The Toronto al-Quds Day virtual rally was held on May 17, 2020. One of the speakers at the event was Paul Larudee, an Iranian-born American political activist who is a major figure in the pro-Palestinian movement. Based in the San Francisco Bay area, Paul Larudee is involved with the International Solidarity Movement and was a founder of the Free Gaza Movement and the Free Palestine Movement.
Here is Paul Larudee’s speech:
Dear friends, we are all friends of Palestine and Jerusalem Al-Quds, and we are all in solidarity with Palestinians including those who have been expelled from Palestine as well as those who have not yet been expelled from Palestine. But I have to ask you my friends: What is the value of our friendship? What is the point of being friends of Palestine if Palestine no longer exists? If Palestinians no longer live in Palestine and cannot return there. If Masjid Al-Aqsa [Al-Aqsa Mosque] and the Church of the Holy Sepulchredisappear from the face of the earth. What is the value of our friendship? I’m sorry to tell you that this is the future unless you and I and everyone who cares will take action, drastic action, to restore justice, to Al-Quds [Jerusalem], to Palestine and to all Palestinians. But how? What can we do? What can we do to return the stolen land to its rightful owners and to make Palestine Palestinian again? I suggest that we start to think in new directions. The thieves and the murderers who have been robbing Palestinians of their country will not stop until they are treated as pariahs throughout the world. Let us make Zionist citizens of so-called Israel unwelcome anywhere in the world. Let us refuse to buy their goods, to allow their ships to dock or their airplanes to land. Let us make pariahs of their supporters as well. Let us reject entertainers and athletes who accept invitations from racist Zionist organizations. We must treat them as we would treat any thieves and murderers. The point is that if we are serious about restoring justice to Palestine we must be the agents of that justice had to do whatever is necessary to make it happen. Anything less than that, no matter what we are doing or have done, is simply not enough because in the end we will fail and we must not fail.
On November 13, 2018 Paul Larudee tweeted:
I ♡ Hamas
On June 10, 2018 Paul Larudee tweeted:
Hamas is not a terrorist group. It is a resistance group, and an essential one.
On October 31, 2018Paul Larudee posted on Facebook:
Hamas is a national liberation movement. All of its acts are aimed at the liberation of Palestine. It’s time to remove them from the terrorism list. But of course, the terrorism designation is entirely arbitrary and intended for imperialist objectives.
In 2002 Canada designated Hamas at a terrorist entity. According to Public Safety Canada:
Hamas, the Arabic acronym for the group Harakat Al-Muqawama Al-Islamiya, is a radical Islamist-nationalist terrorist organization that emerged from the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1987. It uses political and violent means to pursue its goal of establishing an Islamic Palestinian state in Israel. Since 1990, Hamas has been responsible for several hundred terrorist attacks against both civilian and military targets. Hamas has been one of the primary groups involved in suicide bombings aimed at Israelis since the start of the Al-Aqsa intifada in September 2000. In 2006, Hamas participated in and won Palestinian parliamentary elections, leading to negotiations between the group and the Palestinian Authority over the establishment of a unity government. In 2007, however, Hamas overthrew the Palestinian Authority in the Gaza Strip and seized power of the coastal territory. Although the group’s political leadership resides in Damascus, Hamas uses the Gaza Strip as a base for terrorist operations aimed against Israel.