- Doris Strub Epstein, Israel Activist Alliance, Aug 6/14: Israel Advocacy Group Steals The Show From London Pro Hamas Propagandists
- (see also) Israel Truth Week, Aug 5/14: VIDEO: Victory at London Ribfest! Thank you.
Yesterday (Sat, July 26/14), at an Israel Truth Week-organized vigil, nine Christians and four Jews faced off with 300 Hamas supporters in London, Ontario while police refused to separate us and then abandoned us to be intimidated and bullied. The slideshow below tells the story, from the arrival of the first few pro-Hamas’rs to the virtual takeover of our location on a traffic island to the end when police arrive after the danger is over and the discovery that my car had been keyed.
The pro-Hamas side had a rally planned for 5pm at the northwest corner of Victoria Park at Richmond Street. We took up position across the street on a traffic island. Our goal was to protest Hamas’ sole responsibility for the deaths of Arab and Jewish civilians; to send a message that we will not be intimidated by the anti-Jew violence in Canada and Europe; and to expose the false ‘occupation’ narrative.
As soon as we started setting up the pro-Hamas Arabs and their leftist apologists (I photographed one in an ‘Occupy London’ Tshirt) crossed the street for the specific purpose of confronting us. As one of our number pointed out, it was analogous to land-rich Arabs trying to purge little Israel of her Jews. The Hamas side had the entire park to use, but they couldn’t bear the thought of Jews and their allies using a tiny piece of land on a traffic island.
The police arrive…and disappear
Two London Police officers made a brief appearance and our conversation went something like this:
MARK: I’m Mark Vandermaas, the organizer for the pro-Israel side. These people have crossed the street to try to intimidate us and I’d appreciate if you’d tell them to stay on their side of the road.
OFFICER: They’re free to go anywhere they want to protest. Just because you got here first, it doesn’t mean this is ‘your’ side.
MARK: Great; does that mean I can tell my people to cross the street and confront them on the other side?
OFFICER: Well, no, I don’t think that would be advisable.
MARK: So, have you told them that?
OFFICER: I just got here two seconds ago.
At one point, someone from our side whom I didn’t know got hold of my Israel flag and started walking down the middle of the street, taunting the Hamas crowd. I ran out to convince her to get off the road for her safety and our good name. A police van showed up, but by that time I had my flag back and was on my way back to the island. I didn’t see any police for the remainder of the protest; they left us alone to be harassed and intimidated while ever more pro-Hamas’ers crossed the road to try to crowd us off the traffic island.
I’ve been there before…in Caledonia, where the police tried the same nonsense, abandoning us to be intimidated and assaulted by violent native militants and their leftist friends. Undoubtedly emboldened by the lack of police, motorcyclists flying ‘Palestinian’ flags repeatedly raced recklessly down the road, their engines screaming as the Hamas side cheered. It seemed that at any minute their engines’ would explode into pieces but, alas, it was not to be.
“We’re not moving.”
Fortunately, someone from the other side — named Milad — had the common sense to come speak with me in a calm, rational manner, and he worked hard to try to keep the crazies at bay, with some success, but they gradually kept crossing the street to take over the island where, eventually, a couple of bongo drummers pounded out a beat as they chanted ‘Free Gaza.’ (I couldn’t agree more: yes, please: free Gaza–from Hamas.)
Milad then suggested we move in case there was violence against us, so I told him most of us were Christians who believe God is in control, that we were absolutely not going to move, and if there was violence his side would look like monsters attacking innocent, peaceful people. He seemed genuinely goodhearted, so I advised him that his people were allowing us to take total control of their protest simply by our presence and our refusal to get into shouting matches and arguments, and the best thing he could do would be to have them all return to their side of the road, turn their backs to us and continue their rally. Within 5-10 minutes of that conversation we were all alone for the first time in the day.
Shortly after that, the other side left the scene to march around the park…and then…the police showed up at the empty pro-Hamas corner of the park.
Our point made, we packed up and headed for Starbucks. Afterwards, I discovered that one of the Hamas cowards had keyed my car from end to end. Such heroes. To the person who did the damage: you just proved that you were right to side with violent, lawless cowards; you’re one of them.
Many thanks to those who came to stand for Israel. Many thanks for keeping cool under extreme pressure. That coolness enabled us to take control of the pro-Hamas rally and keep it right to the end. I first learned the power of Dr. King’s non-violent methods in Caledonia on January 20/07 where a small group of us holding Canadian flags faced down approximately 100 violent native militants and their union/anarchist allies as we endured their disgusting insults in complete silence. There is a picture of them in Christie Blatchford’s book Helpless…before they drifted away, one by one, simply because we refused to match their hate with hate.
By refusing to respond in kind, we took their power away. Today was a repeat of that powerful learning experience…but this time, it was for Israel. Later today (Sunday) I am honoured to be speaking at a rally at Queen’s Park in Toronto, 2pm.
The ‘other’ protest today…
I came home to a message from a friend who protested the pro-Hamas Al Quds rally at Queen’s Park today. He said, “I just came back from the JDL demonstration against “Al-Quds Day”. We had a great turnout (300, maybe more), and everything went without trouble. The police were in great numbers and very efficient.”
Well done! A good day for Israel and for Canada.
POSTED BY: Mark Vandermaas, Founder Israel Truth Week firstname.lastname@example.org