The Toronto al-Quds Day virtual rally was held on May 17, 2020. The list of speakers at the event included:
Farman Ali – virtual rally host, UFCW Canada Local 175 Organizer.
Ken Stone – Executive Member, Syria Solidarity Movement; Treasurer, Hamilton Coalition To Stop The War; founding member of Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV Canada).
Tim Anderson – Australian academic and activist; former senior lecturer at the University of Sydney.
Rabbi Dovid Feldman – spokesman for Neturei Karta International and organizer of anti-Zionist events.
Suzanne Weiss – pro Palestinian Jewish activist and a member of Independent Jewish Voices Canada.
Sheikh Shafiq Hudda – director of the Islamic Humanitarian Service (IHS) in Kitchener, Ontario:
Bahman Azad – Iranian-American activist.
Sid Ryan – Canadian labour union leader and politician. Ryan is the former president of the Ontario Federation of Labour.
Paul Larudee – Iranian-born American political activist who is a major figure in the pro-Palestinian movement.
Al-Quds Day 2020 is another win for us. Last year [Ontario] Premier [Doug] Ford and [Toronto] Mayor [John] Tory tried unsuccessfully to ban the Toronto Al-Quds rally and rob us of our democratic right to express solidarity with the Palestinian people. This year despite COVID-19 the Toronto virtual rally is still going ahead and I’d like to congratulate the Al-Quds committee for its determination in holding this important annual event that takes place in the context of worldwide demonstrations. Two years ago on Al-Quds Day we were protesting [US President Donald] Trump’s moving of the US embassy to Jerusalem at which time a vote was held at the UN General Assembly in which 128 countries voted against the move and only 9 supported it. And how did Trudeau vote? The Trudeau government spinelessly and shamelessly abstained. One year ago Trump declared US support for Israel’s illegal annexation of the Golan Heights. Once again most countries of the world even including Canada expressed displeasure with this outrageous foreign seizure of the sovereign territory of Syria. But what did the Trudeau government do in this instance? It failed to remove the charitable status of the Jewish National Fund [JNF] which raises tax free donations in Canada to build Jewish only settlements in the Golan Heights. I say, shame on the Trudeau government for pandering to Israel and its sponsors in Canada. This year when Trump unveiled his Deal of the Century, [Canada’s] Global Affairs minister [François-Philippe] Champagne to his credit stocked to Canada’s position that “Just comprehensive and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians could only be achieved through direct negotiations.” However, when Trump recently gave the green light to Israel to annex parts of the West Bank, Champagne was silent. A few days ago the Green Party of Canada sent a letter to Trudeau, and I’ll read a bit of it and it says: “Trudeau should bring this matter with the utmost urgency to Canada’s international partners and to apply pressure on Israel to back down from this dangerous plan. If strong words by international leaders prove insufficient to convince Israel to abide by international law,” the Green Party letter goes on, “then tougher measures such as sanctions might be called for.” The Green Party of Canada deserves high praise for this statement which sets it apart from the other political parties in Canada. Presented with the Deal of the Century, for Palestinians resistance can be the only way forward. Of course the mere fact that the Palestinians continue to live on the land of historic Palestine [unintelligible] by hanging on with their very finger tips, it’s a form of resistance. But they do much more than that. They have the great March of Return, the Palestinian prisoners struggle, opposition to home demolitions in East Jerusalem, unauthorized demonstrations almost every day in the West Bank against the proposed annexation. These are just some examples of the Palestinian resistance that goes on and has been going on for 72 long years since the establishment of the State of Israel. And this resistance by the Palestinians as part of the historic resistance of the whole Arab nation from Iraq to Morocco against European colonialism, first the British and French and the Spanish and Italians and now the USA. Israel itself has an intimate understanding of the dangers posed by long term resistance to its expansionist plans. It was driven out of Lebanon after 18 long years of struggle by Hezbollah. In Syria which Israel has bombed over 1,000 times in the last decade, a regime change war, Israel is dismayed by the fact that the Syrian people and government are poised to win the war, to reassert Syria’s national sovereignty. Israel also knows that the majority of the countries of the world and the vast majority of the people on this planet support the Palestinian cause. And finally Israel knows that its claim to the land is bogus and that its days of ruling over the indigenous inhabitants, just as the Crusaders knew 1800 years ago, those days are numbered. So what can we do to support the Palestinian resistance like the Toronto Al-Quds Committee? We should never give up the struggle to support Palestine no matter what is thrown at us. We should insist that the Canadian government stand firmly against the Deal of the Century and the annexations in the West Bank. We should support the Green Party. We should demand the removal of the charitable status of the Jewish National Fund, endorse the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and support BDS [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions]. In short, we should do everything we can in Canada to help the Palestinians resist Israeli occupation and realize their dream of a Palestinian state in all of historic Palestine.