In keeping with its tradition of hosting the largest Quds Day rally in North America, Toronto once again maintained this position on June 9. Men, women (young and old) and children from all walks of life and all religions joined this annual event that was held in 800 cities across the world. As is customary, there were Muslim, Christian and Jewish speakers. A large contingent of rabbis from the group, Netura Kartai was also present. The rabbis did not speak because it was Sabbath but a statement was read out on their behalf.
Toronto, June 13, 2018 – On behalf of the thousands of peaceful, conscientious Canadians who participated on June 9 in the Al Quds Day rally in Toronto, the Al Quds Toronto Committee categorically rejects the accusations levelled against the rally’s organizers and participants by pro-apartheid lobby group, B’nai Brith Canada.
B’nai Brith Canada has issued false and inflammatory accusations against the rally’s organizers and participants. Ontario’s Premier-elect, Doug Ford, has faithfully repeated those falsehoods, apparently without conducting any investigation into their truth or falsehood. On June 7, 2018, the organizers of the rally issued a statement of principles which reiterated our opposition to all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism, and our commitment to the peaceful resolution of conflicts. We repeated these principles at the outset of the rally. Our speakers also stressed the importance of these principles. B’nai Brith has studiously ignored our unqualified commitment to anti-racism and non-violence.
Our rally included citizens of diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds, including our brothers and sisters in the Jewish community. B’nai Brith has studiously ignored the participation of our Jewish brothers and sisters in the rally.
Above all, B’nai Brith has ignored Israel’s egregious violations of Palestinian human rights, all of which have been documented by mainstream human rights organizations like Amnesty International, U.S.-based Human Rights Watch and Israel-based B’Tselem:
- The torture of Palestinian children by Israeli police and military forces;
- The Israeli military’s shooting of thousands of unarmed civilians in Gaza during the recent Great March of Return. The IDF’s victims included Canadian doctor Tarek Loubani, 21-year old nurse Razan Al-Najjar, who was shot in the back by an Israeli sniper as she attempted to assist an unarmed civilian, journalists and disabled persons;
- Israel’s illegal annexation of East Jerusalem;
- Israel’s illegal settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territories, which constitute a war crime; and
- Israel’s collective punishment of innocent Palestinians, including the 1 million Palestinian children living in Gaza, which has been rendered unlivable, according to the United Nations, due to Israel’s inhuman and illegal blockade of Gaza.
As documented recently by international legal scholar Richard Falk, who is Jewish-American, the evidence that Israel has imposed an apartheid regime on Palestinians is “overwhelming”. Apartheid is a crime against humanity and is surpassed in gravity only by the crime of genocide.
B’nai Brith has focused its attacks on a speech delivered at the rally by Sheikh Shafiq Huda of the Islamic Humanitarian Service in Kitchener, Ontario. In smearing him, B’nai Brith refuses to acknowledge the distinction between Israel’s citizens (20 per cent of whom are Palestinian) and the Israeli government’s system of subjugating and humiliating Palestinians. It is that regime which Sheikh Shafiq Shuda urged Canadians to oppose and eradicate. The claim that he called for the eradication of Israel’s citizens is baseless and false.
B’nai Brith equates demanding an end to the regime that commits these atrocities with demanding the eradication of Israeli citizens. B’nai Brith’s equation is unconscionable.
Additionally, we are deeply troubled by the Premier-elect’s blind reliance on a source that has been completely discredited. B’nai Brith Canada has proven itself to be a relentless fabricator of fake news. Only days before the Al Quds rally, B’Nai Brith claimed that a photograph calling for the destruction of Israel had been taken at the Toronto Al Quds rally in 2016. In fact, the photograph was taken at a rally in the United Kingdom in 2011. When this fact was revealed, B’nai Brith deleted its tweets of the photograph without apologizing for its false claim. Similarly, and as reported by the Toronto Star in 2017, B’nai Birth recently used a doctored and mistranslated video to smear Toronto Imam Ayman Elkasrawy. And in 2013, B’nai Brith retracted its false accusation that Liberal candidate Lesley Hughes is antisemitic after Ms. Hughes sued B’nai Brith for libel.
