Suzanne Weiss: Al-Quds Day rally’s goal is “peaceful reconciliation”

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Hezbollah flags at Al-Quds Day rally in Toronto, 2013. Photo: JCPA.ORG

Suzanne Weiss is a long time pro Palestinian Jewish activist and a member of Independent Jewish Voices Canada. On January 31, 2019 she was a speaker at an event organized by IfNotNow Toronto and a few years ago at Al-Quds Day rally in Toronto.

On May 1, 2019 Suzanne Weiss posted on her Facebook page:

Today, I joined over a dozen Palestinian solidarity activists at Toronto City Hall in support of freedom of speech for Palestine, particularly the yearly Al Quds, pro Palestinian rally which is under attack. Here is what I said: My name is Suzanne Weiss. I am a Holocaust survivor. As a Jewish infant, I was marked down for death by the Nazis. All my life I have worked to prevent another Holocaust through pursuit of social justice and free speech.

I have attended rallies sponsored by the Muslim community on Al Quds Day. These events, in my experience, express support to Palestinians seeking equal rights within Israel and Palestine and the goal of peaceful reconciliation of Israeli and Palestinian peoples.

Al Quds gatherings stress support of the Jewish people against anti-Semitism. Their banners state “Judaism yes, Zionism no.” I have heard these words chanted by tens of thousands of participants.

They define Zionism as a movement to forcibly displace and dispossess the Palestinian people. Al Quds speakers protest the harsh and murderous actions of the Israeli government against the Palestinian people seeking equal rights.

As a lifelong campaigner against anti-Semitism, I am encouraged by the Al Quds efforts to explain the distinction between Judaism and Zionism and to overcome anti-Jewish and anti-Palestinian prejudices. Their efforts deserve constructive engagement, dialogue, and respect for their right to free speech.