As part of Israeli Apartheid Week, yesterday March 6, about 40 people gathered at the conference ‘Profiling of Arabs and Muslims in Canada : an historical perspective’ at Café artere. A conference organized by Tadamon Collective, which reunited the historian, Houda Asal and the activist Mary Foster as part of the BDS (boycott sanction and divestment) campaign.
Racist and occidentals’ vision of the Arab and Muslim minority in relation with the profiling
The historian Houda Asal reminds that the historical perspective of the discriminatory profiling has to be taken as a long perspective and not such as something new. In fact, it began in the 19th century : restrictions and discrimination of minorities had already an impact in society. First mobilizations of Arabs minorities in concert with the origin country began in 1945: the Palestinian defense of auto-determination.
First activists in Canada were against the sharing plan of Palestine where Canada government played an important role. From the beginning of first mobilizations, the Canadian government had already a negative vision of pro-Palestinian mobilizations with a strong supervision.
According to Houda Asal, we can see that the Canadian government has an interest to protect Israel in the International relations.
There is a big myth of Canadian neutrality especially in the Suez Crisis in 1958. Houda Asal
The year 1967, as the start of big international mobilizations for the Palestinian issue is also the beginning of the Canadian mobilizations around the Canadian Arab federation. Simultaneously, profiling increased at the same time in a suspicious climate of intimidation for these activists.
The first Golf war between 80’s and 2001 has increased the conflation between Arabs and Muslims with a growth of racism and discrimination directed to these populations.
According to the historian Houda Assal, ‘there is a big link between the international politics issues and their local repercussion‘.
Mary Foster, activist in Montreal, notice also that there is nowadays a growing of the violence and racism of profiling in general.
Tadamon Collective aims also to struggle against the expansion of the Canada-Israel free trade agreement (CIFTA) that serves to legitimize Israeli occupation.
As well, the BDS movement is calling for International Mobilization so that Hewlett-Packard ceases to collaborate with the Israeli Apartheid System.