Third Halifax Symposium On Palestine, 2009

Media Release

HALIFAX (23 January 2009) – Teach-Ins are back. A popular phenomenon of the Sixties and the Vietnam War era, teach-ins are sprouting up across North America in the wake of the three-week military assault of Israel on Gaza.

And, like the Sixties, “our aim is to provide much-needed context, information and education for the public about the war,” says Tony Seed, a convenor of the third Halifax Symposium On Palestine and whose Shunpiking Magazine, a province-wide quarterly, published a 96-page Dossier on Palestine in 2002 which received a national award.

The Halifax symposium is being held on two successive Saturday afternoons, January 24 and 31, beginning at 1 p.m., at the Weldon Law Building at Dalhousie University. Such is the interest by Canadians in the topic that provisions are being made for a third Saturday afternoon if needed, he added.

“We are bringing together some of the most knowledgeable academics, active organizers and the community on the question of the assault on Gaza and Palestinian Rights,” Mr Seed said.

“We are really fortunate in that some of the most informed experts on Israel and Palestine actually live right here in Halifax,” he pointed out.

“Although a one week ceasefire has been declared by both sides, this issue, which dates back to 1948 and earlier, will not disappear,” Dr Ismail Zayid, president of the Canada Palestine Association, said.

The teach-In also includes testimonies by Palestinian natives of Gaza on the experiences of their families and community as well as live interviews by CKDU with human rights and relief specialists. Casualties now number over 1,200, including 340 children. “We aim to draw the appropriate conclusions about what we consider a major war crime,” Dr Zayid said.

Once the concern of a small section of the population, the question of Palestine is now being taken up by a broadening strata of Canadians, including major trade unions such as the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, the Canadian Union of Public Employees in Ontario, and the Canadian Association of University Teachers. A Montreal demonstration on January 10 that drew 15,000 people was co-sponsored by 36 Quebec trade union syndicates.

Independent Jewish organizations have also organized sit-ins in Israeli consulates in Toronto, Montreal, Los Angeles and San Francisco. At a Halifax meeting to hear Israeli Jewish peace activist Jeff Halper give the facts about the Gaza operation, attended by over 600 people, two ex-Israelis stood up from the audience to denounce Israel’s actions.

The Halifax forum is being organized by an Ad Hoc Committee to Defend Paalestine which was formed on January 8, 2008 by 25 concerned members of the Halifax community who came together “to condemn the attacks on Gaza and support the sovereign rights of the Palestinian nation.” Its mandate is to organize events and activities that “engage and inform the community on this important issue of concern to all justice-loving people worldwide.”

Another parallel with the Sixties? “The concern of student youth is a major impetus behind the Halifax Teach-In On Palestine,” Mr Seed said.

For information:

Tony Seed, 477-0470 (res); 444.4922 (work)

Dr Ismail Zayid, 429-9100

See our listing in Sources

* * *


Saturday January 24 & January 31, 1 to 6 pm

Opening Session • January 24: Room 105, Weldon

Law Building, Dalhousie, 6061 University Ave.

Second Session • Sat, January 31: same location

The world has witnessed a barbaric attack on the Palestinians of Gaza. This has outraged public opinion, resulting in massive mobilizations across the globe in defence of Gaza.

On Saturday January 24th, from 1 to 6 pm, the Opening Session of the Halifax Symposium on Palestine will be held. This teach-In will be a converging point for information, discussion & analysis of the current context for Palestinian rights.

Among the themes & topics:

Testimonies of Palestinians

Understanding the Assault on Gaza

What is Zionism? • Israeli-US Strategy

Who Are The Palestinians?

History of the Conflict

Farming Under Fire

Canada’s Role

Suggested donation$5+

Refreshments • Information Resources • Books • Childcare available.

Registration/ Information: Ad Hoc Committee to Defend Palestine, 902-477-0470,

Initial Endorsers

Palestine Solidarity Society • Canada Palestine Association • Shunpiking Magazine / Dossier on Palestine • Student Coalition Against War (SCAW) • Halifax Peace Coalition • Rural Delivery Magazine • Zatoun Fair Trade Olive Oil from Palestine

* * *

Schedule: Saturday, January 24, 2009

1:00 Welcome from Dr Ismail Zayid, Honourary Chair of the Halifax Symposium On Palestine

1: 15 Testimony by Saif Faris, who was born and raised in Gaza and is a second-year university student in Halifax.

