apartheid" against the resident Palestinian community, journalist Khaled Abu Toameh describes the "special legal status" as "foreigners" assigned uniquely to Palestinians, "a fact which has deprived them of health care, social services, property ownership and education. Even worse, Lebanese law bans Palestinians from working in many jobs. This means that Palestinians cannot work in the public services and institutions run by the government such as schools and hospitals. Unlike Israel, Lebanese public hospitals do not admit Palestinians for medical treatment or surgery." 
Organizers of the counter protest stated that they "want to remove the connection that modern-day students have to the word apartheid and Israel and refocus it to the countries that we think really exemplify the definition of apartheid, being a policy of separation and segregation. Through a week which encompasses the themes of gender, sexual and political apartheid, we hope to get out a new message."
In 2008 Orna Hollander of Betar Canada called for supporters of Israel to stand up to the event telling the Canadian Jewish News that, "The strategy has been … from an organized community end, to not lend credibility, to be quiet about it, not bring press around it … Four years later, I think we definitely learned that we can keep our heads in the sand, but it’s going to go on with or without us. [IAW organizers] very much control the PR and rhetoric on campus, and its time to stand up and take responsibility.” 
In 2009, Canadian MP Michael Ignatieff condemned IAW as a form of "demonization" of Israeli and Jewish students, causing them to "fear for their safety" on campus. He went on to say that IAW "should be condemned by all who value civil and respectful debate about the tragic conflict in the Middle East." 
Popular gay columnist and pornographic film producer Michael Lucas has called Israel Apartheid Week "a hate group" and "a group of antisemites." In February 2011 he brought about the cancellation of a planned event involving New York's LGBT Center and Israel Apartheid Week after threatening to organize a boycott of large donors to the center. He said of his achievement that it was a landmark moment in his life, of which he was enormously proud.
In an effort to combat IAW, the Jerusalem Post wrote in March 2011 that NGO Monitor has produced "the “BDS Sewer System” which provides detailed information, in graphic form, on the sources of de-legitimization campaigns against Israel."
In advance of the 2011 IAW, the government of Israel chose a group of Israelis, including Arabs, gays, Ethiopian Jews and an MTV "VJ" (presenter) to oppose the apartheid analogy used by going on a speaking tour of the USA; an additional group went to Britain "to combat anti-Israel messages students there are receiving from Israel Apartheid Week activities."
On March 3, 2011, Historian Catherine Chatterley wrote an editorial for the National Post outlining the history of Israel Apartheid Week and its relationship to the BDS movement. That same month, various Canadian government and other political figures, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff all criticized IAW. Kenney indicated that he was "deeply concerned about the events and activities" associated with IAW and said that the event was "all too often [...] accompanied by anti-Semitic harassment, intimidation and bullying." He further indicated that students participating IAW were "free [...] to speak their mind" but encouraged them to "reflect on whether these activities are beneficial." Ignatieff, in condemning the week, said it is a “dangerous cocktail of ignorance and intolerance” that threatens “the mutual respect” of Canadian society.
In April 2011 16 African-American members of the Vanguard Leadership Group published full page ads in several U.S. university newspapers, with an "Open Letter to Students for Justice in Palestine" saying that the SJP's use of the word "apartheid" in regards to Israel and Israel Apartheid Week "is not only false, but offensive."
Stuart Appelbaum, gay president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union feels that those groups opposing the New York LGBT Center’s decision to prohibit an Israel Apartheid Week March 2011 event were intellectually dishonest, saying "This was not a question of free speech. This was hate speech. The center should not be used as a venue for racism, Islamophobia or anti-Semitism. Nor did they even care about free speech. The same groups have consistently sought to ban and prevent supporters of Israel from expressing their views."
In February 2012 the Public Diplomacy Ministry of Israel created the "Faces of Israel" mission to the United States, Canada, Ireland, Spain, Great Britain, and South Africa, comprising 100 Israelis including "settlers, Arabs, artists, experts in national security, gay people, and immigrants from Ethiopia" and actor Aki Avni, in order to "represent and defend the state during Israel Apartheid Week."
In March 2012 various Canadian government and other political figures criticized IAW. Jason Kenney said that the organizers were using "the cover of academic freedom to demonize and de-legitimize the state of Israel. This week is nothing more than an unbalanced attempt to paint Israel and her supporters as racist. I call on all Canadians to reject anti-Semitism and all forms of racism, discrimination and intolerance." Conservative MP David Anderson said that labelling Israel as an apartheid state is "abhorrent," and interim Liberal leader Bob Rae said the campaign "continues to defy logic. This year the focus continues to be on Israel, rather than on the appalling massacres and human rights violations that have reached intolerable heights in countries such as Syria and Iran."
