Pro-Israel Rally Détente Strategy Succeeds With Nakba Day Protesters
A group of 25 supporters of the State of Israel took a novel approach to the observance of Nakba Day by Winnipeg residents who view the creation of Israel in 1948 as a "catastrophe" for Palestinians - engaging them directly with a plea for cooperation and peace.
Organized by Ron East, publisher of TheJ.ca, the Stand Up for Israel contingent, which included veterans of the Israeli Defence Force, couples, businessmen, and students, started at City Hall with a rally that drew over 50% response from motorists driving past, honking in support of Zionism and Israel.
East repeated key points about the circumstances of the creation of Israel as a Jewish homeland and the aggression faced from Antisemites, to the present day.
The Pro Israel contingent then proceeded to cross through Old Market Square with Israel flags aloft and surprised moviegoers leaving a pro-Palestinian documentary not only by having shown up across from Cinematheque on Bannatyne Avenue, but with messages of unity such as Yes To Peace, No To Terror. With the voice of East over a megaphone, the defenders of Israel urged the Palestinian supporters to take a unified stand for peace between Biblical brothers and sisters.
The movie, 1948: Creation & Catastrophe, was sponsored by a coalition of BDS supporters, made up of far-left Marxist agitators like Independent Jewish Voices, and the Canada Palestine Association.
A Nakba Day commemoration ceremony and protest march had been planned by the Anti Zionist supporters. The event was to start at Old Market Square and end up at City Hall, but it was abandoned as East and eventually the entire pro-Israel rally crossed the street, to engage in a dialogue with the protesters about Israel and Palestine.
This gesture of détente seemed to genuinely shock the Marxist sponsors and participants of the Nakba event, who thrive on demonizing Zionists as intransigent bigots.
Sensing they would be losing street credibility in the national Nakba movement, by being seen having a civilized discussion with Israelis and Jews, some agitators loudly insisted that a one state solution was the only alternative acceptable to them.
According to the official website of the Canadian government:
"Canada is committed to the goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, which can only be achieved through a two-state solution resulting from direct negotiations between the parties."
As the Anti Zionist, pro Palestinian faction persisted in ratcheting up the anti-Israel rhetoric, the pro-Israel crowd bid them adieu and returned to Old Market Square before moving back to City Hall for one last honkfest on Main Street.
The competing views of Middle Eastern conflict were markedly different than the scenes in other cities around the world on Nakba Day.
No signs or chants calling Israel an apartheid state, or advocating for boycotts of Israeli arts, academics or commerce, no cries of "Free Gaza", and no accusations of the IDF being 'baby-killers'.
Similarly, on the pro-Israel side, the emphasis was not on the loss of life suffered by Israelis and tourists of all faiths and ages at the hands of Hamas and their proxies, nor was it about infiltration tunnels, or Islamist clerics calling for death to Jews and infidels. The message today was about love, peace and unity. For those in Winnipeg who are concerned about Palestinian rights and who share a belief in the right of the state of Israel to secure and safe borders, today's Stand Up for Israel rally should be seen as an encouraging step.
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