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Israeli Canadian Council celebration rally draws hundreds as ceasefire declared

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As police watched the ceremony, hundreds of Zionists proudly flying the Blue and White sang Hatikvah on Doncaster in front of the Asper Jewish Community Campus. (Screencap: Leo Reznik video)

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It was exactly one year ago that a year-old online publication in Winnipeg extended its scope to provide true national coverage of Canada and in addition, some different views of what is going on internationally, through a Zionist and Jewish lens.

TheJ.ca is proud to stand as a voice for Zionists in Canada and the pro-Israel community. As publisher, I am amazed at the broad range of stories and perspectives we have attracted and developed. The variety and quality of contributors, from academics, professionals, journalists, and Jewish and Muslim writers from all over the world has drawn wide-ranging interest and support. At the end of this column, I will provide some links to a few of the most popular and impactful stories, including lifestyle, history, opinion, and news.

However the usual format of a first anniversary celebration column is set aside, so I can tell of the pride I have that this past Thursday, one year after our national launch in our headquarters city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, a car rally for Israel gathered at the exact same moments as the ceasefire took effect, and Israel’s skies stopped lighting up with terrorists rockets from Gaza. And it was one of the largest, most diverse, and most important outdoor gatherings of Jews and supporters of Israel in the history of this city.  

On Saturday, May 15th, the Israeli Canadian Council had arranged with the police to establish a presence across from the Legislature and hold a pro-Israel rally. A Nakba 73 car parade did not depart as scheduled but instead, those pro-Palestinian participants walked across the street to our location in a scene that was identical to that faced by Jews in New York, Los Angeles, Montreal and Toronto. An unprecedented situation was encountered by police of aggressive Hamas-echoing antisemites charging the separation zone, hurling bottles and rocks. I myself was punched before the chaos even began, as we reported here.

Most significantly, two Israeli flags were stolen and burned on the street, in full view of the provincial legislature. Our small gathering of perhaps 50 was standing against a line of a reported 400, with many more lining up down Broadway. For the Jewish people from Winnipeg amongst us it was a stunning experience. For the Israelis, our call to action to ensure the false Nakba narrative did not go unchallenged on Saturday proved what we had long suspected: the Jews of Winnipeg are no longer safe.

It also proved another suspicion: the self-proclaimed “organized Jewish community” is operating from the same playbook as Jewish leaders in Europe did in the 1930s. We all know how that turned out. 

The smoke had not even cleared when the “sentiments were expressed” that the Israeli residents of the city had to show no fear. This was made doubly important by the outrageous media coverage (Hello CBC) that with few exceptions, portrayed the encounter as “two sides clashed”. In reality, when one side is unarmed, standing where they were told by police, singing and holding signs having a party, and are charged by a hostile mob throwing things at you intent on harm, that is not a clash. Jews were charged on the street in broad daylight for being Jewish and supporting the Jewish state. That is an attack. On Jews. In Winnipeg.

The fact it was an antisemitic attack, with calls to rape our daughters, stab Jews in Tuxedo (a prominent Jewish suburb) and worse things said in Arabic, was not mentioned by any of the mainstream media. It was like this was the only place on earth where Jews were assaulted by pro-Palestinians but it was somehow free of antisemitism.

You know how in Toronto for example, both Mayor Tory and Premier Ford furiously denounced the attacks on Jews? By the time of our rally on Thursday, there was still not a word of concern or support from either Winnipeg Mayor Brian (“We are a human rights city”) Bowman, or Manitoba Premier Brian (“We’re all in this together”) Pallister.

And unlike in Montreal and Toronto, where Jewish leaders not only condemned the attacks and supported the victims, but encouraged further demonstrations of Jewish resilience and displays of pride in Israel, the “organized Jewish community” of Winnipeg threatened legal action to stop it. 

In case that confuses you – They weren’t trying to stop a Palestinian rally. They were trying to stop a pro-Israel car rally organized by ICC from mustering in front of their building, the most natural gathering place for Jews in Winnipeg. 

