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Canada & Palestine Symposium 2019 - Conference Programme & Abstracts



The purpose of the Symposium was to launch the beginning of an ongoing, pluralist discussion on Canada and Palestine. Though Palestine looms large in Canadian foreign policy and domestic politics, there is very little work published in any scholarly discipline that focuses squarely on Canada and Palestine. The Symposium worked to change this when forty leading experts came together from across Canada to share – with academics, policy professionals and the public – over 30 original research papers on discussion panels, complemented by prominent keynote speakers.
Exploring Canada’s Historical and Contemporary Relationship with Palestine and the
Palestinian People, in Canadian External and Domestic Affairs
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Canada and
2019 February 22
Ottawa, Ontario
Research and Policy Symposium on Canada and Palestine, 2019
Photo Courtesy of Tawfiq Abdalrahim’s Photoblog in Nablus, Palestine
Symposium 2019
Official Symposium Programme
Co-Organizers: Prof Nadia Abu-Zahra, Prof Reem Bahdi,
Prof Michael Lynk, Dr. Jeremy Wildeman & Omar Burgan
@University of Ottawa in Ottawa, Canada on 2019 February 22nd
Research and Policy Symposium on Canada and Palestine, 2019
Canada and Palestine
Exploring Canada’s Historical and Contemporary Relationship with Palestine and the Palestinian
People, in Canadian External and Domestic Affairs
The purpose of the above-titled Symposium, to be held February 22, 2019, is to launch the beginning of
ongoing, pluralist discussions on the understudied topic of Canada and Palestine. Palestine looms large
in Canadian foreign policy. Canada was intrinsic to the 1948 partition of Palestine and has historically
played a key role in United Nations resolutions concerning Palestinian rights and self-determination.
The Pearsonian ‘Golden Age’ of Canadian foreign policy, formative in establishing Canada’s national
identity as a state independent of the British Empire, was forged out of Canada’s relationship with the
Middle East and conflicts that often centred on Arab support for the Palestinians.
In 1992, Canada was
assigned the role of gavel holder for the highly important Refugee Working Group, as part of playing a
lead role in the multilateral track of the then Middle East Peace Process.
Since, 1993, Canada has also
sat on the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee of major bilateral donors overseeing the foreign aid envelope and
the state-building programme in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). Canada has further since
1993 dispensed over $US 600 million in aid to Palestinians, making Canada one of the largest donors to
Palestine, and making Palestinians one of Canada’s biggest ever aid recipients.
Freeman-Maloy, Dan. ‘Remembering Balfour: Empire, Race and Propaganda’. Race & Class 59, no. 3 (1 January 2018): 3
19. Husseini, Hassan. ‘A “Middle Power” in Action: Canada and the Partition of Palestine’. Arab Studies Quarterly 30, no. 3
(2008): 4155.
Labelle, Maurice Jr. ‘Not So Nobel: Arab Perceptions of Lester B. Pearson and Canada’. In Mike’s World: Lester B.
Pearson and Canadian External Relations, 1963-68, edited by Asa McKercher and Galen Roger Perras, 16988. Newport,
Richard. The Outsider: Elizabeth P. MacCallum, the Canadian Department of External Affairs, and the Palestine Mandate to
1947. Thesis, Carleton University, 2014. Raska, Jan. ‘Forgotten Experiment: Canada’s Resettlement of Palestinian Refugees,
1955-1956’. Histoire Sociale/Social History 48, no. 97 (11 December 2015): 44573.
Brynen, Rex, and Jill Tansley. ‘The Refugee Working Group of the Middle East Multilateral Peace Negotiations’. Israel-
Palestine Journal 2, no. 4 (Autumn 1995). Brynen, Rex, Eileen Alma, Joel Peters, Roula El-Rifai, and Jill Tansley. The
“Ottawa Process”: An Examination of Canada’s Track Two Involvement in the Palestinian Refugee Issue. IDRC Stocktaking
II Conference on Palestinian Refugee Research, Ottawa, 2003. Brynen, Rex, and Roula El-Rifai, eds. The Palestinian
Refugee Problem: The Search for a Resolution. Pluto Press, 2014. Rempel, Terry. ‘The Ottawa Process: Workshop on
Compensation and Palestinian Refugees’. Journal of Palestine Studies 29, no. 1 (1999): 3649.
Abu-Zahra, Nadia. ‘No Advocacy, No Protection, No ‘Politics’: Why Aid-for-Peace Does Not Bring Peace’. Borderlands e-
Journal 4, no. 1 (2005). Monaghan, Jeffrey. ‘Security Development and the Palestinian Authority: An Examination of the
“Canadian Factor”’. Conflict, Security & Development 16, no. 2 (3 March 2016): 12543. Wildeman, Jeremy. ‘Undermining
Research and Policy Symposium on Canada and Palestine, 2019
Palestine also looms large on the domestic front in Canada. Palestinian human rights advocacy and
criticisms of Israel have divided Canadians in various sites including postsecondary institutions, unions,
places of worship and within civil society organizations.
Prime Minister Harper carried out a
crackdown on Canadian civil society and research institutions working on Palestinian rights, while
Prime Minister Trudeau has repeatedly denounced as anti-Canadian campaigns to boycott, divest from
or sanction Israel in response to its policies toward the Palestinians.
Canadian courts, moreover, have
suggested that a commitment to Palestinian human rights may disqualify legitimate refugee claims in the
national security context.
Yet, in spite of the importance of this subject to Canada, and Canadians, there is very little work
published in any scholarly discipline that focuses squarely on Canada and Palestine (the works cited
here result from a comprehensive, multi-researcher, near-exhaustive search). The Symposium will
change this. Forty leading experts are coming together from across Canada to share with students,
policy makers, academics and the public over 30 original research papers. With discussion panels and
prominent keynote speakers, the Symposium represents a unique moment in history, and a time for
reflection and sharing. As such, this collective study of Canada, through its relationship to Palestine, is a
research initiative about how we can do better and be better, how we can face and present our findings,
and how we can keep talking with one another in academia, government, and the public realm.
the Democratic Process: The Canadian Government Suppression of Palestinian Development Aid Projects’. The Canadian
Journal for Middle East Studies 2, no. 1 (24 August 2017).
Abu-Laban, Yasmeen, and Abigail B. Bakan. ‘After 9/11: Canada, the Israel/Palestine Conflict, and the Surveillance of
Public Discourse’. Canadian Journal of Law & Society / La Revue Canadienne Droit et Société 27, no. 3 (December 2012):
31939. Abu-Laban, Yasmeen, and Abigail B. Bakan. ‘The Racial Contract: Israel/Palestine and Canada’. Social Identities
14, no. 5 (1 September 2008): 637–60. Krebs, Mike, and Dana M. Olwan. ‘“From Jerusalem to the Grand River, Our
Struggles Are One”: Challenging Canadian and Israeli Settler Colonialism’. Settler Colonial Studies 2, no. 2 (1 January
2012): 13864.
Barry, Donald. ‘Canada and the Middle East Today: Electoral Politics and Foreign Policy’. Arab Studies Quarterly, July
2012. Lynk, Michael. ‘A Fierce Attachment: Canada, Israel, Palestine and the Harper Years’. The Harper Decade, 25 August
2015. Nossal, Kim Richard. ‘Primat Der Wahlurne: Explaining Stephen Harper’s Foreign Policy’ International Studies
Association (29 March 2014). Sasley, Brent. ‘Who Calls the Shots?’ Literary Review of Canada, May 2011.
Bahdi, Reem. ‘Re-Imagining Haj Khalil vs Canada’. Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice 27, no. 1 (2009).
Research and Policy Symposium on Canada and Palestine, 2019
Symposium Programme Schedule Friday February 22, 2019
Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences
8:00 - 9:00
9:00 - 9:15
9:15 - 10:30
2. The Politics of Human Rights Advocacy -
FSS 6032
3. Conservative Party Policy - FSS 7035
10:30 - 10:45
10:45 - 12:00
5. Perceptions and Power - FSS 6032
6. Liberal Party Policy - FSS 7035
12:00 - 13:30
Lunch Break
Lunch Break
13:30 - 14:10
Keynote Speaker (Sylvia McAdam) - FSS 1007
14:10 - 14:15
14:15 - 14:45
Palestine in the Canadian Discourse
(Speakers) - FSS 1007
14:45 - 15:00
15:00 - 16:30
8. Canada: Policy and International Law - FSS
16:30 - 16:45
16:45 - 18:00
18:00 - 18:30
Dinner Break
Dinner Break
18:30 - 19:00
Research and Policy Symposium on Canada and Palestine, 2019
Supported By:
Organising an academic initiative of this scale, and making the findings openly accessible, is never easy. The co-organisers would like to thank
our generous sponsors and co-sponsors for making this gathering possible.
The CJPME Foundation
Canadian Federation of Students (CFS)
Canadian Labour Congress (CLC)
Canadian Union of Labour Employees (CULE)
Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW)
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) National Region
Centre for International Policy Studies (CIPS) uOttawa
Community Mobilization in Crisis (CMIC) uOttawa
Conseil central de la Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN)
Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN)
CUPE Local 4600
Faculty for Social Sciences (FSS) uOttawa
Fellowship for Reconciliation and Peace (FRAP) - Saskatoon
Human Rights Research and Education Centre (HHREC) uOttawa
Independent Jewish Voices (IJV)
Mennonite Central Committee (MCC-Canada)
National Council on Canadian Arab Relations (NCCAR)
Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) National Office
Rideau Institute
Second Cup Heron Park Ottawa
Sponsors provided a donation in-cash or in-kind of up to $2,500, while Co-Sponsors gave key grants of $5,000 or more in-cash.
Note, there are likely still some sponsors that will be added to this list after this Programme’s first release.
