A series of public events are planned for the first week of March at Duluth/Superior campuses to raise public awareness about human rights violations in historic Palestine and call for an end to U.S. support for Israel and for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel. This includes a call for the State of Minnesota to divest itself of Israel bonds.
The events are being held in conjunction with the sixth annual Israel Apartheid Week, which takes place worldwide March 1-7, 2010. The local events are:
* Wednesday, March 3, 3 p.m., University of Wisconsin-Superior Old Main Room 310: Eyewitness Report from Egypt and Palestine: presentation by Sylvia Schwartz.
* Wednesday, March 3, 5 p.m., University of Minnesota-Duluth Montague Room 70: Eyewitness Reports from Egypt and Palestine: presentations by Bret Thiele, Mayra Gomez and Sylvia Schwartz.
* Thursday, March 4, 12:30 p.m., Lake Superior College Room E2046: Eyewitness Reports from Egypt and Palestine: presentations by Bret Thiele, Mayra Gomez and Sylvia Schwartz.
* Thursday, March 4, 5 p.m., College of St. Scholastica Intercultural Center: Film, followed by a Panel Discussion with Bret Thiele, Mayra Gomez, and Sylvia Schwartz. Palestinian food provided by CSS Amnesty International.
The events are sponsored by the Twin Ports Break the Bonds Coalition, College of St. Scholastica Amnesty International, and UMD Students for Peace. For more information, contact Bob Kosuth, (218) 724-4800, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bret Thiele is the Litigation Coordinator for the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions, an international human-rights NGO based in Geneva, Switzerland. He has traveled to Palestine numerous times, and lives in Duluth.
Mayra Gomez the Coordinator of the Women and Housing Rights Programme with the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions and board member of Amnesty International USA. She has traveled to Palestine numerous times, and lives in Duluth.
Sylvia Schwartz is a member of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network and recently participated in the Gaza Freedom March, an attempt to break the blockade of Gaza from the Egyptian border. She lives in St. Paul.
The September, 2009 United Nations report on the recent Gaza Conflict, commonly known as the Goldstone Report, accused both Hamas and Israel of war crimes during the three-week war, in which 1400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed. Israel has been roundly condemned by human rights groups including Amnesty International for the disproportionate use of violence and repression against Palestinians and the continued Israeli blockade which denies food, medicine and rebuilding materials to the people of Gaza.
Life for Palestinians living both in Israel and the Occupied Territories has been likened to that of South African blacks under Apartheid. In response, Palestinian Civil Society groups and their supporters have called for an international campaign of Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, similar to the grassroots efforts that helped end South African Apartheid regime. The aim of Israel Apartheid Week is to educate people about the nature of Israel as an apartheid system and to build the growing global BDS movement.