By Paul S. Graham
In September, I attended and recorded the proceedings of the Israel Palestine International Law Symposium. While I thought I was better informed than the average Canadian going into the symposium, by the time it was over I was overwhelmed by the amount of new information I received.
The credentials of the presenters were impressive:
- Suha Jarrar is a Palestinian human rights researcher and advocate, and currently the Environmental and Gender Policy Researcher at Al-Haq human rights organization in Ramallah, Palestine. More.
- Jonathan Kuttab is a human rights lawyer in Israel and Palestine and co-founder of Al-Haq, the first human right international law organization in Palestine. More
- Dimitri Lascaris is a Canadian lawyer, journalist and activist and a board member of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East. More.
- Michael Lynk is Associate Professor of Law at the University of Western Ontario and United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory. More.
- David Matas is an international human rights, refugee and immigration lawyer and Senior Honorary Counsel for B’Nai Brith Canada. More.
- Virginia Tilley is Professor of Political Science at Southern Illinois University and co-author of Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid. More.
For me, the main takeaway of the symposium is that by supporting the illegal activities of the State of Israel, our own federal government is in violation of Canadian and international law. If you disagree with this assessment, or want to understand why I believe this to be the case, watch these videos.
Introduction: In this clip, symposium coordinator David Kattenburg explains the origins and purpose of the symposium.
Keynote: In this clip, Michael Lynk explains how international law has largely been ignored or broken by Israel over the past several decades of its occupation of the Palestinian Territory.
One State or Two? In this clip, we hear from Michael Lynk and Virginia Tilley.
Human rights: Rhetoric vs Reality: In this clip, symposium Dimitri Lascaris describes the failure of western governments to uphold the human rights of Palestinians.
Palestinian Rights & Obligations: In this clip, we hear from Suha Jarrar and Jonathan Kuttab.
Palestinian Rights to Resources: In this clip, Suha Jarrar outlines how Israel has misappropriated key Palestinian resources.
Israeli Rights and Obligations: In this clip, we hear from Michael Lynk and Dimitri Lascaris, who look at different aspects of Israeli’s legal rights and obligations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
Is Israel and Apartheid State? In this clip, Virginia Tilley argues that Israel is an apartheid state.
Dueling Perspectives: In this clip, David Matas defends Israeli practices and policies with regard to the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). Michael Lynk argues that Matas’s arguments are not supported by international law.
Canada’s Rights and Obligations: In this clip, Dimitri Lascaris discusses relevant aspects of Canadian and international law.
Concluding Remarks: In this clip we hear concluding remarks from David Kattenburg, Mark Golden and Dean Peachey.
This symposium will be an important resource for lawyers, scholars and activists for years to come. It was sponsored by Independent Jewish Voices Canada, Mennonite Church Manitoba Working Group on Palestine-Israel, Palestinian Canadian Congress, Peace Alliance Winnipeg, United Jewish People’s Order (Winnipeg) and the Winnipeg Centre Federal Green Party Association. Additional information, including Power Point presentations and other documents will be made available at the conference web site.