Research and Policy Symposium on Canada and Palestine, 2019
Research and Policy Symposium on Canada and Palestine, 2019
1. Canada Refugee Policy and Mobility Restrictions
Moderator: Zahia El-Masri (Chargée des formations et de communication chez ROMEL)
Title: Canada's Foreign Policy on Forced Displacement Arising from the Struggle
Over Palestine/Israel: Examining Canada's UNGA Voting Record
Author(s): Terry Rempel (University of Exeter, UK)
The paper examines Canadian policy on forced displacement in Palestine/Israel
through Canada's voting record in the United Nations General Assembly. It begins
with a brief discussion of forced displacement since the 1948 Arab-Israeli war
before turning to a detailed examination of Canada's voting record on resolutions
relating to Palestinian refugees and other displaced persons. Drawing upon the
previous discussion, the paper's final section explores what, if anything, Canada's
voting record reveals about forced displacement in Palestine/Israel, that is to say,
how have Canadian policymakers conceptualized forced displacement; the degree
to which Canada's voting record on Palestinian refugees and displaced persons
reflects stated interests and values; and, finally, the implications of the above
findings for prevention, protection and crafting durable solutions. While not
prescriptive, the paper aims to provoke new thinking on Canadian foreign policy
relating to forced displacement in Palestine/Israel.
Title: Canada, the Palestinian Refugees and UNRWA
Author(s): Randa Farah (UWO) and Peige Desjarlais (York University)
Canada has been actively engaged on the Palestinian issue, especially with refugees
and with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) since the
Palestinian Nakba in 1948. Many scholars and political pundits claim that this
involvement has been characterised by ‘neutrality’, due to Canada’s reputation as an
advocate of mediation, reconciliation and peace. Drawing on historical and
scholarly research alongside material from anthropological fieldwork in Palestinian
refugee camps, the chapter argues that Canada’s humanitarianism is couched in
‘neutrality’ but never neutral, and the government’s position has not moved far
beyond that of the US-Israeli position toward Palestinian refugees and UNRWA
advocating for resettlement and integration, and opposing the refugees’ right of
return. Within this Canadian framework to Palestinian refugees, UNRWA is
regarded as an institution that contains and manages an otherwise explosive
situation, and thus needs to be constantly monitored and ‘depoliticised’.
Title: Canadian Refugee Claimants and Palestinian Refugees: The Cases of Issam
Al Yamani, Nawal Haj Khalil & Mahmoud Mohammad Issa Mohammad
Author(s): Sujith Xavier (U of Windsor) and Barb Jackman (Private Practice)
Al Yamani, Haj Khalil and Mahmoud Issa Mohammad came to Canada as refugees.
Each claimant was allegedly involved in nefarious terrorism related activities in
Palestine. They were subjected to the harsh realities of the Canadian settler colonial
refugee determination apparatus set up to satisfy Canada’s domestic constitutional
commitments and its international law obligations. These cases raise a number of
important questions about Canada’s relationship to Palestine and the Palestinian
struggle for independence. Our chapter explores how Canadian courts have
adjudicated these cases. We will offer reflections on the manner in which Canadian
refugee law and administrative law relate to and conceptualize the Palestinian
refugee claimant. We will chronicle Canada’s turbulent relationship with Palestine
and manner in which racist settler colonial frameworks operate to keep out
‘dangerous terrorists’ even though they are fleeing persecution based on the
enumerated grounds of protection.
Title: False Start: Canada's Resettlement of Palestinian Refugees, 1955-1956
Author(s): Mike Molloy (University of Ottawa)
In 1955, responding to a recommendation by charge’d’affairs Elizabeth MacCallum
at the Canadian Legation in Beirut, Minister of External Affairs Pearson and the St
Laurent Cabinet agreed to an unofficial UNRWA request to accept a small number
of Palestinian refugees to Canada. An interdepartmental committee was charged
with coordinating the movement, which was planned well but executed poorly. This
paper examines its planning and operations, along with the perceptions and
assumptions of the committee, MacCallum and her staff, and the official who
travelled to Lebanon and Jordan to interview the refugees. It also delves into the
complex reaction of the Palestinians and Arab states to the idea, and the delicate
situation UNRWA found itself in. Finally, it explores the operational failures and
external factors that led one official to label the operation ‘an ill-fated scheme’.
Finally, it reflects on the surprising number of issues that arose then remaining
familiar today.
Research and Policy Symposium on Canada and Palestine, 2019
2. The Politics of Human Rights Advocacy
Moderator: Dr Chandni Desai (Assistant Professor in Equity Studies, New College, University of Toronto)
Title: The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Movement in Canada
Author(s): Mark Ayyash (Mount Royal University)
This paper examines how the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) Campaign in
Palestine has developed transnational solidarity networks in Canada, and explores
the challenges that the Canadian BDS campaign has faced. BDS presents a model of
transnational activism that combines direct and indirect actions, as well as diffused
and centralized forms of organization. This model can be observed in how
established organizations in Canada have been able to run campaigns that
effectively fall within the BDS framework. However, the Canadian state has reacted
with hostility towards BDS and its supporters. The paper seeks to elucidate the
challenges that activist groups/networks face in their attempts to address this
institutional reaction: namely, having to navigate their way through a discursive
field that constitutes Palestinian resistance within a delimited and rigid discursive
space, rendering many forms of Palestinian resistance, like BDS, as unintelligible
through the trope of condemnation.
Title: Hasbara and BDS: The Battle for Human Rights
Author(s): Faisal Bhabha (Osgoode Hall Law School)
Pro-Israel advocacy groups seek to use anti-discrimination laws not only to defend
Zionist ideology and Israeli policy, but also to attack and thereby deter expressive
activity in support of Palestinian claims. This aggressive approach has been
described in the literature as ‘lawfare’ – an intentional strategy to use law instead of
weapons to achieve a military or strategic objective. The object of pro-Israel
lawfare is to chill Palestinian solidarity advocacy. This paper considers the use of
discrimination litigation to suppress activism calling for Boycott Divestment and
Sanctions (BDS) of Israel. The attack on BDS raises a critical doctrinal question: Is
advocacy for BDS discriminatory? The first part of this paper evaluates the
competing arguments for establishing substantive discrimination with respect to
BDS advocacy. The second part of the paper considers the legal and policy
implications of constructing BDS advocacy as discrimination.
Title: Singled Out: Israel, South Africa, and Accusations of Unfair Criticism
Author(s): Michael Bueckert (Carleton University)
Palestinian solidarity movements are frequently accused of crossing the line from
legitimate criticism of Israel to antisemitism. In order to make this determination,
Israel's supporters often rely on Sharansky's popular "3D" framework which
specifies that criticism can be considered anti-Semitic if it involves demonization,
double standards, or delegitimization. This paper evaluates the 3D framework by
comparing it to the rhetoric of supporters of South Africa in the 1970s and 80s, who
consistently complained that the country was subject to unfair criticism from the
anti-apartheid movement. Drawing upon archival research and interviews, this
paper demonstrates how the friends of South Africa believed that the country was
being demonized, “singled out” for criticism, and held to a double standard, and
who warned that South Africa's enemies posed an existential threat to the country
itself. This suggests that the 3D framework is not a sufficient or reliable tool to
evaluate antisemitism, but merely codifies rhetoric commonly used by countries
facing campaigns of economic isolation.
Title: Shooting the Messenger: The Systemic Challenge of Defending Palestinian
Human Rights in Canada
Author(s): Alexander Dimitri Lascaris and Yavar Hameed (Private Practice)
In Canada, defenders of Palestinian human rights are frequently confronted by
spurious and arguably defamatory allegations of support for terrorism or anti-
Semitism. The prosecution of defamation claims on behalf of Palestinian solidarity
activists in Ontario has been complicated by the recent passage of “anti-SLAPP”
legislation (legislation that is designed to defeat strategic lawsuits against public
participation). In this paper, the authors examine the potential of Canadian
defamation law to protect PalSol activists from false accusations of sympathy for
terrorism and hatred for the Jewish people. Whereas anti-SLAPP legislation was
intended to foster free speech, pro-Israel groups are using the legislation to silence
advocates for Palestinian rights. The authors argue that Canada’s Zionist lobby is
seeking to exploit anti-SLAPP legislation to do the precise opposite of the
legislation’s purpose.
Research and Policy Symposium on Canada and Palestine, 2019
3. Conservative Party Policy
Moderator: Dr Jeff Monaghan (Assistant Professor at Carleton's Institute for Criminology and Criminal Justice)
Title: The Harper Government and Israel/Palestine (2006-15)
Author(s): Yasmeen Abu-Laban (U of Alberta) and Abigail Bakan (OISE)
This paper addresses Canada's position to Israel-Palestine under the Conservative
Harper government (2006-2015). It traces how over this period support for Israel
increased and became a discursive point of emphasis in relation to Canada's foreign
policy. It argues that while the Harper period was distinctive in terms of its vocal
and unequivocal pro-Israel position, this was made possible by a pattern of long-
standing support for Israel since 1948 often masked by discourses positing
Canada as a peacekeeping middle power and ‘helpful fixer’ in the international
system. Thus, the Harper government’s embrace of ‘warrior nationalism’ and
rejection of a formal embrace of peacekeeping, along with its disavowal of
rhetorical neutrality towards Israel-Palestine, reveals Canada’s deeply partisan role
in the region. Finally, the paper explores the impact this had on Canada’s regional
and domestic policy, including continuity by the Trudeau Liberal government
(2015-present), all which is not representative of the Canadian population.
Title: Canada’s Humanitarian Approach in Gaza: Redefining the Legitimacy
Terrain and the Role of the Occupying Power
Author(s): Ruby Dagher (University of Ottawa)
Canada’s humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in Gaza was redefined following
the 2006 Hamas election. The decision to focus solely on humanitarian assistance
was informed by Canada’s desire to limit Hamas’ power, any possibility of funding
Hamas and to send a message regarding Canada’s discontentment with the
legitimacy Palestinian’s accorded Hamas. However, Canada’s approach led to an
increase in Hamas’ legitimacy, as it takes care of Palestinians’ needs controlling
donor assistance and sneaking in goods from Egypt. Moreover, Canada’s approach
played into Hamas’ rhetoric, which attempts to benefit from the perception of
Western favouritism of Israel. Canada’s approach also influenced Israel’s in Gaza.
