Students Confronting Apartheid
Students for Justice in Palestine: First National Conference 2011
PROGRAM IN PROGRESS – We recommend students plan to arrive by 5pm on Friday evening and to leave after 6pm on Sunday evening.
Friday, October 14, 2011
Opening and Keynote Address
Professor Mahmood Mamdani will discuss the effectiveness of comparison between Apartheid South Africa and Israel. Is it effective? Why or why not? Professor Rhoda Ann Kanaaneh will address the conditions of Apartheid, which fragment Palestinians from 48, the West Bank, Gaza, and the Diaspora. These questions are inspired by Edward Said’s book After the Last Sky (also the title of a Mahmoud Darwish poem).
Professor Mahmood Mamdani: is the Herbert Lehman Professor of Government. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1974 and specializes in the study of African history and politics. His works explore the intersection between politics and culture, a comparative study of colonialism since 1452, the history of civil war and genocide in Africa, the Cold War and the War on Terror, and the history and theory of human rights. Prior to joining the Columbia faculty, Mamdani was a professor at the University of Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania (1973-79), Makerere University in Uganda (1980-1993), and the University of Cape Town (1996-1999). He has received numerous awards and recognitions, including being listed as one of the “Top 20 Public Intellectuals” by Foreign Policy (US) and Prospect (UK) magazine in 2008. From 1998 to 2002 he served as President of CODESRIA (Council for the Development of Social Research in Africa). His essays have appeared in the New Left Review and the London Review of books, among other journals. He teaches courses on: major debates in the study of Africa; the modern state and the colonial subject; the Cold War and the Third World; the theory, history, and practice of human rights; and civil wars and the state in Africa.
Professor Rhoda Ann Kanaaneh: is from the Galilee. She received a Ph.D. in socio-cultural anthropology from Columbia University in 1998 focusing on gender, nationalisms and globalization in the Middle East. She then worked as a Research Fellow at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, and as a faculty fellow at New York University’s Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality. Kanaaneh currently teaches in the Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University. Dr. Kanaaneh has taught anthropology and gender studies at NYU and American University. She has held fellowships at Harvard, the European University Institute and Columbia. She is the author of Birthing the Nation: Strategies of Palestinian Women in Israel (2002), which examines the changing notions of sexuality, family, and reproduction among Palestinians living in Israel. Her latest publication, On the Edge of Security: Palestinian Soldiers in the Israeli Military is based on research on a small group of Palestinian men who volunteer to serve in the Israeli army. She is also co-editor of an anthology titled Blue ID: Palestinians in Israel Revisited (forthcoming 2008).
A play that depicts an interrogation session in an Israeli jail, written and directed by Palestinian artist Valantina Abu Oqsa. The play is based on testimonies and stories of political female prisoners who stood heroically in defiance against their interrogators.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
*Breakfast will be served in front of the workshop you plan to attend. Each workshop will have a small breakfast in front of the door before entering the classroom
Political Development Workshops
Which people? And how many states? Conundrum
No question is asked more of the Palestinian issue than “what’s the solution?” Often, the response is reduced to a debate between the one and two state solutions, although the problem and scope is more complex. This workshop is designed to give students an in-depth understanding of the commonly discussed options and solutions. Questions related to this discussion are: how do Israeli cultural producers attempt to fabricate a national identity that coincides with Israel’s national narrative? Also, how does this discursive production create a homogeneous state for a secular ethnically Jewish community? How does this narrative clash with Israeli laws and the physical transformation of populations on the land, making that homogeneous state unlikely or even impossible?
Scrutinizing Solidarity: Holding ourselves accountable to the movement
The Oslo Accords inundated Palestine with numerous NGOs and solidarity groups from around the world. Recent reports by scholars suggest that the negative impact of NGOs on local community organizing and political development outweighs any positive influences that may exist. This workshop seeks to do three things: 1) Analyze solidarity work and discuss what it means to be a solidarity organizer in various contexts 2) Specify solidarity activism’s limitations and its effects on the Palestinian resistance movement and 3) Present a Palestinian perspective about the role of solidarity activists through personal stories and experiences from activists in Gaza, Palestine (1948) and Syria.