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The Winnipeg police, who let there be no question, saved Jewish lives last weekend, worked diligently as a go-between to establish some protocol for future gatherings and protests and to ratchet down the emotions. They assisted in developing the route and traffic control plans for May 20. They reached out to local Palestinian leadership to ensure the ICC rally scheduled to start in Tuxedo would be unimpeded. But who should try to impede the rally, but the JCC.

In a letter so poorly researched that it mistook an email handle for the organizing group, the “Jewish Community Campus of Winnipeg Inc.”  lawyer scolded, it is not prepared to permit the event to take place on JCC property. You know that no permission was sought or obtained from the JCC to hold the event there, or to use the name on your advertising.

… “we require that you take immediate steps”, I was lectured, to remove JCC from the advertising and “change the location for the event.” The demand for a change in advertising, although absurd (does the Museum for Human Rights ever demand groups not use their name as the location of anti-Israel protest events?) was easy to re-image as ‘across from the big building with the giant Israeli flag’.

But to really, really try to undermine the ICC organized Zionists wishing to show their support for Israel outside the Jewish community centre, the letter advised the JCC has engaged additional Garda Security officers to block off access to the parking lot and the property.

No Jews allowed, which was abolished by the town of Tuxedo in the 1950’s. The letter even warned “WPS constables will be available to the JCC… in case they are needed.”

Considering that over 25 officers were assigned to assist us, it’s hard to fathom why the JCC thought they’d need to call the cops on people like us. After all, they’ve never closed the parking lots or called the cops on the rabid anti Israel organization Independent Jewish Voices or the pro-terror lobby group protesters that picket their Folklorama pavilion harassing Jews every year which has been occurring for decades.

But god forbid Israelis and Winnipeg Jews show up with Israeli flags and sing Hatikvah on Doncaster Blvd. outside their facility, which not coincidentally, contains the offices of the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg. 

You can read the disgusting letter sent by the Asper JCC
lawyers below:

Zionists who are members of the Asper Jewish Community Centre in Winnipeg will be shocked to read that security guards were hired to prevent a pro-Israel rally from using the parking lots of a facility they helped build and fund.

As for our Jewish Federation, they continued their practice of ignoring the legitimacy of grassroots advocacy by Israelis in Winnipeg. That is because, as so many other Jewish communities have learned, Federations are not leaders of anything other than A) taking credit for the initiatives and accomplishments of others, B) giving each other awards, and C) shnooring money.

The JFW played the pious ‘oh we can’t endorse a rally on Shabbat’ card last weekend. So they did not promote the Saturday rally to the community and made sure to distance themselves from it to the media. That served to reduce the number of community members who might have learned of it and joined us. Reducing our numbers and leaving us vulnerable.

But they also did not assist attendance for the Thursday rally either. Since the rally did not conflict with Shabbat, it’s hard to understand why. 

Until you realize, they in fact will promote and participate in SOME rallies that fall on or near Shabbat. As long as they are put on by antisemites wielding fashionable woke rhetoric.

One of the reasons TheJ.ca was created was when the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg refused any assistance with a protest of the appearance of Linda Sarsour at the Ukrainian communist temple in April of 2019, a Friday night during Passover. Their logic was ‘oh we can’t, it will be dark before people could drive home, we aren’t allowed to endorse that.’ They were not willing to stand up for Zionists or Jews, and could not be relied upon to watch out for the safety of our community. Our online newspaper became a nexus of pro-Israel articles and activity.

Then, last June, the Black Lives Matter support unit in Winnipeg announced they were holding a ‘George Floyd’ march. It was set for a Friday evening.

Support a Jewish rally against Linda Sarsour on a Friday night in 2019? Forbidden.

Openly promote a BLM march on a Friday night in 2020? The Federation almost broke their necks doing backflips, and encouraged (some say ‘voluntold’) campus staff to take part. 