By replacing Israel’s duty under international law to ensure minimum public health
standards, and provide food and medical care, Canada and other donors offered
Israel two important exemptions: to avoid spending on Palestinians, and avoid
being officially regarded as the occupier and any meaningful debate on its role.
Title: Re-Presenting Palestine: Sami Hadawi and Palestinian Decolonization in
Author(s): Maurice Labelle (University of Saskatchewan)
This paper explores the ways in which Sami Hadawi (1904-2004) re-presented the
Palestinian revolution in Canada. As the exiled East Jerusalemite and inaugural
director of the Institute of Palestine Studies in Beirut settled in Toronto and became
naturalized in the early 1970s, he was confronted with a historical Canadian
tradition that prejudicially misrepresented Palestinian peoples, their nationalism, as
well as the process of decolonization that they engendered. The moderate Hadawi
witnessed how mainstream Canadian society demeaned the nascent Palestinian
revolution as nothing but inhumane terrorism. Unable and unwilling to remain
silent, the recently retired Palestinian-Canadian became one of a handful of public
intellectual in Canada whose newfound life-mandate was to re-orient Canadian mis-
representations of the Palestinian revolution. Using his private papers, privately
published memoir, and writings, this paper examines how Hadawi integrated the
Palestinian revolution into the Canadian public sphere, as well as critically
unearthed interconnections between the two nations.
Title: Canadian Development and Security Aid in the Occupied Palestinian
Territories: Development for What, Security for Whom?
Author(s): Jeremy Wildeman (University of Bath, UK)
Canada has been a leading donor and political actor in the Middle East Peace
Process since the Oslo Accord was signed in 1993. Canadian political analysts have
often described its approach as (1) surrogate to its powerful American ally, (2)
partisan supporter of Israel or (3) ‘quintessential’ peacemaker putting a ‘uniquely
Canadian’ emphasis on peacekeeping, mediation and problem solving. For the
longest time influential Canadian analysts and policy-makers considered the third
interpretation to be most credible. However, an analysis of Canada’s engagement
with Palestinian development and state-building in the OPT from 2001 to 2016 calls
that into question. By looking at Canada’s development aid and security
programming in the occupied Palestinian territory, this paper shows how Canada
seems to occupy a role as an ally of oppression over the Palestinians based either on
its partisan support for Israel or surrogate status as an American ally, or both.
Research and Policy Symposium on Canada and Palestine, 2019
4. People to People
Moderator: Dr Chuck Thiessen (Research Fellow in Peacebuilding at Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University, UK)
Title: Building International Networks for a Better Turtle Island/Canada and
Author(s): Nadia Abu-Zahra (University of Ottawa)
Canada’s relationship with Palestine, particularly concerning law and society, is
often seen as a government affair. But what about non-state actors? How often do
we consider how law is perceived, challenged or upheld through relations between
people and their projects? This paper focuses on everyday transnationalism and
rights-based cooperation, learning how the goals of international human rights
instruments are promoted by non-state actors. It does this looking at a broad range
of remarkable initiatives between Turtle Island and Palestine, like: artistic joint
ventures, internationalised teaching, accompaniment efforts to prevent and highlight
rights violations, and solidarity efforts to transform violent or oppressive
bureaucratic and legal structures toward Indigenous nations. Here we hear how they
interpret, critique, or advance law in local, national and international society. The
result is a sense, if not of optimism, then of the possibilities for human compassion
and what legal practitioners call the ‘spirit’ of the law.
Title: BDS, Solidarity and the Avant-Garde
Author(s): John Greyson (York University)
Many avant-garde filmmakers Godard, Sansour, Flanders, Hoolboom, Hammer
have made lyrical, poetic, abstract and avant-garde works that search for new visual
languages to express solidarity with Palestine, and speak out against occupation.
Similarly, these same artists (many of whom are also queer) have at times joined
with the Palestinian BDS movement, adopting a concrete, materialist stand by
refusing Israeli gigs or removing their films from Israeli-sponsored festivals. The
topic of BDS itself occasionally becomes the subject of certain types of cinema --
most commonly, documentary or short agit-prop satires, intended for focused
campaigns and social media consumption. Yet, rarely do avant-garde filmmakers
make films about the boycott topic itself. This paper will explore a few rare
examples that do by Rakowitz, Lozano, Alys and then elaborate on the author’s
own struggles as a maker, attempting to create Jericho, an avant-garde documentary
opera about boycott.
Title: The Colonial Limits on anti-Racism and Framing of the Palestinian Struggle
in Canada
Author(s): Azeezah Kanji (Noor Cultural Center)
This paper will assess how the Palestinian struggle under occupation is framed in
Canada. It does this starting with an analysis of the Ontario Anti-Racism
Directorate's refusal to include organisations critical of Zionism on its anti-
Semitism subcommittee, and the Toronto City Council Motion to ban the Al-Quds
Day Rally on the grounds that it is an exercise of hate. It does this as a way to
illuminate the colonial horizons that put limits on the boundaries of multiculturalist
anti-racism. It then explores how in this framework, the colonisation of Palestine is
(mis)rendered as a bilateral conflict between Muslims and Jews, and Islamophobia
and anti-Semitism are pitted against each other as commensurable, competing
phenomena abstracted from the material conditions of white supremacist, settler
colonial power.
Title: What do Canadians, and Jewish Canadians, Really Think about Israel-
Author(s): Diana Ralph (Carleton University)
Diana Ralph reports the ground-breaking results of EKOS polls of all Canadians
(2016) and specifically of Jewish Canadians (2018) on their opinions about Israel-
Palestine. They reveal that most Canadians and many Jewish Canadians: (1) are
highly critical of the Israeli government and its policies toward Palestinians, (2)
think that boycotts and sanctions of Israel are “reasonable,” and (3) do not consider
criticisms of Israel anti-Semitic. These surveys prove that voterseven Jewish
ones-- do not agree with Canadian government’s uncritical support for Israel.
Research and Policy Symposium on Canada and Palestine, 2019
5. Perceptions and Power
Moderator: Dr Michael Atallah (Senior Middle East Analyst at the Privy Council Office with a specialization on the Levant and the Persian Gulf)
Title: Palestinian Courts, Institutional Trustworthiness and Transitions in Israel-
Author(s): Reem Bahdi (University of Windsor)
Institutional trustworthiness is the grease in the wheels of transitions to democracy,
human rights, peace and reconciliation. The trustworthiness of ordinary courts rests
on their ability to demonstrate to citizens that their dignity matters. But, the ability
of the Palestinian judiciary to convey this message is compromised by questions of
jurisdiction and independence. While it is possible to cultivate institutional
trustworthiness through development assistance, the trust analysis presented in the
development literature about Palestinians’ trust in their courts rests on some
questionable assumptions and is too optimistic. It might be grossly underestimating
the potential for popular resentment and distrust of public institutions. At this
juncture, if democracy, human rights, peace and reconciliation remain viable
though difficult goals, the trustworthiness of Palestinian public institutions,
particularly courts, must be prioritized.
Title: Radio-Canada coverage of the 2014 war on Gaza: Palestinian images, Israeli
Author: Rachad Antonius (UQAM)
This study is based on a detailed analysis of the coverage, by the 10 pm Radio-
Canada Téléjournal, of the 2014 war on Gaza. A verbatim of the coverage during
the war was established and analysed using the QDA Miner software. Comparative
statistics where established about actors, victims, spokespersons, destruction, etc.
What emerges from the study is that while there was some definite empathy towards
the suffering of the Palestinians, it is the Israeli narrative that informed and
structured this information, thus orienting in a biased way the political
understanding of what happened. Moreover, a false symmetry was established
between the power and actions of the two main protagonists, but there was no
symmetric treatment of what was at stake for each of them.
Title: South Africa's post-Apartheid Foreign Policy towards Palestine
Author(s): Joan Deas (Université Grenoble Alpes)
Since the early 2000s’, a power shift has been increasingly reshaping and
challenging the Western liberal order dominated by the US Hegemon and its allies
since the end of the Cold War. An increasing amount of powers from the Global
South, which once bear the brunt of colonization, have been gaining progressive
leverage, representation and recognition in international institutions. Some, like
South Africa, have intended to use this upgraded status to influence negotiation
regimes of major crises such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. One has drawn
many parallels between the Afrikaner Apartheid regime and Israeli settler
colonialism in Palestine. This presentation does not intend to scrutinize those
parallels but rather analyze South Africa’s post-Apartheid foreign policy towards
Palestine, more particularly its level of rejection of the main “peace process”
parameters as designed by the failed Oslo Accords; along with its strategies to
support the Palestinian cause bilaterally and multilaterally.
Title: Anti-Semitism is Real and Must Be Opposed, but the IHRA Definition of
Anti-Semitism is not how - it is an Attempt to Stop Criticism of Israel
Author(s): Sydney Nestel (IJV)
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) ‘Working Definition
of Antisemitism’ was initially developed as a researcher’s guide for the European
Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia, but eventually dropped. Over a
decade later the definition was hurriedly repurposed by IHRA as a ‘non-legally
binding’ definition of antisemitism. Yet, now it is being sold by Zionist
organizations as the ‘gold standard’ in fighting antisemitism, and promoted by those
organizations in Canada for adoption at various levels of government, by
universities and by police forces. Already it has been adopted by Global Affairs
Canada. What distinguishes this definition is neither its clarity nor insight into the
nature of antisemitism, but rather how it equates anti-Zionism and criticism of Israel
with antisemitism. That is why it is being promoted by Zionist organizations, and
this makes it a danger to the Palestine solidarity movement, to academic freedom
and to legitimate protest generally.
