Middle East Eye
May 13, 2016
Toronto is facing criticism both at home and abroad as a city official is slated to give the keynote speech at a conference in Jerusalem that Palestinians say
“aims to whitewash” life under Israeli occupation.
Uzma Shakir, director of Toronto’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Human Rights, is scheduled to host the first session at the “Jerusalem as a Culturally Competent City” conference, taking place at the Jerusalem Cinematheque on 17 May.
“It’s appalling that [Toronto] Mayor John Tory has allowed the city of Toronto to participate and, in fact, even more appalling that it’s doing that participation through the Office of Equity, Diversity and Human Rights,” said Mary-Jo Nadeau, a member of the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA), a Toronto-based group that is circulating a petition calling on the city to cancel the speech.
By Friday afternoon, the petition had garnered nearly 500 signatures. CAIA organised a small rally on Friday afternoon in front of Toronto city hall.