In only 75 years of its modern existence, Israel has made remarkable strides. Immediately after proclaiming its independence in 1948, it was invaded by its Arab neighbours who attempted to destroy the newly reborn country.
In subsequent years, Israel was able to achieve significant economic growth, significantly expand its population, and continue to defend itself against wars of aggression from its neighbours, as well as waves of terrorism committed by terrorist groups throughout the region.
Despite having overcome these challenges, Israel continues to be a target for activists attempting to delegitimize the Jewish State’s existence and inciting hatred and even violence against the country.
On May 14, Nakba Day was held in Vancouver, coinciding with Israel’s 75th anniversary. The term ‘nakba’ is Arabic for catastrophe, and is used by those who deny Israel’s very legitimacy.
According to a promotional statement by Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM), one of the event’s organizers, the rally recognizes “75 years of Zionist (sic) occupation in Palestine, the ongoing catastrophe that has seen the expansion of colonial settlements and military occupation across our lands, and the consequent displacement, forced exile, and mass murder of our people at the hands of the illegitimate zionist (sic) state.”
This rambling statement is long on rhetoric, but short on facts. Israel’s rebirth in 75 was not an illegal occupation, but an internationally-recognized continuation of the Jewish People’s three thousand years of ongoing presence in their historical and ancestral homeland. Israel does not build “colonial settlements,” given that Israel possesses legal title to Judea & Samaria (often called the “West Bank” by the news media). And the claim that Israel has committed “mass murder” of Palestinians is without any evidence whatsoever; in fact, the population growth of Palestinians has been nothing short of remarkable, hardly a sign of mass murder.
And while Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantee the right of any Canadian to voice an opinion, no matter how unfounded or baseless it is, Vancouver’s Nakba Day goes far beyond legitimate speech and acceptable discourse.
One of the demonstration’s key organizers, Samidoun, is an anti-Israel organization with extensive ties to Palestinian terrorism. Samidoun was created 11 years ago by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a banned terrorist organization in Canada.
At the demonstration, Khaled Barakat, a coordinator with Samidoun, told attendees in no uncertain terms that violence against Israel was entirely justified: “We must resist by all means necessary to keep our cause alive and to liberate Palestine, and for that Palestinians are carrying guns today and an armed struggle is in the forefront of our struggle as we will not abandon our just cause and our people, we will not abandon our resistance,” Barakat said.
But Barakat’s incitement to violence, as dangerous as it is, is not only targeted at achieving particular ends; it is aimed at destroying Israel in its entirety, as he made clear in his remarks to those in attendance.
“Drop this illusion. There is no two-state solution. There is only one Palestine, one liberated Palestine.”
“A settler from New York and Berlin and London comes to our land in Palestine and wear a military fatigues and carry an M-16 and shoots students as they are going to their schools, that settler, I don’t care where he from, Vancouver or New York, is a legitimate target of our resistance… The only way we can deter Israelis and the Israel system is by obtaining power, resistance, missiles, rockets. That’s what works with imperialism and Zionism. Nothing else works.”
“What Canada do[es]? They list our Palestinian resistance on the so-called terrorist list. So, today in Canada, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation f Palestine [PFLP], Hezbollah, all of our resistance groups are on the so-call terrorist list. We need to scrap this terrorist list. We need to tell the Canadian government, we need to tell the Canadian security agencies, the only reason that Palestinians don’t practice violence in this country is not because we are scared. Fuck them. We are not scared of them. But because our enemy is Israel, and we don’t want to have another enemy. We want to fight the occupiers. We want to confront the colonizers. We want to win that war against Israel’s occupation and bring that racist apartheid system down…”
“We are launching a campaign to erase that shame list, and to say to the Canadian government: You can issue any law you want, we are going to support our resistance no matter what Trudeau says. We don’t care about your laws. We don’t care about the laws you issue against our resistance. We are going to continue our support for not just the Palestinian resistance, but the Lebanese resistance as well.”
Watch excerpts from Khaled Barakat’s speech and videos from the Vancouver ‘Nabka Day’ rally below.
As with the Nakba Day rally in Toronto, demonstrators at the Vancouver event were equal participants in the propagation of hatred incitement against Israel.
In one chant, attendees repeated the phrase “Long live the Intifada. Long live the armed resistance.”
The intifada refers to two Palestinian campaigns of terrorism against Israel, most recently between 2000 and 2005, when one thousand Israelis were massacred by Palestinian terrorists. These Israeli civilians were murdered in restaurants, bus stops, shopping malls and discotheques, and were targeted only because they were Israeli.
It is unconscionable that a crowd in a Canadian city could chant praise for a violent campaign of murderous violence against Israel, and fear apparently no repercussions as a result.
The Canadian news media has a duty and a special responsibility to shine a light on hateful events like Vancouver’s Nakba Day, not because it is necessarily reflective of a large proportion of Canadians, but because of its overt and fearless promotion and glorification of violence, and the danger that it poses to the public safety of all Canadians, especially Jews in Canada and to Israelis in the Jewish state.