Research and Policy Symposium on Canada and Palestine, 2019
6. Liberal Party Policy
Moderator: Hassan Husseini (Negotiator at Public Service Alliance of Canada and PhD Candidate at Carleton University)
Title: The Israel-Palestine Conflict as an Issue for Canada’s Federal Liberal Party
Author(s): Fadi Elhusseini (uOttawa & Institute for Middle East Studies, Canada),
Phil Leech (uOttawa), Emma Swan (uOttawa)
This paper discusses the Israel-Palestine conflict as an issue for Canada’s federal
Liberal Party. It discusses the historical and ideological framework for the conflict
for the Party since 1945, noting the relative coherence between their stance on the
issue and vision for Canada as a force for an idealistic world order. It then identifies
a shift in the stance that begins gradually under PM Martin but is consolidated
under PM Justin Trudeau. This puts the Party in a position of near absolute
coherence with the extremely pro-Israeli Conservative Party of PM Harper. Though
for the Conservatives this was part of a rejection of Canada’s traditional role as
advocate for an idealist world order, there is no similar rationale to explain the
Liberal approach. The paper concludes exploring a range of explanations for the
incoherence being indulged in the contradiction between the Trudeau government’s
avowed idealism and its position on Israel-Palestine.
Title: Destruction and Uprising: Revisiting Suez 1956
Author(s): Dan Freeman-Maloy (UQAM)
This article challenges the bounds of mainstream Canadian policy debates
concerning Palestine by bringing the archives of Palestinian popular resistance and
Canadian diplomacy into conversation. In mainstream Canadian policy debates two
camps tend to dominate the foreign policy field: the neoconservative and the liberal
internationalist. Sectors of Canadian civil society that are concerned about the plight
of the Palestinians, but reluctant to embrace oppositional politics, gravitate towards
the latter camp. There the figure of Lester Pearson looms large in Canadian liberal
internationalist iconography, with Suez Crisis diplomacy, for which he was awarded
the Nobel Peace Prize, invoked as a precedent for a Canadian diplomacy anchored
in the rule of international law. The hostility though toward Palestinian popular
politics that Pearson and his colleagues evinced during the Suez Crisis highlights
for us the gap between this liberal internationalist tradition and an approach
genuinely respectful of Palestinian aspirations and international law.
Title: Canadian Orientalism: Images of Palestine and the Arab World in the
‘Golden Age’ of Canadian Foreign Policy
Author(s): Asa McKercher (Royal Military College)
This paper examines how Lester Pearson and other Canadian foreign policy elites
diplomats, academics, journalists viewed Palestine and the wider Arab world. The
focus is on the so-called Golden Age of Canadian foreign policy in the late 1940s
and 1950s, a period of intense Cold War and anti-colonial tension during which
Canada expanded its international presence. For the first time, Canadians were
devoting considerable attention to Middle Eastern affairs, yet the imagery upon
which they drew had a very old lineage grounded in cultural conceptions of the
‘West’ and the ‘other.’ Reflecting a recent trend in the historical study of Canada’s
foreign relations, which looks at the role of race and culture, my paper looks at
Canadian Orientalism and its contemporary legacies.
Title: Balfour vs. Balfour: Canada and Palestine, 1917-1947
Author(s): Martin Bunton (University of Victoria)
Though at first glance the ‘1926 Balfour Declaration’ and ‘1917 Balfour
Declaration’ seem unrelated, this paper argues that a comparison of Balfour’s
interventions offers a useful framework to untangle the knotty history of the
competing global forces shaping Palestine’s destiny from 1917 to 1947: late settler-
colonialism, modern self-determination and international law. This paper identifies
the subsequent creation of Israel and widespread international recognition and
support for it squarely with the aftermath of World War 2 (WW2), not Balfour’s
1917 promise. WW2 fundamentally changed both the international nature of the
Palestine question, and Canada’s relations with it. Whereas Canada supported
Britain’s 1939 White Paper promise of Palestinian independence, WW2 and the
Holocaust led Canadian officials in 1947 to champion international recognition of
Palestine’s partition instead of independence. This reading of the history of mandate
Palestine to 1947 raises important implications for what follows, particularly the
role of international law and opinion.
Research and Policy Symposium on Canada and Palestine, 2019
7. Understanding Palestine, Understanding Canada
Moderator: Dr Veldon Coburn (Lecturer at the School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies, Carleton University)
Titles: Knowing and Not Knowing: Canada, Indigenous People, Israel and
Author(s): Michael Keefer (University of Guelph)
The prophet Isaiah wrote that when truth stumbles in the public square, the standard
by which we form judgments is blocked, with a consequent deflection of justice.
This paper offers a comparative analysis of linkages between the ways in which hard
truths about Israel-Palestine and about Indigenous rights, which should serve
Canadian politicians and the public as guides to ethical and just action, have instead
been obscured. Beginning with reflections on wider contexts of the suppression of
contingent truths of historical facts, actualities and events through embedded habits
and processes of (in Hannah Arendt's words) ‘deception, self-deception, image-
making, ideologizing, and defactualiation’, I use recent statements by Prime
Minister Trudeau as a point of entry into an analysis of parallels between Canadian
and Israeli projects of dispossession, colonization, and resource appropriationboth
projects resting, I argue, upon the always potentially genocidal logic of what Jean-
François Lyotard termed a ‘différend’.
Title: The Political Identity of Working-Class Palestinians in Canada
Author(s): Samer Abdelnour (Erasmus University, Netherlands) and Lina Assi
(McMaster University)
Palestinians in the diaspora share collective political and cultural identities forged
through a common history of displacement. However, the Palestinian identity is not
monolithic. Historic patterns of displacement and migration intersect components
of class, community, faith and gender to influence what it means to be Palestinian.
In recent years, a number of initiatives have sought to capture the diverse
experiences and complex identity of diaspora Palestinians. These have given a
platform for thought leadersactivists, artists, scholars and writersto describe
what it means to be Palestinian. Yet, by virtue of their family backgrounds, not all
Palestinians have such opportunities to express their views. This paper addresses
that gap by analysing narrative interviews conducted with immigrant working class
Canadian-Palestinians to understand their socialisation in Canada, with a focus on
class, community, faith, gender and other aspects of political identity, to hear their
narratives and reflect on their everyday lived experiences.
Titles: Settler Colonialism vs. Decoloniality: The Case of Canada and Israel
Author(s): TBA (University of Guelph)
Applying a framework of settler colonialism exposes the Israeli occupation’s
insatiable appetite for Palestinian lands empty of Palestinians and highlights the
gendered economic, political and physical violence aimed at eliminating Indigenous
Nations in Canada. In fact, the Canadian and Israeli States can be understood to
share a single settler colonial system; Israeli-trained Canadian police surveillance of
Indigenous activists is indivisible from Canada’s political support for Israeli military
actions in Gaza. However, settler colonialism is not a decolonial framework.
Positing as inexorable the settler colonial enterprise, it theoretically precludes
decolonization. Conversely, decoloniality and Indigenous Studies both centre the
locally-rooted knowledges/praxis of Indigenous Peoples and ‘people living the
colonial difference’. While settler colonialism visibilizes efforts to eliminate
Indigenous Peoples, decoloniality is critical to seeing beyond their victimization.
Decoloniality and Indigenous Studies are therefore both essential to understanding
resistance against Canadian-Israeli colonialism, including Palestinian-Indigenous
solidarities, and action for a decolonial otherwise.
Title: Palestinian-Canadians: Developing Community-in-Practice
Author(s): Emily Regan Wills (University of Ottawa)
Canada is home to nearly 45,000 Palestinians, including those born there and
abroad. Like many diaspora groups and ethnic communities, Palestinian Canadians
engage in a variety of forms of community organization, some of which focus on
success in Canada, others on political and social goals for Palestine, and still others
which blur the lines between over-there and over-here. This paper will use a
transnational migration studies lens (Levitt and Glick Schiller 2004) to analyse two
National Capital Region-specific Palestinian-Canadian organizations, the Ottawa
Palestinian Festival and the Association of Palestinian Arab Canadians, which use
different tactics to engage with Palestinian-Canadian identity, the politics of
Palestine, and the policies and practices of Canadian multiculturalism. The varying
strategies pursued by Palestinian-Canadians reflect the many possible pathways
towards anchoring a transnational Palestinian community-in-practice (Regan Wills
2019) in a Canadian context.
Research and Policy Symposium on Canada and Palestine, 2019
8. Canada: Policy and International Law
Moderator: Hamid Jorjani (Research Consultant in International Relations and Chair of the Middle East Study Group CIC/NCB)
Title: Closer to Power than Justice: international Law and the Israeli-Palestinian
Author(s): Michael Lynk (UWO)
In terms of international law, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has contributed a rich
body of legal principles on a variety of human rights and humanitarian issues. Yet,
the actual application of these principles to the people most affected by the conflict
and the occupation Palestinians, Israelis and their neighbours has been meagre.
After drawing out the primary principles of international law enriched by the
conflict, this presentation will focus on some of the failures of the international
community, including Canada, to stand behind and to implement these legal
principles. The consequence of these serial failures has been a moribund peace
process and an entrenched occupation.
Title: Reflections on The Jerusalem Old City Initiative as a Canadian Track 2
Author(s): Tom Najem (University of Windsor)
Track Two initiatives are unofficial diplomatic efforts led by private citizens, such
as former ambassadors and academics, which tend to be heavily dependent on
government funding. This is especially so in the Canadian context, without which
such initiatives would lack the resources to operate. Support for these types of
initiatives are sound policy as they: 1) offer real contributions to peacemaking, and
2) foster a positive view of Canada regionally and internationally. Utilizing a case
study approach, this paper provides a first-hand account of the Jerusalem Old City
Initiative (JOCI), which involved Canadians working with Palestinians, Israelis, and
internationals to develop governance options for Jerusalem’s religiously significant
Old City, arguably the most contentious issue in the conflict. The paper then
assesses the utility of continuing Canadian Government support of Track Two
peace-making efforts in the long-standing conflict between Palestinians and Israelis,
especially given current regional dynamics.
