Defense of Palestine Protest Marches Through Montreal

Growing Worldwide Movement Reaches City’s Downtown Streets

  • Shouts of “Down with Israel” resonated throughout downtown Montreal on Sunday, as an impassioned and diverse group of around 200 demonstrators advanced towards the Israeli consulate clutching large Palestinian flags. Photo Willie Wilson

  • Shouts of “Down with Israel” resonated throughout downtown Montreal on Sunday, as an impassioned and diverse group of around 200 demonstrators advanced towards the Israeli consulate clutching large Palestinian flags. Photo Willie Wilson

  • Shouts of “Down with Israel” resonated throughout downtown Montreal on Sunday, as an impassioned and diverse group of around 200 demonstrators advanced towards the Israeli consulate clutching large Palestinian flags. Photo Willie Wilson

Shouts of “Down with Israel” resonated throughout downtown Montreal on Sunday, as an impassioned and diverse group of around 200 demonstrators advanced towards the Israeli consulate clutching large Palestinian flags.

The Defense of Palestine protest was organized in response to the recent wave of violence that has erupted between Palestinians and Israelis, which has killed at least 30 Palestinians and seven Israelis.

The demo began at Guy-Concordia Metro, and the marching started along de Maisonneuve Blvd. to the Israeli consulate without police escort. Although, two CF-18 fighter jets at low altitude conducted two ear-piercing flybys celebrating the Alouettes game as the demonstration gathered, eliciting dark humoured comments as to their purpose amongst the demonstrators.

Among the demonstrators were about a dozen Hasidic Jews of Neturei Karta, an NGO run by Orthodox Jews dedicated to opposition to the state of Israel and its ongoing occupation of Palestinian land. Yisroel Dovid Weiss, a rabbi and associate director of Neturei Karta, attempted to distance Judaism from political Zionism during his speech.

“We are humiliated over what is being done in our name,” he shouted.

Following his address to the protest on the steps of the Israeli consulate, Weiss elaborated on his characterization of the continuing violence as symptomatic of the founding of the Israeli state,

“The relatively new history of Zionism is the cause of the hate; of the rift between us.” he told The Link. “Zionism has forced the world to say that I you oppose the occupation, you’re an anti-Semite. That is evil and repugnant.”

Many of the protesters drew parallels between the ongoing occupation of Palestinian land and Canada’s friendly foreign policy towards Israel. The latter has become one of the highlights of the federal Conservative’s campaign in Montreal, as they attempt to shore up the critical Jewish vote in a handful of local ridings.

For the demonstrators, Canada’s support for Israel on the international arena denotes Canada’s support for war crimes against Palestinian Arabs.

Sabine Friesinger, an organizer with Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Quebec agreed with the criticism against Canada.

“This approach of unconditional support for Israel without question,” she said. “Israel can do no harm, Israel can do no wrong—that attitude has to change.”

Despite the charged rhetoric against Israel, speakers at the demo insisted that non-violent grassroots tactics, such as the BDS movement and it’s recent “public education” poster campaign, were the most effective strategies in opposing the occupation.

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