Jonathan D. Halevi: Where’s CIJA?

Members of a coalition of pro-Palestinian organizations, among them Jews, held last week in Toronto a series of anti-Israel events and in support of Palestinian terrorists, to whom they refer as “political prisoners”. The main event was a demonstration outside the Israeli consulate, during which calls were made comparing Israel to the Nazis and which referred to the Palestinian prisoners, i.e. terrorists, as “our heroes.” Calls were made advocating for the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers and accusing the Zionists of taking over the Canadian government.

Across the street were dozens of pro-Israel demonstrators, who waved the flags of Canada and Israel and held up posters showing the “political activities” of Palestinian terrorists, as manifested in terrorist attacks they carried out. The most prominent group among these protesters was the Jewish Defense League, which initiated the counter-demonstration.

Representatives of the Shalom Toronto and The Jewish Tribune newspapers reported on the protests. Doris Epstein stood on the side of the pro-Israeli demonstrators, while I stood on the side of the pro-Palestinian protesters to closely document the messages coming from this side. Joanne Hill of The Jewish Tribune moved between the two sides as she was photographing, recording the voices and talking to protesters.

After the demonstration ended, the pro-Israeli activists stood on the corner of the street and summarized the event. The opinions were divided as to the desired methods of dealing with anti-Israel propaganda, which often amounts to messages of an anti-Semitic character. Asked whether the rally was attended by representatives of other Jewish organizations, including The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), the activists answered with a chuckle. They had no prior expectations about CIJA’s possible participation, so they did not feel disappointed.