Title: Canada, the United Nations and the Israel/Palestine question
Author(s): Costanza Musu (uOttawa) and Amelia Arsenault (uOttawa)
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has traditionally occupied a central place in
Canada’s Middle East policy, where Ottawa has seen itself as an ‘honest broker’.
Support for Israel had been a constant of Canadian governments since Israel’s
creation. Later this support became coupled with recognition of Palestinian national
aspirations. Progressively, Canada went from recognising Palestinian aspirations to
supporting Palestinian rights and endorsing the two-state solution. These views
have been partially channelled through Canada’s voting at the UN. They hold
importance vis-à-vis Canadian public opinion, signalling the government’s
approach to the Canadian public. Notably, since 2004, Canada’s traditional voting
behaviour at the UN moved towards more open support of Israel. This paper will
analyse how Canada has articulated and pushed its views of Israeli-Palestine at the
UN, balancing between sometimes contradictory priorities, including relations with
the US, relations with Israel and Arab states, strategic views of the Middle East, and
domestic considerations.
Title: The Stop the JNF Canada Campaign
Authors: Bill Skidmore (Carleton University)
The Jewish National Fund (JNF) was established in 1901 during the early years of
the Zionist movement. Its primary purpose was to acquire land in Palestine which
would be held for the exclusive use of Jewish colonizers and eventually Jewish
citizens of the state of Israel. However, in order to achieve this purpose indigenous
Palestinians had to be removed from the land, often by force, and restrained from
returning to it. In October of 2017, four individuals with the support of Independent
Jewish Voices (IJV) presented a complaint to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA),
alleging that JNF Canada had violated Canadian charity law and contributed to
breaches of international law. This presentation will furnish details of the complaint
and the campaign to have the CRA rescind JNF Canada’s charitable status.
Research and Policy Symposium on Canada and Palestine, 2019
Civil Society Plenary
Moderator: Peggy Mason (President of the Rideau Center, former diplomat and specialist in international peace and security)
Title: Zatoun: Experience ~ Learn ~ Share
Speaker(s): Robert Massoud (Zatoun)
Zatoun uses symbolic Palestinian products such as fair-trade olive oil to connect
Canadians with Palestine. It is a friendly, non-threatening way to broach the subject
of Palestine, reach new audiences and get ordinary people to be more attentive and
listen differently when they hear or read about Palestine or Israel. It opens the door
to an important conversation that many are afraid to have. Beginning its 16th year,
Zatoun is a unique success story making Palestine politically palatable for ordinary
Title: A SWOT Analysis for Palestinian Solidarity Work in Canada
Speaker(s): Tom Woodley (Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East)
While there is the tendency to focus on the challenges facing the Palestinian
solidarity work, the movement possesses a number of notable strengths and
opportunities. Given the different ways to pursue advocacy, we must therefore
tailor our efforts to the specifics of the Palestine Solidarity movement. While
Palestinian solidarity work in Canada should be informed by watching the pro-
Israel advocacy groups, we must nevertheless be careful to develop distinct
strategies which align with the movement’s unique strengths and opportunities.
Title: Independent Jewish Voices at 10: Successes and Challenges in the Movement
for Justice in Israel-Palestine
Speaker(s): Corey Balsam (Independent Jewish Voices)
In just over 10 years, Independent Jewish Voices (IJV) Canada has grown to be one
of the largest and most effective organizations in Canada that focuses on Palestine
solidarity. Not only has IJV filled a vaccuum as one of the few national chapter-
based Palestine solidarity organizations in Canada, but it has also filled a major void
within the Jewish Canadian organizational landscape. This talk will examine some
of the most significant aspects of IJV’s success as well as some of the challenges
IJV faces. It will also look at some of the broader implications of IJV’s experience
for the movement for a just peace in Israel-Palestine.
Title: A Cry for Home: Seeking a Just Peace in Palestine in Israel
Speaker(s): Bekah Sears (Mennonite Central Committee - Canada)
The Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) has been supporting Palestinian and
Israeli organisations committed to a just peace in the region since 1949. From the
beginning, these local partners have asked that Canadians hold our government to
account on their policies and practices on Palestine and Israel. As a strategy to
support this work, MCC has been implementing an education and advocacy
campaign on the region: A Cry for Home. We want to take the opportunity to share
some of our ideas, strategies and lessons learned from this campaign, including our
public engagement and political engagement strategies i.e. how we have
connected with our constituents and with Parliamentarians. MCC brings in a key
perspective in the region reaching out to our largely Christian constituency,
encouraging and challenging people of faith to learn and genuinely engage with the
context, appealing to faith convictions to advocate for change and justice.
Research and Policy Symposium on Canada and Palestine, 2019
Contributor Bios
Abdelnour, Samer
Dr Abdelnour is an Assistant Professor at the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, the
Netherlands. In his research he uses organisation theory and qualitative methods to study topics at the intersection
of social enterprise/intervention and international development. His current projects explore how post-war
enterprise projects with former fighters diffuse societal risk (Blue Nile, Sudan), how the idea sets of would-be
entrepreneurs reflect potential paths for economic development (Morocco), beneficiary perspectives on
humanitarian technology (Darfur, Sudan), the production of health policy metrics (global), and how advocacy
organizations elevate humanitarian issues (US/global). A key focus for his current work is 'Humanitarian
Technology', funded through a Marie Curie Fellowship and he serves as an Advisor to Restart Network, a
Rotterdam-based social enterprise that provides coding training for refugees. Professor Abdelnour is also
Palestinian-Canadian, was a co-founder of Al-Shabaka: the Palestinian Policy Network, and is co-authoring in this
initiative with Lina Assi.
Abu-Laban, Yasmeen
Professor Abu-Laban’s research interests centre on Canadian and comparative politics, with a focus on North
America, Europe and the Middle East notably Israel and Palestine. Professor Abu-Laban’s published research
examines: ethnic and gender politics; nationalism, globalisation and processes of racialization; immigration
policies and politics; surveillance and border control; multiculturalism and anti-racism; human rights; and
citizenship theory. Her research specialisation on Canada and Palestine is particularly important for this proposed
academic initiative. She has a number of research publications on the topic, including with her co-author
Professor Bakan, whose own research is in the area of anti-oppression politics, with a focus on intersections of
gender, race, class, political economy and citizenship. Professor Bakan (OISE) is currently engaged with research
projects that include a SSHRC supported project with Professor Abu-Laban assessing the debate on racism and
framing of anti-racism through a study of the United Nations World Conferences Against Racism (WCAR)
Research and Policy Symposium on Canada and Palestine, 2019
Abu-Zahra, Nadia
Professor Abu-Zahra is a co-organizer of the Canada and Palestine Symposium 2019. Professor Abu-Zahra’s
research interests include people's mobility inside and between states, including: immigration (and related topics
like foreign credential recognition), refugees (and statelessness and denationalisation), family reunification,
detention, mobility-related technologies (like identity documents), relevant state and international law,
colonialism, and historical as well as present barriers to mobility. Beyond this broad subject, she has a wide range
of experiences with various aspects of social policy in the Middle East: health (particularly environmental and
reproductive health), education (curriculum development), and sustainable development (water, wastewater, solid
waste, noise and air quality, and occupational health). She has in particular a specialisation in Palestine, and is
developing new research on Canada and Palestine for this initiative.
Antonius, Rachad
Professor of Sociology at the University of Quebec in Montreal. He also holds a M.Sc. degree in Mathematics
from the University of Manitoba. His work has centered on rural Egypt, on the sociology of Arab societies, on
Arabs in Canada (ethnicity, discrimination and racism), on water issues and regional conflicts in the Middle East,
and on Israeli colonial policies towards Palestinians. He has also published two books on quantitative methods
applied to social science, and several papers on media representations of Arabs and Muslims and of the Israeli-
Palestinian conflict. Many of his papers are available at and at Les Classiques des sciences
Arsenault, Amelia
Ms Arsenault is a Master’s candidate at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University
of Ottawa. She graduated summa cum laude from her undergraduate degree in Conflict Studies and Human
Rights with a minor in Religious Studies from the University of Ottawa in 2018. Since May 2018, Amelia has
been working as an assistant under the direction of Costanza Musu, professor of Public and International Affairs
at the University of Ottawa. This includes Canada’s voting patterns at the United Nations on the Israeli-
Palestinian conflict, for which they are co-authoring this paper. Professor Musu is a specialist in international
relations, security studies, conflict resolution, Middle East politics and European policy towards the Middle East
Peace Process. Her latest book on European policy towards the Arab-Israeli peace process was published by
Palgrave Macmillan.
Research and Policy Symposium on Canada and Palestine, 2019
Assi, Lina
Lina Assi holds a BA Honours in Political Science and Labour Studies from McMaster University (2018), where
she is currently pursuing a Master’s degree at McMaster University’s School of Labour Studies. Her research
interests include the impact of military occupation on the Palestinian labour movement, Palestinian trade union
resistance against Israeli occupation and post-Oslo labour organising. She is co-authoring with Professor
Abdelnour from the Department of Business-Society Management, Rotterdam School of Management (RSM),
Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Ms Assi has also been active as a Palestinian-Canadian in
Palestinian activism in Ontario for five years, advocating a social justice platform meant to uphold the rights of
the Palestinian people.
Ayyash, Mark
Dr. Ayyash is Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of the John de Chastelain Peace Studies Initiative.
His research interests include the study of violence, social movements, social and political theory, de-colonial
conceptions of space and time, as well as the history, culture and politics of the Middle East -- particularly for
Palestine and Israel. His forthcoming book with the University of Toronto Press, A Hermeneutics of Violence,
advances a dialogical and multi-dimensional critique of violence, which can help scholars and peace activists (a)
understand the often-hidden parts that violence plays in human society, and (b) explore the complexities involved
in efforts to move beyond violence. He is currently undertaking unique research into the boycott campaign by
activists in Canada towards Israel over its relationship with the Palestinians, which represents a highly important
aspect of Canadian-Palestinian-Israeli relationship.
