Friday, July 5, 2024

“Every day, here in Canada, extemists try to incite violence” by Brian Henry


MP Julie Dzerowicz's office defaced. It's not only Jews being threatened

I’m worried. Not for myself. I believe my odds of being hit in a terrorist attack here in Canada are still low, as of yet not much worse than the odds of being struck by lightning. But the odds of some Hamas wannabe randomly murdering someone res every day.

We know terrorist groups are active in Canada. They don’t even make a secret of it. The Samidoun Prisoners Solidarity Network organizes many of the anti-Israel–pro-Hamas protests across Canada (and the U.S., too).

Israel identifies Samidoun as the international recruiter and propaganda arm for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine [PFLP], a group that Canada and the rest of the world identifies as a terrorist group because of the way they like to murder people (here).

Like Israel, Germany banned Samidoun and also its youth arm called HIRAK – Palestinian Youth Mobilization, which seems to have been the German equivalent of the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM) active in Canada and the US (here). Germany also banned Khaled Barakat who appears to be a leader of Samidoun.

According to Israel, Barakat is a senior figure in the PFLP terrorist group.

Anti-Israel protestors often carry
the green Hamas flag 

Barakat has lived in British Columbia since 2004. He and his wife, Charlotte Kates, also a Vancouverite and the International Coordinator of Samidoun, frequently speak at anti-Israel protests, and openly endorse Hamas’s terrorism. 

At a rally at the Vancouver Art Gallery in April, Kates said: “We stand with the Palestinian resistance and their heroic and brave action on October 7. Long live October 7!” (More on Samidoun here.)

This speech finally got Kates arrested for hate speech (see here), but she’s been saying much the same ever since Hamas’s mass murder, mass rapes, and mass kidnappings of October 7.

In May, Barakat repeated his wife’s support for the October 7 atrocities and called for an intifada: “Supporting October 7 means being part of this international intifada. ... When you say with a loud and clear voice, ‘Long live October 7,’ you will understand that this great Palestinian people decided to end their miseries and end this nightmare called Israel” (here).

A month later, we’re still waiting for the police to charge Barakat, but then, we’ve been waiting for Canadian authorities to do something about him for years, as noted in this piece by Terry Glavin from 2022 here.

The Palestinian Youth Movement [PYM] also organizes many of the anti-Israelpro-Hamas protests. As noted above, the PYM seems to be Samidoun’s youth arm. It’s also active in high schools and seems to be dedicated to recruiting young people into the pro-terrorism orbit (here).

PYM also makes it clear that they stand with “our heroic resistance in Gaza” (more here).

Students for Justice in Palestine is another group organizing anti-Israelpro-terrorism protests; on university campuses across North America, they’re the biggest organizer.  A lawsuit launched in the US follows the money of who’s bankrolling this group and helping them organize and says SJP has a direct line to Hamas.

Like the rest of these “pro-Palestinian” groups (as the media likes to call them), SJP openly endorses Hamas’s terrorism, calling October 7, “a historic win for Palestinian resistance” (more here).

Other groups organizing anti-Israel protests have no known ties to terror groups but still endorse terrorism. At McGill University, for example, Students in Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights [SPHR], describes Hamas’s October 7 atrocities as “heroic” (here). SPHR apparently believes that human rights include getting to murder, rape, and kidnap people, at least for Palestinians.

This summer, the SPHR is offering a summer camp at the site of their on-going anti-Israel encampment at McGill to educate the youth of Montreal in revolution. And to think, before this, you had to go all the way to Gaza to attend a terrorism summer camp.

Summer camp in Gaza, 2008

Read more on SPHR McGill here. Read more on the terrorism camps Hamas has been running for children in a piece I wrote for the Jewish Tribune 16 years ago here. Doubtless many of the kids Hamas taught to hate through summer camps, children’s TV and the United Nations schools in Gaza, grew up to join Hamas brigades. Indeed, that was the point; ever since it took over Gaza, Hamas has been bringing up children to be martyrs in its war against the Jews.

