Toronto BDS activists cheer Lebanon rockets, praise 'deadliest' terror attacks in Israel

"Who is the biggest existential threat to the existence of Israel?" asked one of the speakers at a BDS rally in Toronto. "We are!" called back the protestors.

An anti-Israeli protest inspired by BDS (photo credit: REUTERS)
An anti-Israeli protest inspired by BDS
(photo credit: REUTERS)

Protesters praised the recent terrorism wave in Israel, cheered at the news of Lebanese rocket attacks, and denied the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount at a Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement rally in Toronto on Sunday, in addition to a wide range of other radical statements.

The rally, organized by GTA Palestine Movement, was live-streamed by Canadian Defenders For Human Rights (CD4HR) co-director Aliya Hasan.

Hasan said that thousands watched the protest from around the world, and the protest was large enough that Toronto Police said that demonstrators blocked intersections.

Cheering rocket attacks on Israel

"As we march right now, people in Lebanon have hit Israel with two rockets," an organizer told marchers in a segment of a livestream of the rally shared by Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center Policy Director Jaime Kirzner-Roberts.

On Sunday night, a rocket was launched from southern Lebanon and fell near Kibbutz Matzuva. When the news of the rocket strike was broken as the protesters walked in the direction of the Israeli consulate, the protesters cheered, and called out "Allahu Akbar."

"In Toronto, Palestinians cheer for rocket attacks on Israeli civilians," tweeted Canadian MP Melissa Lantsman. "This is not a protest. This is full-on antisemitism in our streets."

"To cheer for rocket attacks on a civilian population in Israel is appalling," said MP Anthony Housefather.

Praising the terrorism wave

The Toronto activists glorified terrorism and called for Intifada repeatedly throughout the rally.

"Israel has witnessed the deadliest attacks that it has seen in the last 15 years, all because the Palestinian freedom fighters have been putting their lives to fight for freedom," Hasan said, addressing the crowd. 

She was met with calls of "Allah akbar," and "takbir," the latter of which is often used as a cry of victory or joy.

"Israel is on edge, they have seen what the resistance is capable of," Hasan continued. 

Hasan explained that Palestinians have the right to resist according to international law "by any means necessary," a phrase that was the slogan of last week's New York City BDS protest that allegedly saw one Jewish man punched in the face for carrying an Israeli flag.

Organizers wore shirts emblazoned with "Intifada," and led the crowd in chants calling for the violent uprising, saying "There is only one solution, intifada, revolution" and "Long live the Intifada — Intifada, Intifada."

Destruction of Israel, expulsion of Israelis

Speakers and protesters indicated several times that the ultimate objective of Palestinian "resistance" was the dissolution of the Israeli state and the expulsion of Israelis.

"Who is the biggest existential threat to the existence of Israel?" Hasan asked the crowd.

"We are!" They called back. 

"And they know it! What we're doing is working!" said Hasan.

"Are we going to give up an inch of Palestine?" Hasan called to the crowd. They replied in unison: "No!"

"As long as the Zionist settler-colonial regime remains, Palestinian resistance will continue," Hasan promised. 

Hasan mocked the question about where Israelis would go if Israel were to be destroyed."

"Where are the settlers going to go when Palestine is liberated?" She posed. "To quote Muhammed el-Kurd,  Palestinian poet and activist from Sheikh Jarrah: 'I actually don't give a f**k.'"

"All Israelis are complicit in the crimes that are happening on Palestinian soil I have one thing to say to them: Settlers, go back home," said Hasan.

"Zionists are from America, and Canada, and Europe," Hasan said early in her speech. "They don't even have Semitic blood." 

Protesters chanted as they marched, calling for the end of the State of Israel: "Israel will fall," "Settlers, settlers go home, Palestine is our home," and "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free."

Temple Mount Tensions

The rally, which was part of a series of "All out for Palestine" protests across Canada, was organized in response to ongoing riots and clashes on the Temple Mount. 

"We are all here because we have all been witnessing the premeditated orchestrated attacks by the Israeli occupation forces on Palestinian worshippers that are simply trying to pray and enter al-Aqsa," said Hasan. "The Israeli occupation likes to escalate its attacks on the Palestinian people during the holiest time of year. But this year we noticed an escalation...The provocations are non-stop since the beginning of Ramadan."

Hasan repeated the rumors that had led to the Arab riots, that Jews were seeking to take over the site, worship, and sacrifice animals there. She referenced cash prizes offered to the person who managed to sacrifice a goat on the Temple Mount, which was offered in response to Palestinian rumors.

"They want to Judaize an Islamic holy site," said Hasan. "They want to limit Islamic worshippers so they can bring in Zionist worshippers."

Hasan explained to the crowd that Israelis wanted to destroy the al-Aqsa Mosque and were "maliciously scheming to change that status quo" because "they believe that there were two Jewish temples that used to stand there, and they want to build a third one."

"By the way," she added, "there's no actual historical evidence of there ever being temples there, this is just Zionist propaganda they use to justify their atrocities against the Palestinian people and their attempts to steal a Muslim holy site."

In an Instagram story posted by  GTA Palestine Movement, protesters called out "with our soul, with our blood, we will redeem al-Aqsa."

The holy site is revered by all three Abrahamic religions, the holiest site in Judaism due to being the former location of the Jewish Temples, and the third holiest site in Islam due to the presence of the al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock.

Made in Canada

While the protest was organized by GTA Palestine Movement, several other organizations attended and were involved in the advertisement of the event. Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) advertised the event as part of the All out for Palestine protests this week, as did Samidoun, an NGO designated as a terrorist organization affiliate by the Israeli government. 

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A post shared by CJPME (@cjpmeofficial)

"Last spring anti-Israel sentiment in Canada led to the worst upsurge in antisemitism I have seen in this country in my lifetime," wrote Housefather. "Everyone must denounce this type of incitement."

"Shame on our government for standing by and saying nothing about it," said Lantsman.