Balsam, Corey
Corey Balsam is the National Coordinator of Independent Jewish Voices Canada. Corey has an undergraduate
degree from Carleton University in Public Affairs and Human Rights, for which he focused on Israel-Palestine
through an international law lens. His Master’s degree at the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education/University
of Toronto then looked critically at Zionist education and the dynamics of support for the state of Israel
historically among diaspora Jews and Canadian Jews in particular. Soon after graduating, Corey moved to
Ramallah, where he spent over three years working for the international non-governmental organization Oxfam,
including as part of a UNICEF-funded research partnership with the Institute of Community and Public Health at
Birzeit University on the impacts of political detention of the families of detainees. He is currently based in
Research and Policy Symposium on Canada and Palestine, 2019
Bahdi, Reem
Reem Bahdi is a co-organizer of the Canada and Palestine Symposium 2019. Her research explores dimensions of
access to justice in Canada and Palestine. In Canada, her focus is on law's response to Islamophobia and anti-
Arab animus. In Palestine, her focus has been on judicial education and access to justice in the Palestinian
context. Between 2005 and 2012, she was Co-Director of KARAMAH, The Project on Judicial Independence and
Human Dignity, a multi-million dollar initiative which focused on access to justice in Palestine through research,
continuing judicial education and directed civil society engagement. Professor Bahdi is a member of the Royal
Society of Canada's College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists and recipient of the Law Foundation of
Ontario's Guthrie Medal in 2018 in recognition of her dedication to access to justice at home and abroad.
Bakan, Abigail
Abigail B. Bakan Is a Professor in the Department of Social Justice in Education (SJE) at the Ontario Institute for
Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto. Her research is in anti-oppression politics, with a focus on
intersections of gender, race, class, political economy and citizenship. Her publications include: Theorizing Anti-
Racism: Linkages in Marxism and Critical Race Theories (co-edited with Enakshi Dua); Negotiating Citizenship:
Migrant Women in Canada and the Global System (with Daiva Stasiulis); Critical Political Studies: Debates and
Dialogues from the Left (co-edited with Eleanor MacDonald); and Employment Equity Policy in Canada: an
Interprovincial Comparison (with Audrey Kobayashi). With Yasmeen Abu-Laban, she has researched and written
on issues of race and politics in Israel/Palestine and UN world conferences including the UN World Conferences
Against Racism (WCAR) (SSHRC supported). These have appeared in journals including: Race and Class; Social
Identities; Atlantis; and the Canadian Journal of Law and Society.
Research and Policy Symposium on Canada and Palestine, 2019
Bhabha, Faisal
Faisal Bhabha is an Associate Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto and Faculty Director of the
Canadian Common Law LLM degree program. Professor Bhabha is also legal adviser and chair of the National
Security Policy Committee of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, and currently a senior editor with the
International Review of Human Rights Law. Previously, he sat as Vice-chair of the Human Rights Tribunal of
Ontario (2008-2011). He has researched and published in the areas of constitutional law, multiculturalism, law
and religion, disability rights, national security and access to justice. He maintains a varied public and private law
practice, appearing before administrative boards and tribunals and at all levels of court. He advises and represents
a variety of individuals and public interest organizations in matters pertaining to constitutional law and human
rights. He has lived and worked in the Middle East and South Africa.
Bueckert, Michael
Michael Bueckert holds a Master of Arts in Political Economy at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, where
he is currently pursuing his PhD in Sociology and Political Economy. His SSHRC funded thesis research looks at
the opposition to international solidarity campaigns in Canada, including boycott and divestment campaigns
against South Africa and Israel, and his research has involved travel to both countries. He has published in Studies
in Political Economy about Canadian development aid policy, and has a forthcoming piece in Radical History
Review about the African National Congress in Canada. He has also published a chapter about Occupy Wall
Street in a book on social movements edited by William Carroll. He has held the position of President of the
Carleton University Graduate Students’ Association, has been involved with Palestinian solidarity activism in
Canada, and is a contributor to Jacobin Magazine and Africa Is A Country.
Research and Policy Symposium on Canada and Palestine, 2019
Bunton, Martin
Dr Bunton is a historical expert in the field of modern Middle Eastern history, the history of the region in its
global context, and of Canada’s historical relationship with the Palestinians. His first book focused on the making
and remaking of colonial land policies in Palestine during the interwar period. The book is organised around two
main themes: the legacy of Ottoman administrative practices and the borrowing of policies developed
elsewhere in the British empire. These same themes also frame the organisation of his nine-volume collection of
primary sources on land legislation in Palestine. Other relevant articles include ‘Mandate Daze: Stories of British
Rule in Palestine, 19171948’, ‘"Après Nous le Déluge: Britain and the 1947 UN Palestine Partition Plan’ and ‘The
Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Very Short Introduction. He is helping with unique research to fill the particularly
large academic gap in the historical literature on Canada and Palestine.
Dagher, Ruby
Dr Ruby Dagher is a specialist in contemporary Middle East affairs whose research includes: Canadian foreign
policy and development assistance, crises in the Middle East, conflict and post-conflict development, the
legitimacy of post-conflict states, program/project management and evaluation, civil society in the context of
development, decentralisation in post-conflict environments and international funding mechanisms. Her areas of
professional work experience include: evaluation, program/policy analysis, performance management,
communications, programming in fragile states, developing programming frameworks and policy instruments,
and developing programming for the Middle East. That includes over 6 years of experience as a Program Analyst
for CIDA in the Middle East, notably programming for the West Bank and Gaza. This all informs the research she
will present assessing the impact of Canada's foreign policy on the legitimacy of Hamas in Gaza and the
responsibility of other actors, including Israel.
Research and Policy Symposium on Canada and Palestine, 2019
Deas, Joan
Joan Deas is a PhD student and lecturer in political science at Sciences Po Grenoble (France). Her research
specializes on the diplomatic preferences and strategies of “rising powers” (India, Brazil, South Africa) towards
the Israeli-Palestinian “peace process”. Joan Deas is also a research associate at the Raoul-Dandurand Chair for
Strategic and Diplomatic Studies at the University of Quebec At Montréal (UQAM, Canada), at the Canadian
Research Institute on Humanitarian Crisis and Aid (UQAM) and at the Genesys Network at the Catholic
University of Louvain (Belgium). She has previously worked for several local NGOs in the Occupied Palestinian
Territory, notably as Research Officer for the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme in Gaza. She regularly
coordinates educational and study tours in the region, designed to provide students, academics, journalists or
elected representatives with first-hand information about the political, social, economic and humanitarian situation
in Palestine.
Desjarlais, Peige
Peige Desjarlais is an Anthropology PhD candidate at York University. Her research specialisations include
history, memory, nature, space and place, settler-colonialism(s), the politics of representation, and discourse
analysis of representations of Palestine and Palestinians in Canada. Her current SSHRC funded research focuses
on Palestinians uprooted during the 1967 displacements, whose villages were destroyed and replaced with the
Canadian funded ‘Ayalon Canada Park’ near Jerusalem. This builds on past research involving interviews with
Palestinian-Canadians on narratives of Palestine in mainstream Canadian discourse. She is co-authoring with
Professor Farah (UWO), a leading expert on Palestine, Palestinian refugees and UNRWA, with numerous
publications and extensive field research in Jordan and the OPT and also in the Sahrawi refugee camps in
Algeria. Dr Farah’s research specialisations include history/memory and identity, national and other resistance
movements, collective mobilisation in the context of exile and displacement, refugees and refugee camps, nations
and nationalisms and humanitarian aid.
Research and Policy Symposium on Canada and Palestine, 2019
Elhusseini, Fadi
Fadi Elhusseini is a political and media advisor, and an advisory board member of the New Arab Foundation.
Elhusseini is senior fellow at the Centre on Governance, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ottawa. He
holds a PhD in International Relations (Turkey and the Arab World) from the University of Sunderland (UK), and
is an associate fellow researcher (ESRC) at the Institute for Middle East Studies Canada. He received his Master’s
degree in International Commercial Laws and Policies from Italy and earned his Bachelor’s degree in Economics
and Political Science from Egypt. He published one book, ‘The Arab Spring Effect on Turkey’s role, decision-
making and foreign policy’. He also contributed to two books on Turkish Foreign Policy and produced a number
of academic publications. Elhusseini is further a contributing writer for a number of magazines and journals, and
his articles have appeared in newspapers in English, French, Arabic and Italian.
Farah, Randa
Randa Farah is an anthropologist and Associate Professor at the University of Western Ontario. She held different
positions, including Visiting Fellow and Associate Researcher at the Refugee Studies Center (RSC) at the
University of Oxford, and at the Centre de Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches sur le Moyen-Orient Contemporain
(CERMOC), in Amman, Jordan, where she participated in a research project on Palestinian refugees and the
United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Dr Farah acquired her Ph.D. at the University of Toronto
on Palestinian refugees living in camps in Jordan. She also conducted research on Western Sahara, which evolved
into an interest in nation-building in the context of conflict and prolonged forced migration. Her publications,
which include a comparative study between the Palestinian and Western Sahara cases (Journal of Palestine
Studies, 2009) reflect her interests in memory/history, collective solidarities and mobilization in refugee camps,
nationalism, and the humanitarian regime.
Freeman-Maloy, Dan
Dan Freeman-Maloy is an FRQSC postdoctoral fellow in the Département de science politique at the Université
du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), where he is affiliated with the Chaire de recherche du Canada en études
québécoises et canadiennes (CRÉQC). He holds a PhD in Middle East Politics from the University of Exeter,
where he studied with the support of a SSHRC fellowship and acted as Assistant Director of the European Centre
for Palestine Studies (ECPS). Dan has written about the Palestine question and the politics of "race" and empire
for a wide range of publications, including Race & Class and the Journal of Palestine Studies.
