OPIRG Toronto condemns the genocide in Gaza and calls for an end to the occupation
OPIRG Toronto stands in solidarity with community organizers and activists who have faced academic or workplace retaliation or arrests for speaking and acting in support of Palestine. This includes the Indigo 11, Ontario high school students doing walk outs, students at the University of Toronto, York University, Lincoln Alexander School of Law, Toronto Metropolitan University, and all other post-secondary institutions across Canada.
We condemn the illegal settler colonial state of Israel’s genocide of Palestinians and occupation of Palestine. As of December 5, Israel has murdered over 21,000 innocent Palestinian civilians, over half of whom are children, in the name of “self-defence”.1 OPIRG Toronto believes in and stands for the right of occupied peoples to resist against their oppressors – we believe in the right of Palestinians to resist Israeli occupation, apartheid, violence, and now genocide.
Since October 7, almost two million Palestinians have been displaced, and the Gaza strip is being reduced to rubble.1 Israel has cut off food, water, fuel, electricity and aid from Gaza, leading to mass starvation and widespread infectious disease. Repeated bombings by the Israeli Defence Forces have destroyed the health care system, leaving it unable to treat its thousands of injured and ill, and killing several thousands more. The Israeli Defence Forces have also occupied and attacked hospitals, forcing the injured, ill, and those seeking refuge to evacuate.
These attacks on the people, institutions, and infrastructure of Gaza, exacerbated by Israel’s siege of the territory, constitute an egregious form of collective punishment that academics and activists now warn are genocidal in scope.2 OPIRG Toronto joins organizations around the world in calling for an immediate ceasefire, an end to Israel’s occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, blockade of Gaza and the 16-year siege, and an exchange of hostages, including the release of all Palestinian political prisoners. These are necessary first steps designed to prevent the loss of more lives and to lay the groundwork for comprehensive negotiations to end Israel’s settler colonial apartheid regime and illegal occupation, and recognizing Palestinians’ right to self-determination.
As a student-led and funded organization focused on social and environmental justice, OPIRG Toronto unequivocally condemn all acts of state-sanctioned violence. We call on all people of good conscience to see in these events another reason that the decades-long policies of dispossession, occupation, and apartheid that are at the root of the violence and atrocity be forcefully challenged, and ultimately dismantled. The call for a ceasefire is only the first step in dismantling the illegal settler colonial state of Israel and the liberation of Palestine.
OPIRG Toronto reaffirms our unwavering support for the nonviolent Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. We call on the University of Toronto (UofT) to publicly denounce Israel’s assault on Palestine and call for an immediate ceasefire, which it has yet to do, and an end to the illegal occupation. We remind UofT that to appear silent on what is unfolding in Palestine contradicts its own commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Excellence; as a publicly-funded institution for higher education, it must reject all forms of racism, including anti-Palestinian racism. As students, we call for UofT to release funds and resources to ensure the mental health and physical safety for all students – particularly Palestinians – and to end any partnerships with the Israeli state and state-funded academic/ research institutions immediately. We call on UofT to divest from all companies profiteering from illegal settlements and war against Palestinians, as was decided in a 2022 University of Toronto Students’ Union referendum by UofT students. We commit ourselves to supporting students and the broader community by assisting with research and resources, providing access to peer-reviewed reading materials, visuals, and graphics. Our staff and board are committed to receiving with urgency requests to fund student-led Palestine solidarity initiatives such as teach-ins and other activities. We encourage our broader community to support efforts and communities on the ground by donating to the Community Defence Fund to support PYM Toronto organizers with legal defence and other organizing costs, as well as Palestinian Youth Movement directly.
Resources: In Solidarity With Palestine
Please see below for a list of non-exhaustive resources compiled by OPIRG York that provide both historical context and more current analysis of the current situation. We hope that through lists such as these, we can learn together and feel empowered to take collective action.
- The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine by Illan Pappe
- The Question of Palestine by Edward Said
- Justice for Some by Noura Erakat
- The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917–2017 by Rashid Khalidi
ARTISTS / POETS