1:30 Understanding the Assault on Gaza – Illustrated presentation by Shatha Al-Husseini and Mohammed Gharbiya

Shatha, a native of Jerusalem, is a second-year student at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and Mohammed is a recent graduate of Dalhousie University in business administration. Both are activists with the Palestine Solidarity Society.

2:15: Live from Gaza – David Parker of CKDU interviews Palestinian doctors and relief specialists on the human and social dimension of the Israeli assault


3:15: The Palestinian Struggle and its Historical ContextDr Ismail Zayid

Dr. Ismail Zayid was born and grew up in Beit Nuba, Palestine. Beit Nuba, together with the neighbouring villages of Imwas (Emmaus) and Yalu, were occupied and totally bulldozed and demolished, in June 1967 by Israel, on the orders of Yitzhak Rabin, an act which has been rightly described as a war crime. Today, at the site of the ruins of these villages, stands the infamy called “Canada Park”, built by Canadian tax-deductible dollars. After studying medicine in Jerusalem and London, then practicing in Amman, Dr. Zayid became Professor of Pathology at the Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax from 1972 until his retirement in 1998. One of the foremost authorities in Canada on Palestine, Dr Zayid is the author of two books: Palestine: A Stolen Heritage, and Zionism: The Myth and the Reality. He is co-founder, Canada Palestine Association.

4:45: Zionism, the Israeli state and US strategy in the Middle East Gary Zatzman

Along with being co-editor of the award-winning Dossier on Palestine (2002) that received acclaim throughout the world as an enlightened and indepth resource on this burning issue facing humanity, Gary is author of The Economics of Intangibles and has lectured and written extensively on Middle Eastern affairs and Zionism. He provides a weekly commentary for CFRO Radio in Vancouver.

Saturday, January 31, 2009 schedule includes

Palestinian Testimonies

Farming under Fire Dirk van Loon

Dirk is publisher of Rural Delivery, Nova Scotia’s oldest independent magazine, author of two books on family farming, and worked and wrote about his experiences in 2004 as a volunteer in the olive groves and living with farm families in small communities north of Jerusalem.

International Law, Israel and the Rights of the Palestinian People Isaac Saney

Prof Saney is on faculty, Dalhousie and St Mary’s University, acting director of the Transitional Year Programme, author of Cuba: A Revolution in Motion, and a graduate of the Dalhousie Law School in international law. He was recently elected as National Spokesperson & co-chair, Canadian Network On Cuba.

Other sessions and guest speakers will be organized in terms of questions and concerns of participants arising from discussion in the teach-in

The Role of Canada; the Responsibility of Canadians – A dialogue with Tony Seed (Closing Session)

A long time political activist, Tony is publisher and editor of The Dossier on Palestine and of Shunpiking, Nova Scotia’s discovery magazine, recipient of the 2006 Journalist of the Year Award from the Canadian Islamic Congress and the 1996 Nova Scotia Environmental Award for Media Excellence, a nominee for the Canadian Race Relations Foundation national media award. A former features writer with the Globe and Mail, he has lectured in universities and written widely on the issue of Palestine, Canada and disinformation and convened the Halifax Symposium on Palestine (2003, 2004).

* * *

The Halifax Symposium On Palestine aims to bring together some of the most knowledgeable academics, active organizers and the community on the question of the assault on Gaza and Palestinian Rights. In turn, the teach-In will provide the most up to date context, information, analysis and space for discussion on the current struggle of the Palestinian people. It is hosted by the Ad-Hoc Committee to Defend Palestine which was formed on 8 January 2008 by concerned members of the Halifax community who came together to condemn the attacks on Gaza and support the sovereign rights of the Palestinian nation. As such, it is mandated to organize events and activities that engage and inform the community on this important issue of concern to all justice-loving people worldwide.

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