Research and Policy Symposium on Canada and Palestine, 2019
Greyson, John
Professor Greyson is a filmmaker, video artist, writer, activist and educator whose productions have won
accolades at festivals throughout the world. He was the recipient of the 2000 Toronto Arts Award for film/video
and the 2007 Bell Award in Video Art. Besides teaching at York University for the past 14 years, Professor
Greyson has also taught film production in Canada, the United States, Cuba, Iraq and South Africa. His life work
centres on queer and AIDS activism, social justice and peace issues, and he has been very much engaged with
Palestinian rights as a Canadian through the academy, the arts and as a member of Queers Against Israeli
Apartheid. His ongoing research includes how Palestine and Palestinian human rights cause is played out in the
Hameed, Yavar
Yavar Hameed is a human rights lawyer based in Ottawa. He regularly provides advice to individuals and
community-based organizations responding to racial profiling concerns, anti-poverty struggles, police brutality
and suppression of political dissent. As part of his practice he has represented individuals and organizations
involved in Palestine solidarity and humanitarian work including Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA)
Carleton, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and
Needy (IRFAN-Canada), the late Professor David Noble and others. He also teaches a course in Carleton
University's Department of Laws entitled "State, Security and Dissent" which explores the limits imposed upon
civil resistance by the state's construction of security in times of peace and war.
Jackman, Barb
Barbara Jackman, B.A. Hons. (Windsor) 1972; LL.B. (Toronto) 1976 was called to the bar of Ontario in 1978.
From then on, the primary focus of her practice has been immigration and refugee law, and related constitutional
litigation. She has been an adjunct faculty member of several Ontario law schools (Queen’s University 1988-
1990; 1991-2001, 2005-2006; Osgoode Hall, York University 1988-1989; The University of Toronto 1994-1998,
2006-2007). She has also been a very active contributor to Continuing Legal Education programs for the
Canadian Bar Association, the Law Society of Upper Canada, and academic and community conferences on
topics such as the practice of immigration and refugee law, racial profiling, the role and practices of the Federal
Court and Supreme Court of Canada, issues related to migration and Canadian national security, domestic and
international human rights norms and practices, and advocacy before International Human Rights Tribunals.
Research and Policy Symposium on Canada and Palestine, 2019
Kanji, Azeezah
Azeezah Kanji is a legal academic and writer, who also serves as Director of Programming at the Noor Cultural
Centre. She received her Juris Doctor from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law, and a Masters of Law
specialising in Islamic Law from the School of Oriental and African Studies (UK). Ms Kanji’s work focuses on
issues relating to racism, law, and social justice, and her writing has appeared in the Toronto Star, National Post,
Ottawa Citizen, OpenDemocracy, Roar Magazine, iPolitics, Policy Options, Rabble, and various academic
anthologies and journals. Her writing work includes specifically addressing Palestine, and how Palestinians are
treated in Canadian legal, political, media and other social discourses.
Keefer, Michael
Michael Keefer is Professor Emeritus in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph. A
former president of the Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English, he has held visiting
research fellowships at the universities of Sussex and Greifswald. He has published widely on English
Renaissance literature, early modern philosophy, and textual-critical and literary theory, and has also written on a
range of contemporary political issues, with substantial recent essays on subjects including Indigenous human
rights in Canada, the corruption of democratic governance in the United States, Canada and elsewhere through
electoral fraud and other forms of state crimes against democracy, and ongoing neo-McCarthyist attempts to
suppress civil society campaigns in support of Palestinian rights. His books include Lunar Perspectives: Field
Notes from the Culture Wars, and the edited collection Antisemitism Real and Imagined: Responses to the
Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism.
Lascaris, Alexander Dimitri
Dimitri Lascaris is a lawyer, journalist and activist. Dimitri began his legal career at the Wall Street law firm of
Sullivan & Cromwell. In 2004, he joined one of Canada’s leading class action law firms, Siskinds LLP, where he
co-founded and led Canada’s largest team of securities class action lawyers. In 2012, Dimitri was named by
Canadian Lawyer Magazine as one of the 25 most influential lawyers in Canada, and in 2013, he was named by
Canadian Business Magazine as one of the 50 most influential persons in Canadian business. In 2016, Dimitri
retired from Siskinds to devote himself to activism and journalism. He is a correspondent and Board member of
The Real News Network and the Chair of the Board of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East. He has
also served as justice critic in the shadow cabinet of the Green Party.
Research and Policy Symposium on Canada and Palestine, 2019
Labelle, Maurice
Maurice Jr. Labelle is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Saskatchewan. Articles of his have
appeared in Diplomatic History, the Journal of Global History, and Radical History Review. He has also offered
informed commentary for myriad news agencies, like CTV News Channel, Al-Jazeera, and Radio-Canada.
Labelle’s current manuscript project examines how Lebanon came to identity the United States as an imperial
power in the Middle East.
Leech-Ngo, Phil
Dr Phil Leech-Ngo is a specialist in international relations and Middle East politics. He has a PhD from the
University of Exeter’s Institute for Arab and Islamic Studies, and its Centre for Palestine Studies, where he
carried out research on international donor funded state-building of the Palestinian Authority after the Second
Intifada. He is also the author of numerous other publications about Palestine, and Canada and Palestine. He is
also the co-editor of ‘Political Identities and Popular Uprisings in the Middle East’. He has further carried out
relevant research consultancies, such as: two reports on the Palestinian Economy for Christian Aid; a project on
corruption in the Middle East for Transparency International; and designing a course on Conflict Management for
the Royal Military College of Canada. He will be co-authoring and co-presenting a paper with Dr El-Husseini and
PhD candidate Emma Swan.
Lynk, Michael
Professor Lynk is a co-organizer of the Canada and Palestine Symposium 2019. Professor Lynk is a leading
specialist in human rights, international law, Canada, the Middle East and the occupied Palestinian territory
(OPT). He is co-editor of ‘International Law and the Middle East Conflict’, and is the author of numerous articles
on Israel and Palestine, including, ‘Partitioning Palestine: Legal Fundamentalism in the Palestinian-Israeli
Conflict by John Strawson’ and ‘The Right to Restitution and Compensation in International Law and the
Displaced Palestinians’. In March 2016, the UN Human Rights Council appointed Professor Lynk as the 7th
Special Rapporteur for the human rights situation in the Palestinian Territories occupied since 1967, whose tasks
include assessing the human rights situation in the OPT, reporting publicly about it, and working with
governments, civil society and others to foster international cooperation.
Research and Policy Symposium on Canada and Palestine, 2019
Massoud, Robert
Robert Massoud is Palestinian-Canadian. In 2004, he founded Zatoun, Fair Trade olive oil from Palestine to serve
as a symbol of light, hope and peace in North America. The oil is available mostly through faith communities, the
grassroots and fair-trade network. Robert is invited to speak to a wide range of audiences including faith groups,
activist networks and student bodies with a unique message of creative participation and nonviolent resistance
engaging North Americans to learn and be in solidarity with Palestinians and their struggle for a just peace for
Israel-Palestine. His message is that Israel-Palestine is of vital interest to all humanity and its resolution key to
peace in the world and ultimately to the health of the planet. He believes that getting Canadians to appreciate the
enormity and wide-ranging impacts of Israel-Palestine creates interest for ordinary people to self-educate which is
the best path to an effective civil society.
McAdam, Sylvia
Professor McAdam is a Law Foundation of Ontario Scholar at the University of Windsor. She has her Juris
Doctorate from the University of Saskatchewan and a Bachelor’s degree in Human Justice from the University of
Regina. Sylvia is co-founder of a global grassroots Indigenous-led movement called “Idle No More.” Idle No
More has changed the political and social landscape of Canada as well as reached the global community to defend
and protect all lands, waters, and animals. She is also co-founder of the “One House Many Nations” Campaign,
which designs off-the-grid sustainable tiny-homes to address and raise awareness about the epidemic
unacceptable proportions of homelessness in such a wealthy state as “Canada” especially amongst
Indigenous/Original peoples.
McKercher, Asa
Dr McKercher is a Professor of History at the Royal Military College of Canada. Professor McKercher’s research
interests include North American Political History, Canadian International History, The United States and the
World, The Cold War and International Human Rights. Professor McKercher has published a variety of articles
about Canadian foreign policy and his other areas of interest. He is also a rare diplomatic historian carrying out
research into Canada’s historical relationship with the Middle East, which is a highly underexplored and vital part
of Canada’s foreign policy and national identity that the entire ‘Canada and Palestine’ initiative is helping to
address as an initiative.
Research and Policy Symposium on Canada and Palestine, 2019
Molloy, Mike
Michael James Molloy worked for 35 years with the Canada’s immigration and foreign affairs departments,
specializing in Middle East and refugee affairs. As Ambassador to Jordan (1996-2000) he chaired a donor-host
country committee on the funding and management of UNRWA. He was Canada’s Special Coordinator for the
Middle East Peace Process and Gavel holder of the Multilateral Refugee Working Group (2000-03). Molloy
served as Director General for Refugee Affairs at Immigration Canada, (1989-91) and Director General,
Citizenship and Immigration Operations, Ontario. (1994-96). As Director Refugee Policy from 1976 to 1978 he
led the design of the refugee provisions of the 1976 Immigration Act including the WUSC and private refugee
sponsorship programs. He coordinated the 1979-80 Indochinese refugee program that resettled 60,000 refugees in
Canada. Publications include “Running on Empty: Canada and the Indochinese Refugees 1975-80” (2017) and
three volumes on the Old City of Jerusalem.
