Israeli Apartheid Week - SAIA

Analysis / Interpretation / Press

Curator's note: This poster was at the center of a free-speech controversy at Carleton College, in Ottawa, Canada in 2009.

Protesters march over poster ban at Carleton

Thursday, February 26, 2009

CBC News

More than 100 protesters gathered at the entrance to the office of the president of Carleton University Thursday afternoon in a bid to have a poster approved that promotes Israeli Apartheid Week, which opens at universities in 10 countries March 1.

Carleton banned the poster a week and a half ago. This week, the University of Ottawa also banned the poster, which shows an Israeli helicopter firing a missile at a Palestinian child labelled "Gaza."

Carleton also sent out an email warning that students could face sanctions if they incite discriminatory or harassing behaviour on campus.

"We took this as a threat. But it hasn't stopped us from organizing. It's given us motivation," said Jessica Carpinone of Students Against Israeli Apartheid.

The protesters gathered at a lecture hall before marching to the office of university president Roseann Runte, where they delivered a speech. Runte listened politely, but didn't offer much in her response. "I think your presence here is exactly an evidence that you can speak on campus. And the fact that I listened to you is a fact that you are heard. Thank you for coming here today," Runte said.

With that, Runte went back into her office, and a security guard locked the door. Carleton spokesman Christopher Walters said the decision to ban the poster was made by members of the administration's equity services office. "You have to rely on the judgment of professionals in this area. They've looked at the poster, they've discussed the poster, they've decided that altogether it could infringe on the Human Rights Code, and it wasn't worth the risk," Walters said.


Anti-Israel poster causes uproar on Canadian campuses

By Cnaan Liphshiz

July 17, 2011


Hundreds of protesters demonstrated on Thursday at two Canadian universities that recently banned a poster advertising "Israeli Apartheid Week," a series of anti-Israel events due to begin today in over 25 cities and campuses worldwide, including Johannesburg, New York, Caracas, London and Copenhagen.

About 300 student protesters at Carleton University and Ottawa University accused the two institutions of stifling free speech ahead of the annual event, which began in 2005 in Toronto.

The banned poster depicts a gunship labeled "Israel" firing a missile at a boy wearing a kaffiyeh and holding a teddy bear. The poster has aroused controversy in Canadian and international press and on campuses, where supporters of Israel said it portrays Israelis as child-killers - an old anti-Semitic theme.

Tensions have been reported at the University of Toronto, York University and McMaster University, which all permitted displaying the poster.

In explaining the ban, officials at Carleton and Ottawa universities cited their human rights code, saying the material did not fit that framework. Pro-Palestinian and human rights activists say this does not constitute sufficient grounds. "The link between anti-Semitism and being against Israeli government policies is ludicrous," said Jessica Carpinone, of Students Against Israeli Apartheid, adding that the group includes Jewish students.

Canadian Jewish organizations warn that the anti-Israeli protests could lead to violence against Jews, adding that levels of on-campus anti-Semitism have increased.