Not only has Premier-elect Ford relied on a discredited source to attack the Al Quds rally organizers and participants, but he has unambiguously threatened to ensure that Al Quds is “no longer part of landscape in Ontario.”
During the election campaign, Doug Ford stated that he wanted to use government funding to promote free speech on university campuses. Apparently, free speech matters to Mr. Ford only when he agrees with the speaker.
We assure Mr. Ford that the Al Quds committee will vigorously defend our supporters’ free speech rights and their right of free assembly in the courts of Ontario, not only for the benefit of the long-suffering Palestinian people, but for the benefit of all Canadians.
Counsel to the Al Quds Toronto Committee
Phone: (514) 941-5991
Commentary: Zionists spread lies about Toronto Quds Day rally
Each year, Toronto organizes the largest Quds Day rally in North America. Peace activists, Jewish groups including rabbis as well as Church groups in addition to Muslims participate in the rally.
What the Quds Day rally does is draw attention to the illegal Zionist occupation of Masjid al Aqsa and Palestine.
When Muslims point to Zionist crimes against innocent Palestinians as happened in Gaza in recent weeks, the Zionists immediately brand that as “hate speech”.
The Zionists operate at several levels. At the political level, Zionist groups such as Bnai Brith and Friends of Simon Weisenthal blackmail politicians to deny public space for the rally. This is blatant discrimination.
Then there are the Zionist shock troopers led by such groups as the Jewish Defence [Offence] League (JDL). This is made up of thugs that also recruit biker gangs as well as rightwing anti-Muslim extremists.
The JDL is banned in the US as a terrorist group yet it operates freely in the US. Last year, a JDL member from Toronto was charged with assaulting a Palestinian professor in Washington DC as he went to participate in a rally against AIPAC.
JDL thugs have also been involved in attacking Muslims in Toronto. A Muslim sister and a brother were assaulted in 2013 as they were left behind from the main rally.
The Zionist thugs wanted to attack the sister but the brother rushed to her defence and suffered serious injuries when three thugs assaulted him.
Fortunately, another person had filmed it on his cell phone camera and the police were able to charge three persons with assault.
At the political level, the Zionists blackmail politicians to refuse permission to use the grounds of Queen’s Park for the start of the rally.
When there are groups that spread hatred against Muslims, this is presented as defence of ‘free speech’ and accorded public space.
When Muslims and their Christian and Jewish friends want to hold the Quds Day rally, then it is branded as hate speech and space is denied.
Last year, the Zionists even tried to pressure Toronto City Council to block the Quds Day rally from being held. While unsuccessful, it shows the depths to which the Zionists can sink.
One councilor in particular, James Pasternak has been in the forefront of spreading hatred against Muslims and the Quds Day rally. He has used extremely hateful language against rally organizers without the City mayor or any other official taking notice of such hate speech.
The Quds Day rally has never advocated hatred of or violence against any group. Instead, it has called for peace based on justice in Palestine.
Also, while the Zionist thugs and their biker gang allies have used intimidating tactics against Quds Day rally participants, the latter have not responded to such provocations.
The Quds Day rally has consistently maintained that Zionist Israel is illegally occupying Al Quds (Jerusalem) and Palestine (the Holy Land) and that these must be restored to the original inhabitants, the Palestinians.
Jews are welcome to stay in Palestine but only as equal citizens under the law. They have no right to create an apartheid State in Occupied Palestine where Palestinians are brutalized and terrorists as happened recently in Gaza.
In the Gaza Strip, the Zionists murdered more than 150 Palestinians including children, paramedics and journalists and wounded more than 12,000 others.
Gaza is under a tight siege where food, medicines and spare parts are not allowed in.
Nearly 80 percent of Gaza’s population is food deficient; 90 percent of its water is contaminated and lack of medicines including anesthesia often results in doctors operating on patients without it.
When the Quds Day rally draws attention to such Zionist crimes, the Zionists complain this is hate speech.
Stop killing innocent people and stop behaving as if you are superior to other human beings.
Mass murder is mass murder; there is no other way to describe it.
The day is not far when Palestine will be free from the clutches of the Zionists.