Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I have already expressed my opinion of this matter previously, particularly as it relates to my support for free speech in general- despite the fact that anti-Israel activists haven't proven to be entirely consistent on this point in the past in other places in Canada. Ah, the lure of self-righteous militancy. Still, I am happy that IAW was allowed to speak. Here's their final press release.
Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) Press Release - March 16th, 2010‏
Please find attached our final, wrap-up press release from Israeli Apartheid Week.
Brian Latour
Winnipeg IAW Coordinating Committee
WINNIPEG – March 15, 2010
First Israeli Apartheid Week in Manitoba a Success
The organizers of Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) would like to thank everyone who spoke at, volunteered for, sponsored, attended or otherwise supported our events. The events of IAW went very well, with large turnouts, excellent speakers and robust debate. While the events of IAW are now over, the organizers would like to point out a few facts about the first run of IAW in Mantoba.
Israeli Apartheid Week, contrary to the claims of some opposed to discussing the issue of Israeli apartheid, went smoothly and successfully. "We proved that all accusations of anti-Semitism and race baiting were totally unfounded, and showed that our event was genuinely anti-racist in intent and practice," said Brian Latour, spokesperson for the Winnipeg IAW Coordinating Committee. "Each of our events actually had audience members spontaneously stay afterwards to continue the debate, sometimes for hours, proving that Israeli Apartheid Week actually served to encourage debate and discussion. "
Organizers fire back against Parliamentary and Legislative motions to condemn IAW
The organizers would also like to respond to the attempts by Members of the Manitoba Legislature and Canadian Parliament that seek to shut down debate and discussion on Canadian campuses. While the motion was rejected in Parliament thanks to the courage of a few MPs who voted with their conscience, the motion proposed by MLA Heather Stefanson for the Manitoba Legislature is still a reality.
“These attempts to crush free speech and defend apartheid are as anti-democratic as they are pathetic and any MLA who votes for or otherwise supports this effort to crush freedom of speech should be ashamed of themselves and resign immediately," declared Latour.
In contrast to the behaviour of some Members of the Legislature, the organizers would like to recognize the principled decision made by the University of Manitoba administration to avoid infringing on our free speech rights. They did so despite pressure from organizations like B'nai Brith who repeatedly slandered us in the media and in correspondence with the University administration. We can only assume that when IAW inevitably expands to other University campuses in this province that their administrations will be as respectful of the democratic rights of students.
About Israeli Apartheid Week
Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) is an anti-racist event intended to educate about the realities of Israel's apartheid policies. In addition to the broad subject of apartheid, this inaugural year included panel discussions on the impact of apartheid on women, Canadian government complicity, indigenous solidarity, and the appropriateness of Israeli Apartheid as a topic for discussion on University campuses. It also included an evening event featuring a spoken word performance by Lyrical Militant, a socially-conscious, local hip-hop artist.
Full details of the events can be found online at winnipeg.apartheidweek.org.
Media contact:
Brian Latour
ph: 226-4186
email: iaw.winnipeg@gmail.com

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