Toronto protest: “Viva intifada”, “We’ll sacrifice our soul and blood for Palestine”

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Anti Israel protest in Toronto 23 June 2020

On June 26, 2020 around 150 people gathered in front of the Israeli Consulate in Toronto to protest the planned Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank in accordance to the the Deal of the Century, the American peace plan that was rejected by the Palestinians.

The protest was organized by the Palestine House (Palestinian Canadian Community Centre), Just Peace Advocates, Students Against Israeli Apartheid at York University and Courage with the help of Socialist Action Canada and it federal secretary Barry Weisleder. Members of Independent Jewish Voices Canada and IfNotNow Toronto participated in the protest. The list of speakers included Hammam Farah, board member of the Palestine House, Odette Dabit, board member of the Palestine House, Stephen Ellis, lawyer and activist with the BDS movement, Suzanne Weiss, member of Independent Jewish Voices, Julius Arscott, active member of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) and Miguel Figueroa, President of the Canadian Peace Congress, Anna Ainsworth, a trade unionist and social justice activist. James Clark of the Canadian Peace Alliance and Krisna Saravanamuttu, Tamil Canadian Law student and community organizer also attended the protest.

Organizations that support the protest:

  • Courage
  • CJPME – Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East
  • Independent Jewish Voices Canada
  • Canadian BDS Coalition
  • Socialist Action Canada
  • Students Against Israeli Apartheid at York University – SAIA York
  • Labour 4 Palestine
  • Faculty for Palestine
  • Just Peace Advocates/Mouvement Pour Une Paix Juste
  • The Socialist Project
  • IfNotNow Toronto
  • CUPE Ontario
  • Spring Magazine
  • Climate Justice Toronto
  • Canada Palestine Association
  • PAJU- Palestinian & Jewish Unity
  • Canadian Arab Federation – CAF
  • United South Asians at York (USAY)
  • The Canada Files
  • OCAP Toronto
  • Justice for Palestinians
  • Canadian Peace Congress
  • Jewish Liberation Theology Institute
  • Social Justice Event Collective
  • Christian Peacemaker Teams – Palestine
  • Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights – McMaster
  • UWaterloo Students For Palestinian Rights-UW SFPR
  • Academics for Palestine – Concordia
  • Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War
  • CANADIAN Boat to Gaza
  • People for Peace, London, Ontario
  • Niagara Movement for Justice in Palestine-Israel
  • Apoyamos Chile – Toronto Canada
  • Toronto Solidarity with Palestine
  • Oakville Palestine Rights Association
  • Canadians, Arabs and Jews for a Just Peace – Halifax
  • Winnepeg United Jewish Peoples Order
  • Subury Palestinian Working Group
  • Atlantic Canada Palestinian Society
  • Bernard-Becker Centre Foundation, Victoria BC
  • Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid – Victoria
  • Palestine Support Committee-Saint John
  • Imperial News
  • New Brunswick NDP Socialist Caucus

Hammam Farah led the crowd in chanting:

  • Viva Via Palestina
  • Viva Viva Palestina
  • Viva Viva intifada
  • Viva Viva intifada
  • Viva Via Palestina
  • Viva Via Palestina
  • Viva Viva intifada
  • Viva Viva intifada
  • […]
  • Viva Via Palestina
  • Viva Viva Palestina
  • Viva Viva Palestina
  • Viva Viva Palestina
  • Viva Viva intifada
  • Viva Viva intifada

In his speech Hammam farah said:

I’ve just said to be clear the intifada is an uprising by the Palestinian people against the Israeli military rule. They are uprising for freedom, justice and equality. It is an uprising that stands in solidarity with all oppressed people on the planet, because that’s is the truth. We are in solidarity with all those who suffer under the yoke of oppression. We’d like to give a shout out to the Black Lives matter movement. We give a shout out to indigenous rights activism, the indigenous struggle for lands, for equality, for freedom from white supremacy, from colonialism and ultimately from the capitalist system that enslaves us all and exploits us.

Odette Dabit, a board member of the Palestine House said:

The goal of the State of Israel is the ultimate annihilation of the Palestinian people.

Miguel Figueroa, President of the Canadian Peace Congress, said:

I want to make it very clear. The Peace Congress is not a pacifist peace organization. We recognize that peace, real peace, genuine peace, enduring peace cannot come unless it’s defined and based on justice and that the people have a right having exhausted all other avenues, have a right to resist occupation, have a right to resist repression, have a right to resist criminality by any means at their disposal. So I want to ensure you that Canadian Peace Congress stands unconditionally in support with the Palestinian people in this struggle. Viva Palestina. Viva Palestina.

Miguel Figueroa’s speech was immediately followed by Hammam Farah’s chants “Viva Via Palestina, Viva Viva intifada.”

The crowd also chanted (originally in Arabic):

“We will sacrifice (redeem) our soul and blood for Palestine”

Protesters waved Palestinian and red Socialist Action flags, no Canadian flags were present.

Hammam Farah on the violent nature of the Palestinian Intifada

On December 9, 2018 Hammam Farah posted on Facebook:

The first Palestinian intifada began on Dec 9, 1987, and lasted until 1993 with the signing of the doomed Oslo Accords… Palestinian youth barricaded their refugee camps as Israeli soldiers were met with stones, petrol bombs and burning tires… the second intifada was more violent than the first… (to read Farah’s post in its entirety click here).

Background on the Palestinian “Intifada”

The First Intifada (aka the Stone Intifada) started in December 1987 and included violent confrontations with Israeli forces, roadblocks, ambushes, throwing stones/ rocks/ metal rods/ Molotov cocktails at Israeli military and civilian vehicles, stabbing attacks, sabotage operations, setting fires to forests, agricultural and industrial facilities, shooting attacks.

The Second Intifada (aka al-Aqsa Intifada) which started in September 2000) included among other violent activities many hundreds of suicide bombing attacks, thousands of shooting attacks, launching rockets and mortar shells at Israeli communities, firing RPG rockets, planting explosives charges and mines.

The Third Intifada (aka the al-Quds Intifada or the Knife Intifada) started in autumn 2015. Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides the following data on the the ongoing wave of violence (13 September 2015 – 07 May 2017):

The recent series of attacks against Israelis is the direct result of incitement by radical Islamist and terrorist elements, calling on Palestinian youth to murder Jews. Twenty months of terror – to the present. In 2016, 12 vehicular ramming attacks and 100 stabbing attacks were thwarted by security forces. Since 13 September 2015, 49 people have been killed in terrorist attacks and 731 people (including 4 Palestinians) injured. There have been 177 stabbing attacks and 117 attempted stabbings; 144 shootings; 58 vehicular (ramming) attacks; and one vehicular (bus) bombing.

Palestinian sources provide the following statistical data on the Intifada:

Third Intifada (October – December 2015)
Shooting attacksStabbing attacksVehicular ramming attacksExplosive charges/ Molotiv cocktailsThrowing stones/ rocks/ objectsLaunching rockets from GazaLaunching rockets from Lebanon
7374 attacks and 44 attempts198482840229
Third Intifada (January – December 2016)
11950 attacks and 117 attempts1087122124424
Third Intifada (January – May 7, 2017)

Source see here, here, here, here, here, here and here.