2012 Israel Truth Week Conference update

The Jewish People's Rights to the Land of Israel, by Salomon Benzimra, 2011“Dear Mark, your event was a great success in all regards, and I sincerely congratulate you for it. I wanted to tell you how pleased I was to attend the premiere of Israel Truth Week which you organized so efficiently. The venue was superb, the speakers were great and the topics couldn’t have been better selected. I am still scratching my head to find some – any – criticism…but in vain! 😉 Also to be highly commended are Rev. Joe Campbell, Andrew Lawton and Mary Lou Ambrogio.”

Salomon Benzimra, P.Eng.
Canadians for Israel’s Legal Rights – CILR
Author of The Jewish People’s Rights to the Land of Israel

Compliments are still coming in about the first-ever Israel Truth Week Conference held in London Ontario, Canada this past Wednesday (March 21/12), and plans are already underway with Rabbi Hausman – our inspiring keynote speaker for the evening session – to make next year even better. You can see the rabbi here here in one of David Strutt’s stunning photos that captures the essence of this remarkable man:

120321 Rabbi Jonathan Hausman, 2012 Israel Truth Week Conference, London, Ontario, Canada 

Event photos will be posted all at once on the 2012 Conference feature page when they are all available. Some have been delivered, but more are coming. Videos will also be posted there as well as they become available over the coming weeks. 

The conference more than met my expectations for attendance with approximately 65 people present from as far away as Toronto, Hamilton, Chatham, and outlying areas in the London area. This number included the 15 JDL security people who came to listen as well as to provide security. One volunteer reports being told by a Jewish community leader that the calibre of speakers far and away exceeded their expectations.

As I said in my remarks, if just one person attended and came away with just one fact they could use to help just one person understand the Arab-Israel conflict just a little bit better, then the entire effort was worth it. As Rabbi Hausman told me afterwards, even if no one had attended, the fact that it took place at all was a victory.

The Royal View Church venue was perfect in every way, with two screens for the videos and Powerpoint presentations as well as a state of the art AV system that allowed our videographers to tap directly into the sound system to for near-perfect sound recording of the presentations.

1. Thank you!

As the founder of Israel Truth Week, and organizer of the 2012 conference I would like to thank all the sponsors, contributors, volunteers, and Royal View Church staff who worked so hard to help me make the 2012 ITW conference a success. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. In the coming days I am hoping to posting acknowledgements online for those who were in the public eye, while making personal contact with those who weren’t. Bear with me please until I catch up to my obligations in this respect.

I would also like to thank everyone who attended, especially the Jewish contingent, a number of which made a point to tell me how much they appreciated the event. 

2. Thank you for your donations to the Royal View Church roof fund! 

Thank you also to everyone who donated to this year’s fundraising project – $10K for roof repairs to our host venue, Royal View Church. We won’t know how much was raised in total until we account for the online donations made prior to the event with Royal View’s accounting department.  An announcement will be made when we know the exact amount.

It’s not too late to make a donation to help this great friend of Israel fix its leaky roof, and it’s easy to do:  visit www.RoyalView.org and click on ‘DONATE’ in the upper right corner. BE SURE to put ‘Roof Fund’ in the memo section otherwise we can’t track your donation back to Israel Truth Week. Thank you.

3. Media coverage

Many thanks to the journalists from the Jewish community for their coverage:

4. Yad Vashem bus trip to Ottawa for Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony, April 23rd

As announced at the Israel Truth Week Conference the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem is willing to pay for a bus to take passengers from London & Hamilton to Ottawa for the Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony on April 23rd provided we can get 50 people to commit. 