Musu, Costanza
Dr Costanza Musu obtained her PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of
International Relations. Subsequently she was Jean Monnet Fellow in the Transatlantic Programme of the Robert
Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies at the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence and Assistant
Professor of International Relations at Richmond University (London-UK). She has been a consultant for the
Military Center for Strategic Studies, Center for Advanced Defense Studies (CeMiSS-CASD), the think tank of
the Italian Ministry of Defence, and the Book Reviews Editor of the journal Mediterranean Politics (Routledge).
Her latest book on European policy towards the Arab-Israeli peace process was published by Palgrave Macmillan.
Najem, Tom
Tom Pierre Najem is professor of political science at the University of Windsor (Canada). He has three major
areas of research, which overlap to some degree: 1) Middle Eastern politics; 2) the nexus between international
intervention in civil conflict, the responsibility to protect (R2P), and the role of media; and 3) track two diplomacy
and conflict resolution. Since 2005, he served as project manager of the Canadian led track two initiative, the
Jerusalem Old City Initiative (JOCI). JOCI worked with Palestinians, Israelis, and international specialists on
developing a viable proposal for governing Jerusalem’s Old City, an area of less than one square kilometre that
many consider the most intractable of issues in the long-lasting conflict between Palestinians and Israelis. Recent
relevant publications include: Track Two Diplomacy in Jerusalem (co-edited), Governance and Security in
Jerusalem (co-edited), and Contest Sites in Jerusalem (co-edited), all with Routledge 2017.
Research and Policy Symposium on Canada and Palestine, 2019
Nestel, Sydney
Sydney Nestel is a member of Independent Jewish Voices Canada. He recently helped draft IJV’s position paper
on the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Working Definition of Antisemitsm. He has been active in
the fight against the Israeli occupation of Palestine for 50 years. He is an active member of the Jewish community,
a past board member of his synagogue in Toronto, and a recently retired IT consultant.
Ralph, Diana
Diana Ralph is a community organiser, social worker, scholar, and activist on a broad range of social justice and
environmental issues. She has a PhD in psychology and an MSW. She is a retired Associate Professor of Social
Work at Carleton University. She has written two books, Work and Madness, and Open for Business; Closed to
People: Mike Harris’ Ontario. She is an observant Jew, currently an active member of Or Haneshamah in Ottawa.
She founded Independent Jewish Voices in 2008 and served on its Steering Committee until recently.
Rempel, Terry
Terry Rempel (PhD, Exeter University) is an independent research consultant specializing in forced displacement
in Palestine/Israel. His doctoral research focused on the law and politics of refugee participation in peacemaking
and the crafting of durable solutions. A founding member of BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency
& Refugee Rights, Rempel has authored numerous articles, book chapters and monographs on Palestinian
refugees and displaced persons. His forthcoming book, co-authored with Susan M. Akram, entitled Out of Place,
Out of Time: Refugees, Rights and the (Re)Making of Palestine/Israel, explores a rights-based approach to
prevention, protection and durable solutions through the application of a comprehensive plan of action drawing
upon comparative practice around the world.
Research and Policy Symposium on Canada and Palestine, 2019
Sears, Rebekah
Rebekah Sears is the Policy Analyst for Mennonite Central Committee’s Ottawa Office. She has a BA in History
from the University of New Brunswick and an MA in International Affairs from the Norman Paterson School of
International Affairs (Carleton University), focusing on conflict analysis and resolution. For the last 10 years she
has been working with various non-profit organizations dedicated to peace, justice and advocacy in Canada and
around the world.
Skidmore, Bill
Bill Skidmore teaches in the Human Rights and Social Justice program at Carleton University, where he has been
employed for almost 25 years. From the early 2000s he became increasingly interested in the plight of
Palestinians subjected to Israeli colonialism, and since then has included examination of this issue in many of his
courses. Bill also became involved in university activism in support of Palestinian rights, collaborating with other
faculty members and student organizations, most notably Students Against Israeli Apartheid. He is one of four
individuals who submitted a complaint to the Canada Revenue Agency in October of 2017, asking that the
charitable status of the Jewish National Fund of Canada be revoked.
Swan, Emma
Ms Emma Swan is a PhD candidate at University of Ottawa’s School of International Development at the Faculty
of Social Sciences. Her doctoral research is called, ‘A martyr or a peacebuilder? Exploring the nexus of
masculinities, nonviolence, and peace’. Through first-hand narratives and the backdrop of the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict, Ms Swan’s research endeavours to explore why and how certain men resist violent engagement in
conflict. There a substantial but underappreciated movement of Palestinian men refuse to prescribe to an ideology
that accepts violence as a means of creating a peaceful reality free from insecurity, violence, and occupation. She
is currently conducting field research on the ground in the West Bank. She will be co-authoring and co-presenting
a paper with Dr El-Husseini and Dr Leech-Ngo.
Wildeman, Jeremy
Dr Wildeman is a co-organizer of the Canada and Palestine Symposium 2019. Dr Wildeman has research interests
in international relations, conflict, critical discourse analysis, colonialism and peace. He is a leading expert on
Research and Policy Symposium on Canada and Palestine, 2019
Canada’s relationship with the Palestinians, whose past research includes writing a thesis about Canadian
development aid to the Palestinians 2001 to 2012, which also explored the Harper government crackdown on left-
leaning Canadian charities for working with Palestinians. He also has expertise in the Palestinian economy,
donor-led development and state-building, NGOs, de-development, the occupation, peace process and
colonisation. He has published and carried out numerous studies on these topics, including an ESRC funded ‘aid
effectiveness’ survey, policy pieces for Al-Shabaka, and research consultancies for Oxfam GB and UN-ESCWA.
His research is further informed by 8-years of experience setting up Canadian aid projects in the West Bank.
Wills, Emily Regan
Professor Wills’ research interests revolve around two areas: transnationalism and everyday politics. Professors
Wills’ geographical areas of expertise are the United States and the Arab Middle East, particularly Lebanon,
Palestine/Israel, Egypt, and Kuwait. Her thematic areas of expertise are social movements, migrants and
migration, refugees, and community organising and NGOs. She is a leading expert on the Palestinian diaspora in
Canada. Professor Wills is currently working on two main projects. The first is a preliminary study of
transnational practices and diaspora engagement in Palestinian civil society, drawing links with her previous work
in Arab diaspora communities in the US and the Middle Eastern context. The second is an applied
research/teaching project to develop a certificate program in Lebanon to bring together Syrians, Palestinians, and
Lebanese to study community mobilisation and implement transformative projects in their own communities.
Xavier, Sujith
Focusing on governance institutions and communities of colour, Professor Sujith Xavier’s scholarly interest sits at
the intersections of law, socio-legal theory, and global and local society. Professor Xavier’s scholarly engagement
further explores the intersections of law and society with race, colonialism and imperialism, with research
spanning domestic and international legal theory, including Third World Approaches to International Law
(TWAIL), constitutions and administrations, global governance, international law, and transitional justice. His
research uses TWAIL methodologies to unpack and deconstruct embedded racial hierarchies in law, while
borrowing from neighbouring disciplines to advance progressive and practical solutions to exclusionary
challenges facing law and its institutions. He is also a co-editor of Third World Approaches to International Law:
On Praxis and the Intellectual (London: Routledge, THIRDWORLDS Series, 2017) and his peer reviewed works
appear in publications like: Indian Journal of International Law, Third World Quarterly, Journal of International
Criminal Justice and Transnational Legal Theory.
Research and Policy Symposium on Canada and Palestine, 2019
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Full-text available
This paper emphasizes the importance of cultural competence for tort law by analyzing the Federal Court’s decision in Haj Khalil v. Canada. Given that this symposium in honour of Rose Voyvodic’s life and work is entitled “Re-Imagining Access to Justice,” this paper asks “how do the principles of cultural competence allow us to think about the facts of the Haj Khalil differently. In particular, what would a cause in fact analysis look like if it were informed by the principles of cultural competence?” My analysis proceeds by “reading the silences” or focusing on the unstated assumptions and unexplored elements of Haj Khalil’s story to bring into focus factors relevant to factual causation which remain largely unexplored or undervalued by the Federal Court. An examination of the facts that framed Haj Khalil`s claim against immigration officials through a culturally competent lens would open the possibility of a different understanding of causation as it arises on the facts of the case. While Canadian courts have emphasized the importance of social context for fair judgment, they have not fully come to grips with the implications of social context for judicial decision-making. This is particularly the case within negligence law which remains vexed by the need to maintain an objective standard while simultaneously recognizing the importance of context and circumstance to particular claims. Cet article souligne l’importance de la compétence culturelle pour le droit de la responsabilité civile délictuelle en analysant le jugement Haj Khalil c. Canada de la Cour Fédérale. Vu que ce symposium en honneur de la vie et de l’oeuvre de Rose Voyvodic est intitulé « Re-Imagining Access to Justice», cet article pose la question «comment les principes de compétence culturelle nous permettent-ils de concevoir différemment les faits de Haj Khalil. En particulier, comment se présenterait la causalité si l’analyse des faits était éclairée par les principes de compétence culturelle?» Mon analyse s’effectue en «interprétant les silences» ou en portant l’attention sur les suppositions inexprimées et les éléments inexplorés du récit de Haj Khalil afin de mettre au point des facteurs pertinents à la causalité factuelle qui restent en grande partie inexplorés ou sous-évalués par la Cour Fédérale. Un examen des faits sur la base desquels était formulée la réclamation de Haj Khalil contre les officiers de l’immigration dans une optique faisant preuve de compétence culturelle ouvrirait la possibilité d’une compréhension différente de la causalité telle qu’elle se présente basée sur les faits en l’espèce. Quoique les cours canadiennes aient souligné l’importance du contexte social pour des jugements équitables, elles ne sont pas complètement venues aux prises avec les implications du contexte social pour la prise de décision juridique. C’est particulièrement le cas pour le droit de la négligence qui demeure embêté par le besoin de maintenir une norme objective tout en reconnaissant l’importance du contexte et des circonstances d’une réclamation particulière.