by Doris Strub Epstein
The Jewish response to those affected by tragedy and bereavement, is to action and to deeds. Action brings meaning. We should not tolerate the intolerable. JDL decided to take the mourning out of synagogues and Jewish community centres and honour the boys’ memory by organizing a vigil in front of Palestine House, in Mississauga, a known font of anti-Israeli hatred, Thursday night about seven p.m.
Over a hundred people stood with Palestine flags, screaming anti Israel rants, orchestrated by a speaker on a megaphone egging them on. The hatred was almost palpable and it was escalating rapidly. Across from them on the other side, were about 50 Jews and non Jews
Peel Regional police stood guard in the middle, keeping the groups separated.
Suddenly, with a roar, the Palestine group surged across the road, breaking through the police. Some of the Jewish side, not intimidated, ran out to do battle. Ilana Schneider, founder and Director of the Canada-Israel Friendship Association, and a little over five feet tall, was caught in a welter of men pushing and shoving. I ran to pull her out, getting a few hard shoves in the process.
Another roar was heard and 20 motorcycles rumbled down the road between the two side. They were Yids on Wheels. “We came to show our
solidarity with Israel,” Steve Tolsky said. “It’s a democratic country and they attacked our people, which speaks for their mentality”, Andy Reti said angrily. A member of Yids was the only one arrested. The reason was “obstructing justice” for having stopped his bike from going further when ordered by an officer to move The heavily armed, swat team was called in . A line of police cars, end to end, lined the middle of the road between the two groups and all traffic was blocked off. One young man, Bob Magee was taken to Trillium hospital for multiple stitches. Wayne Haas’s shirt was torn to tatters. “I crossed the street,” Haas said, “and one of their guys yelled at me to get back. I said this is Canada, I can go where I want” and he attacked me.
“It’s unacceptable to use this country to carry out hatreds from another country. We’re all immigrants. We came for a better life. And they instill this hatred in their children,” Emma Lieberman lamented.
Palestine House, located at 3195 Erindale Station road in Mississauga, has lost its 18 years of government funding for newcomer settlement and language instruction. That amounted to $950,000 last year. Ottawa’s reason was its “pattern of support for extremism”.
It recently celebrated the release of hundreds of terrorists from Israeli jails. On May 15, it celebrated the Nakba. In 2008 they organized a huge event in honour of Dr. George Habash, founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, responsible for armed attacks and aircraft hijackings jn the 1960’s and 70’s.
“I came to Canada from Israel in l982 and it was wonderful – no hatred no terror,” said Israeli born Ilana Schneider, upset and angry.
“Thirty two years later we have more hate and jihadis and the worst is coming. The more they are empowered this will escalate and end very badly. I love PM Harper for his support of Israel but our government is a coward. When it comes to hands on stopping Islamic violence in Toronto, they’re afraid.”
For safety, a group of police escorted me to my car. ” Unbelievable,” said a woman behind me, being taken to her car. “In my country, in my city that I need police to take me to my car.”
Police reported a few people have been arrested, but charges have not been laid.