All details and instructions for registering, as well as updates are now available here:

5. REMINDER: JDL protest at Israel Consulate, 180 Bloor Street West, Toronto, Friday, March 30th, 3-7pm

As announced by Jewish Defence League leader Meir Weinstein at the conference, the JDL is organizing a protest this coming Friday, March 30th at the Israel Consulate to counter the Hamas-inspired ‘Global March to Jerusalem’:

“The city that was liberated and unified following Israel’s victory in the 1967 Middle East war is now the site, say the march organizers, of “ethnic cleansing” against Palestinians and “Judaization (sic) policies.” And so, on March 30, they plan to have 1 million marchers gathering on Israel’s land borders, with the aim of converging upon Jerusalem. They are also calling for protests at all Israel Embassies and Consulates.”

110515 Pesach Ovadyah & Mark Vandermaas, Nakba Day protest, Israel Consulate, TorontoI will be there with CANACE co-founder Gary McHale (our afternoon keynote) and his wife Christine, standing in defence of Israel with my UN blue beret & flag, along with another former Mid-East peacekeeper, Merlyn Kinrade, a 77 year old naval veteran, a stalwart ally in our Caledonia work to end racial policing. Other supporters from Caledonia and London are also planning to attend. NOTE: Gary McHale will be appearing on SUN News Network that evening to talk about the Supreme Court’s decision to force judges to give even lighter sentences to habitual native offenders.

The picture above, right, is of me standing in front of the Israeli Consulate with Pesach Ovadyah (speaker in the afternoon session) on May 15/11 where I met him for the first time.

While on the topic of the Jewish Defence League, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Meir Weinstein’s people did an exceptionally professional job in providing security services for the Israel Truth Week Conference. About 15 JDL volunteers came all the way from Toronto to stand watch for us in London even though I made it clear beforehand that I would not be able to pay for their gas, or even provide a meal for them.  Thank you, gentlemen, it was a pleasure having you with us. Fortunately, there were no attempts to disrupt the conference.  Thanks also to Rochelle at the JDL for doing her best to promote Israel Truth Week within the Jewish community in Toronto.

6. Book: The Jewish People’s Rights to the Land of Israel   

One of the attendees at the Israel Truth Week Conference was Salomon Benzimra, author of the comprehensive reference work, ‘The Jewish People’s Rights to the Land of Israel‘ published by Canadians for Israel’s Legal Rights (CILR) in 2011. 

A new page called ‘Israel Truth Books has been created in the ‘Apartheid – Israel?‘ resource section where you will find links to the Amazon.com listing for Mr. Benzimra’s book and its publisher, Canadians for Israel’s Legal Rights (CILR).  Only $9.99 for the ebook (paper verson not yet available) which contains over 170 links to supporting documents and references documenting Israel’s land claims. I purchased my own copy, and it is, indeed, a great reference on this important topic. 

7. What’s ahead in the coming days and weeks…

a. I’ll be posting details and photos plus my speech notes from the great Never Again Group anti-IAW event held at McMaster University on March 20th that featured Rabbi Hausman, Dr. Peter Marshall, filmaker Ben Feferman and myself.

b. PHOTOS: I will be posting photos from our official photographer David Strutt. He’s already sent several batches and, as you can see from the sample above, they are simply stunning. Once I have all of them, I’ll post them all at one time.

c. VIDEO OF PRESENTATIONS: An Israel Truth Week Youtube channel has been created (www.youtube.com/israeltruthweek), and Robert Vaughan of JustRightMedia.org will be starting the lengthy process of editing and uploading the videos shortly. 

I visited Robert yesterday to discuss the project, and saw some of the raw footage.  The picture and audio quality is exceptional. Each video will take 3-4 days to produce, so it will take about a month to get them all up. They will be  released in the order of appearance at the conference. I will send out notices to the ITW mailing list as each becomes available over the coming weeks. If you’re not on it, drop me a line at mark@israeltruthweek.org.

While you’re waiting, take some time to listen to some of the great interviews available at the Just Right website, including several of mine; one of them is about my 2011 Blue Beret vigil against the Canadian Boat to Gaza:

Mark Vandermaas, Founder
Israel Truth Week