Canadians showed their love and support for Israel during two very different events in Canadian cities this past weekend:

SATURDAY, July 26/14, LONDON, ONTARIO: I led a vigil against a pro-Hamas rally on behalf of Israel Truth Week. Our tiny group consisted of 9 Christians and 4 Jews who faced down hundreds of Hamas supporters…without police to separate or protect us.

As one of our number pointed out: the situation was analogous to the Middle East condition: Just as Arabs have the vast majority of land, but want the tiny sliver that is Israel Jew-free, the pro-Hamas side had an entire park to use but insisted on crossing the street to try to force us off the tiny traffic island we quietly and peacefully occupied. They were unsuccessful.

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(*Pro-Hamas demonstrators harass pro-Israel counter-vigil, London, Ontario, Canada, July 26/14. Photo: Mark Vandermaas, IsraelTruthWeek.org, all rights reserved.)

We refused to return hate with hate, or threat for threat and, eventually, cooler heads prevailed–after I quietly pointed out to a leader that their hatred had allowed us to control their entire event from start to finish simply by being there, and that we were not going to move even under threat of violence. Five minutes later, they simply walked away, and so there was none of the violence seen in Canada against pro-Israel demonstrators in Toronto and Calgary.

SUNDAY, July 27/14, TORONTO, ONTARIO: Thousands of Canadians–Jews, Christians and Muslims–came to the Province of Ontario’s legislative building known as “Queen’s Park” for a remarkable Freedom & Democracy Rally organized by Canadians For Israel which took place the day after those who support violence against Jewish civilians gathered for Al Quds Day on the same location.

The organizers played one of Israel’s air raid sirens and we all took protective measures on the ground. This short (6:28) video captures the siren dramatization, and some of the speeches, including the reading of Stephen Harper’s letter. More importantly…it captures the sheer spirit and energy of the love and support Canadians feel for Israel:

I was honoured to be asked to speak as part of a distinguished group that included: Donna Holbrook, Canadian National Director of ICEJ (International Christian Embassy Jerusalem); Tahir Gora of Progressive Muslims Institute/Muslims Against Anti-Semitism; Rabbi Korobkin of Beth Avraham Yoseph Synagogue; and Members of Parliament (Canada) Mark Adler and John Carmichael who read an unequivocal letter of support for Israel from our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. It was electrifying to hear thousands repeatedly chanting, “Harper! Harper!”

Near the end we held one minute of silence for both Jewish AND Arab victims of Hamas.

The ICEJ Canada photo gallery for the event shows just how enormous and exciting the event was.

Afterwards, a large group of us walked north to the Israeli consulate for an impromptu rally. I had never before seen so many rally there, nor so many young people. It was pure excitement, pure joy, to see the support and energy, to see more Jews taking to the streets to defend truth and justice for their country. I remarked again and again to my friends, “The Jews are coming alive!”

Indeed.

Many thanks to Canadians for Israel and all those who helped by organizing, speaking and attending. I was honoured to have participated. Well done.

Media

  • Jewish Tribune (Toronto, Canada), July 29/14: Rally for Israel draws politicians, rabbis, 2,000 more

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    – Media Release –
    CANADIANS FOR ISRAEL,
    FREEDOM & DEMOCRACY RALLY
    July 25 2014
    For Immediate Release:
    (Toronto)
    An extraordinary thing is happening in Toronto! A group of concerned Canadian citizens of different religions, nationalities & politics called an emergency meeting Tuesday night coming together in unity to support Israel, freedom & democracy. Within one hour we had a plan for the Rally at Queen’s Park:
    Sunday, July 27th, at 2 p.m, Queen’s Park Circle, North Side.

    The rally is planned to occur 24 hours after Al Quds – an Iranian Islamist group calling for the death and destruction of Jews and the Jewish Homeland – is scheduled to speak at the same location. While the Al Quds Group are asking for blood and death, Canadians for Israel are coming together to pray for peace, truth and co-existence and hold a peaceful, positive rally.

    The amount that has been accomplished within three days is nothing short of astounding. Various factions, Muslims, Christians, Jews, secular and religious, have all come together as a volunteer power force and are organizing a dynamic rally expecting hundreds.

    Speakers at the rally include:
    – Mark Adler, MP for York Centre, Cons
    – John Carmichael, MP for Don Valley West, Cons
    – Monte Kwinter, MPP for York Centre, Lib
    – Tahir Gora, Canadian Thinkers Forum, Muslims Against Anti-Semitism
    – Donna Holbrook, International Christian Embassy
    – Rabbi Korobkin, Beth Avraham Yoseph Synagogue Thornhill
    – Jonathan HaLevi, Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs
    – Mark Vandermaas, Israel Truth Week
    – Vivienne Ziner, Tazpit News Agency

    Media contacts:
    Toby Trompeter Robert Walker xxx-xxx-xxxx, xxx-xxx-xxxx

    -30-
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    *all photos used with permission of owner(s) or under Creative Commons licence as noted.