Summer camp at McGill, 2024 

Like the McGill encampment, the anti-Israel campers occupying Kings College Circle at the University of Toronto also endorse terrorism, with everyone entering the encampment required to affirm they support a “Palestinian right to resistance” (here). “Resistance” – that’s what Hamas calls murder, rape, and kidnapping.

Signs at the U of T encampment also proclaim “Glory to All Martyrs” and “This is the intifada” (here).

The (second) intifada was the Palestinian terror war against Israel that started in 2000 and which Israel finally defeated in 2005. It’s signature feature was Palestinian suicide bombers blowing up as many innocent civilians as possible.

Anti-Israel demonstrators call for intifada, not just in Israel, but also in Canada, and not just at the U of T encampment, but at all their demonstrations. 

They called for intifada while protesting at Mount Sinai hospital (here).

Hamilton MPP Sarah Jama yelled out, “Globalize the intifada” when she spoke to the anti-                Israel encampment at McMaster University (here).”

The NDP had the decency to kick Jama out of its caucus in October (here), but many in the NDP still love her. Indeed, at the anti-Israel rally at McMaster where she called for intifada. Mathew Green, the federal NDP MP for Hamilton Centre, shared the stage with her.

Green and Jama also both spoke in Toronto at an anti-Israel rally in Nov 2023 organized by Toronto4Palestine – yet another “pro-Palestinian” group that openly celebrates Hamas’s atrocities of October 7 (see here).

In March, I heard anti-Israel protesters calling for intifada for myself at the protest outside the BAYT synagogue in Toronto (here).

I’m not the only one who’s worried. CSIS has warned the government that “violent rhetoric” from extremists could prompt violence in Canada (here). But already, the extremists have already gone way past “violent rhetoric.”

Toronto police report that six months into 2024, hate crimes are up 55% from last year, and while Jews make up about 6% of Toronto’s population, we’re the targets of 45% of the hate crimes (here).

Most incidents don’t amount to much. For example, someone scribbled a red triangle on a sign advertising the annual Walk with Israel out front of a synagogue I walk by twice a day. I had to research what that was all about. Turns out Hamas uses the red triangle on photos of people they want to kill. Its popularity has spread so the red triangle is now the global intifada’s version of the swastika – different cultural source, but same meaning: Kill the Jews.

"Walk with Israel" sign outside synagogue on Sheppard Ave W in Toronto defaced with red triangle
The familiarity kind of comforted me, in a “more things change, the more they stay the same” kind of way. The synagogue took down the Walk with Israel sign, but was that bit of defacement ever reported to the police? I doubt it.

Also in the neighbourhood, up the street from my climbing gym and down the street from a kosher shawarma place I’m partial to, a Jewish elementary school for girls got shot up. No one was hurt because it was after hours. Also, the school has a high security fence and the windows are armoured glass. Why? Because the Jewish community has learned to expect this sort of thing.

Video frame of men shooting at Jewish elementary girls' school in Toronto

Three Jewish schools in Montreal have also been shot at, one of them twice, plus the haters have made arson attacks on Jewish schools, synagogues, community centres and stores; they’ve physically assaulted people, smashed windows, and Jewish kids are bullied at school and harassed at university. (See a few of the more well-known incidents here.)

And so far, we’ve been lucky.

But every day that protesters incite hatred against Israel and against Jews, the danger level rises. And every day, I worry a little more that some deranged individual will decide to do his part for the global intifada, and rather than shoot at a Jewish school, he’s going to shoot at some Jews.

Does the media do enough to expose the hatred? A few outlets deserve praise, the National Post, for starters. But for the most part, the media spreads incitement more than tamping it down.

Do politicians do enough? A few deserve praise, Melissa Lantsman, MP for Thornhill, for starters. But other politicians actively add to the incitement while most say nothing until someone actually shoots at a Jewish school – and even after that, they do nothing.

Canada has zero influence over what happens in the Middle East. But our government does bear responsibility for what happens here. It bears responsibility for what’s happened in the streets to date and it will bear responsibility if things get worse or, God forbid, much worse.

This piece was originally published on the Canadian Zionist Forum.

Read more of my essays here (and scroll down).

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