Content Warning: The following statement addresses genocide and ongoing violence in Palestine.
The OCAD Student Union stands in solidarity with Palestine and strongly condemns the settler colonial apartheid perpetrated by the Israeli state. The displacement of Palestinian families by the government, military, and those who support the Zionist project is in direct contradiction with the principles of social justice, equity, and human rights. The ethnic cleansing of Palestine is an ongoing project that was catalyzed by the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and reached a critical point upon the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 when more than 700,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homeland. This project was backed by Western countries and the United Nations who passed Resolution 181 that mandated Palestinian land be divided into Jewish and Arab states. The occupation persists and the struggle for Palestinian liberation continues against escalations of state-sanctioned violence.
We also recognize and condemn the Canadian government’s complacency in this genocide. Canada is built on the intentional design, implementation, and ongoing strategies of colonial violence against Indigenous peoples. Throughout the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, the government of Canada fails to denounce this violence, refusing to speak out against the forced displacement of Palestinians and the theft of their lands and resources because doing so would force them to confront the past and present colonial violence through which Canada exists today.1 We acknowledge the interconnected movements for Black liberation and Palestinian solidarity, as well as the history and framework of apartheid.2 Between 2014 and 2020, the loss of Black lives to police brutality, and the loss of Palestinian lives to the State of Israel, paralleled one another, and both communities have a history of supporting each other.
We also recognize that apartheid regime of South Africa and the State of Israel, are both based upon the Canadian government’s colonial project and genocide of Indigenous peoples. It is through our commitment to continuously fight for Indigenous sovereignty, rights and land stewardship at home that we also extend support for the liberation of Palestine. We call on our government and our university to do better; we call on our membership to uplift marginalized voices, to educate themselves, to enter important conversations with care, and to be accomplices in the movement for decolonization.
We recognize these events have been triggering for many of our members from all identities, specifically our Palestinian, Israeli, Jewish, and Muslim members. We strongly condemn anti-semitism. We mourn the loss of all human lives including those who were killed by Hamas.
We have requested further support and accountability from OCADU to our members affected by these events and to the global community.
We want to extend our support to fellow student unions in Toronto and Ontario, and members of government, including Sarah Jama, whose freedom of expression is being compromised by the Ontario government, including Jill Dunlop.
As a member local of the Canadian Federation of Students, we echo their statement which reads, “The Federation vehemently condemns the actions of the Ontario Minister of Colleges and Universities for directly interfering with student union autonomy on free speech to advocate for Palestinian liberation, for her intentional misrepresentations of the students’ unions and their solidarity, and for the reckless and harmful behaviour displayed within the Legislative Assembly.”3
We have compiled a document of resources for anyone who is in need of support or looking to learn more about the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. It can be accessed at: Credible Resources to Educate on Palestine/Israel
OCAD Student Union.