Here’s the Federation Facebook post endorsing the BLM march spouting platitudes like “silence is violence”, which seems not to count if the victims of violence are Jews in Winnipeg which they are supposedly responsible for protecting (through their murky sub-agency CIJA.)

When Black Lives Matter, “we cannot be complicit by being silent, we must be inspired to take action”. When Jews rally for the state of Israel and are attacked by BLM-aligned Palestinian bullies, the Jewish Federation stays away and stays silent. What conclusion should Israelis and Zionists arrive at? (Image: JFW)

The elephant in the room has been exposed, that Israelis are second class citizens to Federation executives not only in Winnipeg – but across the country. 

Federation refuses to stand with fellow Jews on a Shabbat while antisemitism is spewed on Winnipeg streets, yet falls all over itself to walk hand-in-hand with BDS-supporting BLM activists on a Friday night. 

BLM does not hide their demonization of Israel as an apartheid state and colonizing oppressor. Their Marxist agenda and blatant antisemitism doesn’t concern Winnipeg’s “organized Jewish community”; such considerations might interrupt their dreams of Tikkun Olam.

In that vein, as we prepared for the car rally, stories circulated that people employed at the JCC building were threatened with termination if they attended; we were told Federation influencers were making calls telling people the rally had been canceled because of the ceasefire agreement – WHICH WE WERE GATHERING TO CELEBRATE. 

Perhaps they believe that by stifling proud Jewish voices they’ll avoid the pogroms.

The self-proclaimed “leadership” of the Jewish community of Winnipeg couldn’t bring themselves to stand in public outside their offices and sing Hatikvah with 800 Zionists this week.

When Federation goes out of its way NOT TO denounce IJV or INN or anti-Zionists but chooses to denounce Israelis and Zionists, you understand where they want things to go. 

Despite their efforts to demean the grassroots and suppress community support, hundreds of cars and even more hundreds of Jews stood for Israel on 72 hours notice with NO FEAR.

Mothers, children, Russians, Sephardim, Mizrachim, Ashkenazim, seniors, IDF veterans, Christians, united by their love of Israel and refusal to be cowed by Islamist threats and mob violence.

When the Palestinian Association learned of the plan for Thursday they told their supporters: “This group is not part of the Jewish Federation”.  

“This group” who showed up outside Federation offices amounted to several hundreds of people, and we are only going in one direction- upwards.

The Winnipeg police recognize ICC as the representative of the Israeli community in Winnipeg and will continue to have a cooperative dialogue with us. They also read TheJ.ca and rely on our reporting to bring forward information about antisemitism in universities and on the streets that the rest of the media – including Jewish news outlets – ignore. 

This newspaper will, also, only go in one direction. TheJ.ca will continue to provide the news and articles that supporters of Israel and defenders of the Jewish people can rely on to stay true to our mission. 

As we continue our upward trajectory, allow me to present links to ten of our top-rated stories from the last 12 months. 

Fiery Exchange Between Seth Rogen And Gad Saad Ignites Both Sides Of The Political Aisle

The Matter Of Valentina Azarova And The University Of Toronto

Chanukah Candles Grinched By Manitoba COVID Health Order Enforcers

Round-up: “Burn Down Their Synagogues, Problem Solved” – Cops Called On Montreal Jew-Haters

Islamic Groups With Suspicious Activity Receive Federal Grants

A Letter From The Only Jew On An Island

Azerbaijan’s Mountain Jews A Model For Jewish-Muslim Coexistence

The Day I Was Told to Check My “Jew Privilege”

“Zionism Is The Reason I Exist”

A Pen Pal Letter: Jewish Life In Cleveland Through The Eyes Of A Twelve-Year-Old

Ron East is an educator, community leader and public speaker. He’s spent a decade teaching in the Jewish and public school systems and spent a significant amount of time in various leadership roles in the not-for-profit sector including Executive Director of Football Manitoba and the Manitoba chapter of CFHU. Ron has published numerous newsletters, award winning magazines and online publications and is currently the Publishing Director of TheJ.Ca.



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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

cOMING SOON…….

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