VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – One of Canada’s oldest national Jewish organizations is speaking out after some of its members claim seeing disturbing events at two Palestinian solidarity rallies in Vancouver this weekend.
They had been planned in response to US President Donald Trump’s announcement to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, but Aidan Fishman with the Jewish advocacy group B’nai Brith Canada says that was not the case.
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“The target of these rallies is not the United States or its president really, the target was the state of Israel, and its existence as a Jewish state,” says Fishman, who is the Interim National Director of the organization.
He explains people have been reaching out to the group to say the rallies promoted anti-Semitic messages, as well as messages he finds “disturbing.”
“You have people marching at the rally, shouting again in Arabic ‘millions of martyrs are marching to Jerusalem,’ that’s what they’re saying in Arabic. These are all things that imply or condone the use of violence in this conflict over Jerusalem, which we find to be very disturbing.”
According to Fishman, Israeli flags were also purposefully burned and ripped apart by pro-Palestinian protesters. “That’s very worrying. That’s not a sign of productive or peaceful protest on the decision about the status of Jerusalem. That’s clearly a call for the state of Israel in its entirety to be burned or destroyed.”
Organizers of the Solidarity for Palestine rallies say the gatherings were meant to be peaceful, but Fishman claims they were anything but. B’nai Brith Canada is now calling on the Jewish community in Vancouver to come forward and urge the City to take action since these events are said to have taken place on public property.
“Public space has to be there for freedom of expression, for both sides of this issue to share their opinion and have their voice heard. But one side can’t be attacking and intimidating the other side in a public space.”
Fishman says the Vancouver Police Department has been told, and claims an investigation is ongoing.