Saturday, January 10, 2009

Rally for Israel

Last Thursday night, Debbie & I went to a "Rally for Israel" at the enormous Beth Tzedec Synagogue. Beth Tzedec is just a block away from our Synagogue. The rally was sponsored by a variety of local and national Jewish and non-Jewish (ok mostly Jewish) organizations and was part of a series of rallies held across Canada simultaneously.

A press article from the sympathetic, Jewish owned, National Post is linked below:

The rally was very well organized and technically slick. It started with a video similar to the one below, but with Canadian cities (couldn't find it on Youtube).

One highlight was a live video link with Bersheva in Southern Israel. It was 3:30 am their time. About 4000 people attended in sanctuary of the Synagogue (yes that big). And, included a key note address by Peter Kent, minister of State for the Federal government.

The purpose of the rally was to generate support among Jews and non-Jews for the Israeli position and people. None of the speaker took any solace in the violence of Gaza. They only spoke about it in terms of being necessary to provide long term security.

It was great to be part of a pro Israeli response in Toronto. There is plenty of negative press. For example, some newspapers chose to cover this event by focusing on the group of about 6 Jewish counter demonstrators across the street.

Also, there have been many anti-Israeli demonstrations. The most recent was today. Interestingly, they all occur in front of the non-descript office building that contains both the "Runners Shop" that I visit once/week for group runs and the Israeli consulate. We have come back from long runs to face giant protests. And, I thought running was healthy.

And, some of the Toronto Unions are almost militant. The University Professors union (CUPE) wants to ban Israeli scholars. Other unions want to divest investments.

I think most of the population is very supportive of the Israeli position but is beginning to become skeptical with all of the negative news in the press.

1 comment:

  1. RE: Academic boycotts of Israel, this is not an unheard of phenomenon. has some pretty good coverage about the issue since 2002. I find it pretty upsetting that professors are willing to sacrifice the notion of openness and dialogue and to deny themselves access to some terrific scholars in order to put forth their own political views.