In February 2012, Jonathan Kay sharply criticized IAW in the National Post, stating that "In Syria, the Assad regime continues to rain artillery on rebel positions in the city of Homs, killing journalists and innocent civilians alike. Iran's mullahs are set to execute a Canadian citizen for the crime of operating a website they don't like. The new Libyan regime is torturing Gaddafi loyalists. And Egypt's rulers are prosecuting NGO leaders on trumped up charges. And so next week, Canadian left-wing activists will congregate in Toronto to express their hatred of... you guessed it: Israel." In the same article, Kay commented that not all IAW activists "seek the outright destruction of Israel - [but] many certainly do. Some are merely naïve undergraduates... But all of them should understand that IAW and BDS are not what they seem: As some of Israel's own fiercest critics themselves now admit, these are dishonest cults meant to enlist ill-informed activists in a campaign to destroy the Jewish state." 
In 2013, the University of Manitoba Students' Union (UMSU) in Winnipeg, Canada, became the first student government in the world to remove Students Against Israeli Apartheid's student group status and ban it from using student union spaces. The council passed the motion banning the group after hearing evidence that Students Against Israel Apartheid and its "Israel Apartheid Week" violated student union policies by "undermining the dignity and self esteem of students on campus". 
- "About Israeli Apartheid Week". Retrieved 2010-03-03.
- Campuses awash in tension over Israel apartheid week", National Post, March 2, 2009
- "Israeli Apartheid Week 2009 may be coming to a campus near you", Jerusalem Post, January 29, 2009
- How did the most humane state in history become demonized? - Opinion
- The Canadian Jewish News - Israel Apartheid Week gains momentum
- The Australian Jewish News - BDS, bombs and rock ‘n’roll
- Jerusalem Post "Israeli Apartheid Week" starts today (03-03-2012)
- 5th Israel Apartheid Week bigger than ever, Mar. 11, 2009, ELAN LUBLINER , THE JERUSALEM POST 
- IGNATIEFF CONDEMNS ISRAEL APARTHEID WEEK, By Michael Ignatieff, National Post, March 5, 2009, 
- Another Year of Global Academic Anti-Semitism and Anti-Israelism, by Manfred Gerstenfeld No. 73, 2 October 2008 
- Israel Apartheid Week stirs controversy, By BRETT CLARKSON, SUN MEDIA, 4th March 2009 
- 2005 Toronto poster.
- 2006 Toronto poster
- 2007 Toronto pamphlet
- Toronto schedule
- 2009 press release
- 2010 event summary
- Feds investigate claims of anti-Semitism at UC Berkeley
- University of Ottawa, 2009 http://palestinevideo.blogspot.com/2009/04/omar-barghouti-talk-at-israeli.html
- Richard Klagsbrun: Anti-Israel group denounces Canada as ‘apartheid state’
- Israel Apartheid Week' Begins, Reigniting Carter-Led Debate - February 13, 2007 - The New York Sun
- Israeli ambassador condemns students for 'celebration of ignorance'
- Michael Freund  "Let's launch 'Arab Apartheid Week'" March 11, 2010, Jerusalem Post.
- Arsen Ostrovsky  "What About "Arab Apartheid Week"?" March 7, 2010, Hudson Institute[unreliable source?] 
- Khaled Abu Toameh  Hudson Institute, March 11, 2011, 
- Gil Shefler; Benjamin Weinthal (24 February 2011). "NY gay center pulls plug on Israel-Apartheid event". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 19 March 2011.
- Israel Apartheid Week, and efforts to combat it, begin
- Arabs, gays and an MTV VJ to fight apartheid analogy
- Israeli students embark on ‘hasbara’ journey to UK campuses
- Chatterley, Catherine (March 3, 2011). "A History of Israeli Apartheid Week". National Post. Retrieved February 15, 2012.
- Minister Kenney issues statement on ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’
- Ottawa slams Israeli Apartheid Week
- Black student leaders slam 'apartheid' characterization
- Gay opposition rises against Israel Apartheid Week
- 100 envoys to fight Israel Apartheid Week on campuses
- Young Israelis on mission to improve their country's image
- Israeli Apartheid Week `demonizes' Jewish state, says Kenney
- Jonathan Kay: The return of the Israel Apartheid Week cult by Jonathan Kay, National Post, February 25, 2012.
- University of Manitoba Students Union Ignores Legal Advice, Votes to Strip Anti-Israel Group of Official Club Status by Tristen Hopper, National Post, April 13, 2013.