Toronto’s day of unity & action: CIJR Colloquium: Israel, Hamas & the Third Gazan War

CIJR_logoWow! What a day. Sunday, August 10, 2014. Toronto, Canada. The voices of freedom were loud and they were united:

  1. 1. A morning colloquium offered by the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research (CIJR); PLUS 3 OTHER EVENTS:
  2. 2. A flashmob at Roy Thomson Hall organized by Canadians For Israel.
  3. 3. A  rally of thousands at the Israel consulate organized by the Jewish Defence League (JDL) against the pro-terror forces across the street.
  4. 4. A march of 100+ people from the Israel consulate to Queen’s Park organized by Israel Truth Week, with great support from JDL  to support yet another rally of thousands for persecuted Christians in Iraq.

Event #1. 10:30-12:30: CIJR Colloquium: Israel, Hamas and the Third Gazan War. I was only able to attend the first half in order to be able to participate in event #2, but the two speakers I heard were worth the 2.5 hour drive from my home in London alone:

SPEAKER 1: Prof. Renan Levine from the U of Toronto spoke about what the polls were saying about the Gaza war:

  • For Israelis: the tunnels made a HUGE difference in gaining strong support for the war. Benjamin Netanayhu’s popularity is way up; no one else is even close.
  • For Gazans: most thought Hamas lost and would choose reconstruction vs. more war. A key difference in this war is that Egypt is not a friend of Hamas.
  • For Americans: 40% believe Israel is justified. 15% think Hamas is justified. These positions are unaffected by tunnels or the number of civilian dead. The majority of those greater than age 50 think Israel was justified. The majority of those under 25 think Israel was un-justified. Casualties make youth more resistant to truth.
  • Non-US citizens: More likely to disapprove of Israel.

Prof. Levine’s conclusions:

  • Younger people did not grow up with Israel’s struggle to establish itself and survive against Arab aggression, so have no sense of her history.
  • Resistance by youth to new information is NOT anti-Semitic; it has to do with resistance to admitting they might be wrong.

SPEAKER 2: Prof. Aurel Braun from U of Toronto spoke about “Palestinian” propaganda:

  • “Educators have failed our children.”
  • “Palestinian” propaganda is very effective because it is simple  and consistent.
  • Key elements: transfer; inversion; use of authority; testimonials by celebrities; bandwagon effect; statistics.
  • Hamas is not only practitioner: Mahmoud Abbas of Palestinian Authority is not a moderate, but presents as one.
  • Always use pictures of dead children, none of Hamas fighers, but 100 children died building terror tunnels.
  • Stats show that most casualties were fighters.
  • Journalists like Karl Penhaul of CNN were misleading world by saying Hamas doesn’t intimidate journalists. Why, then, were there no pics of Hamas fighters.
  • ‘David & Goliath’ Syndrome: When did Israel become Goliath? Narrative is one of Israel the super-power facing poor, helpless people.
  • Terminology: “Gaza is an open air prison.” It actually has air conditioned malls, hospitals, etc. It is poor because Hamas invested money in weapons and tunnels.
  • Moral Equivalence: the difference between Israel and Hamas is like the difference between firemen and arsonists.
  • Ask: how many Israelis would have died without Iron Dome? How many Gazans would have died if Hamas built shelters? If Israel wanted to commit “genocide” hundreds of thousands would be dead.
  • Hamas Charter should be read at every synagogues and given to journalists.


The speakers reinforced my long-held belief that we must attack the underlying strategy of Israel’s demise in world opinion: the brilliant portrayal of Arabs as victims of “occupation” by Jewish land stealing monsters.

The current “Jews are nice people who want peace, so how soon can we turn over our Judea-Samarian birthright to the nice people who slit our babie’s throats and murdered our athletes in hopes that they’ll finally stop trying to kill us” narrative is an absolute loser as a counter-propaganda strategy if one wishes to re-legitimize Israel in the eyes of the world.

The grave danger of this war is that the real lesson will not be learned, which is:  commitment to a strong moral position founded on truth, combined with steely resolve, will do more for Israel’s image than guilty-looking compromise in the face of evil and lies.

I fear the war will be used to try to accelerate the push towards the new two-state solution when what is needed is to take a stand for truth in order to destroy the false occupation narrative. “Zoe,” the first year political science student, is never going to believe that Jews are nice people and want peace if Jews don’t hold up their land title deed from the original two-state solution–the League of Nations Mandate For Palestine–and show her she’s being lied to.

I do not advocate for a one or two state solution, only for a moratorium on all ‘solutions’-oriented activities until the truth about the original two-state solution is known by Jews and accepted as such by the world.

No Peace Without Truth.


Mark Vandermaas, Founder
Israel Truth Week