All workshops will be taking place on Saturday, June 17th at the Polish Combatants’ Hall in Toronto, 206 Beverley street. Exact room numbers tba.
Workshop Block #1: 11:20am-12:50pm
Fighting Antisemitism with a Critical Thinking Lens
Facilitated by Sheryl Nestel
Since 2019, IJV has been providing antisemitism training to university groups, churches, school boards, labour groups, and other community institutions. In this workshop, we will share our strategies and give participants a look at how we approach teaching antisemitism from an anti-racist and anti-colonial perspective.
From Turtle Island to Palestine
Facilitated by Sarah Boivin
When we work in solidarity with Palestinians in Canada, we do so on stolen Indigenous lands. Hear about the steps IJV is taking to connect our Palestine solidarity work with Indigenous solidarity and fighting Canadian colonialism. Share experiences of and strategies for linking anti-colonial work from Turtle Island to Palestine. Contribute to a visioning session on how IJV can more effectively work in solidarity with Indigenous organizers and communities.
The Abraham Accords: How to engage with a false peace
Facilitated by Mitchell Plitnick
The Abraham Accords have been embraced across the political spectrum in the United States and Israel. Palestinian opposition has been completely ignored. The Accords are repeatedly referred to as peace agreements, even though they do not end any declared conflict and even the normalized relations they bring are merely expansion of the clandestine relationships Israel has enjoyed with most Arab states for decades. Like other agreements, the Accords make it more challenging rather than easier to envision, much less achieve, a future of freedom for Palestinians and even one free of daily tensions and fear for Israelis. Yet to oppose them is widely seen as “anti-peace.” We’ll discuss the implications of this and the history, including Camp David and Oslo, and how “peace” has become a word that signifies deceit and despair rather than hope.
My diasporic Jewish sumud: Engaging with the mainstream Jewish community
Facilitated by Asher Kirchner
It can be lonely and often uncomfortable to be a Palestinian solidarity activist Jew within shuls and other mainstream Jewish spaces, particularly in Canada. It is tempting to say “feh!” and walk away. Maybe your mental health has required you to do so, and who am I to question your decision? Many of us found our way into IJV precisely looking for a hasbara-free Jewish space, and thank G-d it exists! But for those of us who are able to do so, if we don’t step into the discomfort of engaging with the mainstream Jewish community, how can we ever hope to change it? If we abdicate our space within the Jewish community, it only makes it easier for the hasbaratchiks to dismiss us as “Jews in name only.” In this workshop, I’ll be leading an informal group discussion around these issues. I will briefly share my experiences in my Reform shul and my efforts (along with a few other IJV members) to mobilize Canadian Reform Jews in support of Palestinian human rights. What are your experiences? Perhaps we can draw strength from one another. I think of this as a diasporic Jewish expression of sumud, the Palestinian strategy of steadfast perseverance in resisting colonial occupation.
Facilitated by Shatha Mahmoud (PYM) and Tamara Filyavich (IJV)
Historically, students (and student organizing more broadly) have always played an integral role in revolutionary struggles and catalyzing change. Despite this, the potential students harness is often underestimated or overlooked. In this workshop, we’ll learn about the history of student movements across the globe, the different strategies of mobilization and ways to effectively organize on and off campus.
Workshop Block #2: 3:30pm-5:00pm
Not taking the bait: Reframing the debate on Palestine in Canada
Facilitated by Desmond Cole
Canadian media is dominated by reactionary news stories attacking people and organizations who are in solidarity with the Palestinian liberation struggle. We waste a lot of time fighting on the terms of our political opponents. In this workshop we’ll break down the popular tactics used to propel diversionary media stories, and strategize ways to be offensive rather than defensive in our solidarity communications and campaigns.
Writing Fiction on Israel/Palestine
Facilitated by Aaron Kreuter and Saeed Teebi
Saeed Teebi is a writer and lawyer based in Toronto. His debut collection of short stories, Her First Palestinian, was a finalist for the Atwood Gibson Writers’ Trust Prize, the Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writer Award, the Danuta Gleed Literary Award, and the Ontario Library Association’s Forest of Reading Evergreen Award. The title story “Her First Palestinian” was shortlisted for the CBC Short Story Prize. Saeed was born to Palestinian parents in Kuwait and, after some stops in the U.S., has lived in Canada since 1993. He is currently at work on his first novel.
Aaron Kreuter is a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Comparative Study in Literature, Art, and Culture at Carleton University. His postdoctoral project, Unsettled Jews, explores contemporary Jewish world literature that confronts settler colonialism. His monograph, Leaving Other People Alone: Diaspora, Zionism, and Palestine in Contemporary Jewish Fiction is out now from University of Alberta Press. He is the author of the short story collection You and Me, Belonging, the poetry collection Arguments for Lawn Chairs, and the poetry collection Shifting Baseline Syndrome, which was shortlisted for a Governor General’s Award and a Raymond Souster Award, and was included on CBC’s Best Poetry Books of 2022 list. A novel set at a Jewish sleepover camp in Ontario is coming out in 2025 from ECW Press.
Organizing for Olam HaBa
Facilitated by Sarah Boivin and Emily Green
What are your desires and hesitations when it comes to integrating Jewish spiritual practices into the work of IJV? While we disentangle Judaism from colonialism it can be powerful to celebrate and reclaim ancient Jewish practices; spirituality can be a tool for resisting oppression. In small groups, we’ll look at case studies of organizations that are entwining the Jewish spiritual with the political. Together we’ll ask: how could religious or spiritual practice be woven with our solidarity work? Is there potential for IJV as an organization to root more deeply into Jewish traditions?
Confronting Anti-Palestinian Racism and the Suppression of Speech on Palestine
Facilitated by Mark Muhannad Ayyash and Sheryl Nestel
In this workshop Prof. Mark Muhannad Ayyash and Sheryl Nestel will discuss the impact of reprisals, harassment, and intimidation faced by Canadian activists, faculty, students, and organizations in relation to scholarship and activism in solidarity with the struggle for Palestinian rights. Participants are invited to share their own experiences and insights into how best to challenge institutional collusion with efforts to suppress pro- Palestine speech and activism.
Creative Direct Action
Facilitated by Anna Lippman and Sue Goldstein
What constitutes a creative action? Is it artistic politics? Politics with art? In this workshop we’ll explore and share ways to think beyond our usual modes of activism — not to replace demonstrations, rallies, lobbying, petitions — our usual ways of activism, but to augment and amplify our messages. We’ll look into new avenues to disrupt the mainstream narrative on Palestine and on anti-Zionism. We aim to come out of this workshop with some ideas and proposals for action to share with IJV chapters and members.