Indigenous Struggles: situating Palestine as a settler-colonial project
Settler colonialism is a central paradigm from which to understand the question of Palestine. This workshop seeks to analyze the socio-political, economic and spatial processes and mechanisms of settler colonialism in Palestine, and the logics supporting it. By unearthing the histories and geographies of the Palestinian experience of settler colonialism, this workshop will not only chart possibilities for understanding Palestine within comparative settler colonial framework it also seeks to re-align the Palestinian movement within a universal history of decolonization, and imagine new possibilities for Palestinian resistance, solidarity and common struggle.
Tipping The Economy of the Occupation
This workshop will provide an short overview of the economic workings of Israeli colonization and exploitation in the West Bank and Gaza, with a focus on the role global corporations play in it. We sill discuss successful interventions by grassroots BDS initiatives around the world, the philosophy of change behind economic activism campaigns and divestment strategies. The workshop will provide tools and resources for divestment research on campus.
Dissecting and Dismantling Privilege in Palestine Organizing
This workshop will look at the ways in which privilege is reproduced in Palestine solidarity organizing in the U.S. We will evaluate our own understandings of privilege, our own experiences with privilege in organizing and public discourse, and our own beliefs about the role privilege plays in our movement. We will address questions including, but not limited to, the following: How is male supremacy reproduced in the power dynamics of organizing meetings? What is the relationship between internal power dynamics and privilege in public discourse? How is white supremacy reproduced in the privileging of anti-Zionist Jewish voices? How are different forms of privilege connected, and what are the dangers of addressing one while ignoring others? What are the different forms privilege can take in the sphere of Palestine organizing? How can we educate each other about privilege without reproducing the very same power relationships that we aim to dismantle?
Gender and Resistance : The Politics of Womens’ Activism
This workshop aims to shed light on the intersection between gender and nationalism, looking in particular at the role of women in Palestinian resistance with insights from women’s engagement in the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka. It will engage participants in critical discussion about the role of women and gender within Palestinian nationalism, as well as our individualized experiences with sexism/patriarchy, male privilege, gender violence, etc. within organizing. Our goal is to promote inclusion, openness, and communication about these issues in order to provide a foundation for gender equity in the student solidarity movement.
What does the Arab Spring mean for Palestine
This workshop will examine the impact of the Arab Spring on Palestine organizing. How can Palestine solidarity activists capitalize on momentum gained by other Arab populations? How have these revolutions changed the ways in which we can appeal to the American public? Do we expect the Arab Spring to change facts on the ground in Palestine and, if so, how can we, as a movement, prepare for these changes? These and many other questions will be broached during this workshop.
Movement Building Workshops
Students will reconvene in rooms where they sat through the political development workshops to discuss the National SJP structure. The pros and cons of different organization and network models will be addressed. Each room will be assigned to develop at least one proposal to be discussed at the plenary.
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Skill Building Workshops
The Question of Palestine in the Public Sphere: How to (and how not to) talk about Palestine
This workshop can be best understood as a conversation on how to publicly engage our audience — whether a crowd of onlookers at an on-campus display, a YouTube video or visual that speaks for SJP groups, attendees at a film screening — with efficiency and creativity. Together, we will address debate with Zionists and Zionist groups, the issue of normalization, exploring methods of alternative media and what it means to be a visible representative of an SJP group.
What good is an event or a protest if nobody hears about it? Interaction with the media is not as straight-forward as you think. Come learn the industry customs and practices that you should be familiar with to maximize the impact of your work.
Combating the Myths of Zionism
Palestine solidarity activists are constantly challenged by defenders of Israel. Myths that will be discussed and rebutted are: 1) Opposing or challenging Israel’s policies is anti-Semitic; 2) Israel, “the only democracy in the Middle East,” is a haven for LGBT people; and 3) Support for Palestine means support for Islamic fundamentalism. Bring your arguments, confusions and questions to this workshop and come away greater clarity.
Building Connections: Coalition Building on Campus
Students will learn and discuss how to form coalitions with other groups and communities on their campus. Potential event ideas, points of political unity, and strategies for long-term collaborations will be discussed. Part of this workshop will also be dedicated to coalition building within the Arab community, speaking specifically to the ways in which Palestine solidarity activists can collaborate with groups mobilizing in solidarity with Arab revolutions
How do grassroots activists interact with institutions? Why is it so hard to advocate for Palestine in the United States? This workshop will examine some of the institutional obstacles that stand in the way of just policies on Palestine, including an examination of the way the Israel Lobby works on campus. We will also brainstorm ways for student activists to work with student governments and other university institutions to advance Palestinian rights.
Building and Sustaining the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM):
This workshop is crafted to address the Palestinian participants of the conference and seeks to work through issues that young Palestinian students face. The PYM is an independent, nonpartisan alliance, founded by a group of young Palestinians scattered throughout the world as a result of the occupation of their homeland. PYM’s vision is to uphold Palestinian collective consciousness and to assume responsibility towards achieving the political, social, economic, human, civic and environmental rights of the Palestinian people foremost among them the Palestinian refugee right of return.
How to start SJP
Are you a student trying to start a justice for Palestine group on campus? Do you need some tips and guidance on how to navigate through the sometimes, daunting school bureaucracy? This workshop is geared towards helping new organizers start and maintain student groups on campus. Attendees will learn ways to facilitate and construct thought provoking and politically pertinent events. We give examples of how different SJP chapters’ are organized around the country. We will show how to organize creative actions and also discuss successful habits for sustainability.
Campaign Building Workshops
Protecting Student Rights
Palestine solidarity activists on campus are at risk of having their civil rights and liberties threatened. Administrators responding to off-campus pressures often end up infringing on students’ First Amendment rights, treating students in a selective or arbitrary fashion, and even failing to adhere to their own policies. At the same time, students may also be the subject of overzealous surveillance or infiltration by law enforcement. Speakers will discuss how students can best anticipate and respond to such infringements of their rights.
TIAA-CREF Campaign: Implementing an Effective Divestment Campaign on Campus
The TIAA-CREF Divestment Campaign workshop will be a practical space to discuss the ins and outs of implementing and succeeding with an effective divestment campaign on campus. The workshop will be facilitated by NYU SJP, which has experienced significant success with the campaign this past year. It will feature both student and non-student panelists discussing what the TIAA-CREF campaign is and how students can take it on. There will also be space for discussion about other divestment strategies, and for comparing tactics used by different schools. Finally, the workshop will consider possibilities for joint actions and next steps.
Israeli Apartheid Week
The purpose of this workshop is to provide some basic information and pre-planning details for the 8th annual international Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), which will take place in February 2012. Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) is an annual international series of events held in cities and campuses across the globe. The aim of IAW is to educate people about the nature of Israel as an apartheid system and to build effective campaigns in support of Palestinian Civil Society’s call for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).
Solidarity of Palestinian Prisoners
Despite the tremendous torture and humiliation that Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons experience, the Palestinian prisoners have been neglected for a long time. With recent news about a deal between Hamas and the Israeli government regarding a potential exchange of prisoners, the issue of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons is pressing. The workshop aims to have activists develop a sense of solidarity with Palestinian prisoners. The workshop will include a presentation about the circumstances in Israeli prisons. It will also include a discussion about how to start a movement for
Lessons Learned from Previous Divestment Initiatives
Since the Palestinian Civil Society Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions in 2005 students have organized multiple divestment campaigns across the country. Hampshire, UC Berkeley, University of Michigan and Olympia Washington are just some of the universities that have made great strides holding Israel accountable for its volitions of International Law through BDS. This workshop will look at the highlights and lowlights of each respective campaign to give students a better understanding of how to execute a successful BDS initiative.
Cultural and Academic Boycott of Israel
The lives of rock stars and actors dominate major US media, making cultural boycott a pertinent focal point for the BDS Movement in the United States. Combined with Israeli society’s high regard for academia, the work of promoting the cultural and academic boycott of Israel has immense, untapped potential. By targeting well-known artists, students can build accessible, engaging and fun campaigns on campus to challenge Israeli apartheid. This workshop will include a presentation on relevant campaigns, an outline and analysis of tactics and an open discussion to brainstorm future efforts.