A large pro-Israeli rally took place on Parliament Hill

(Ottawa) Supporters of Israel and major Jewish groups rallied on Parliament Hill Monday, calling for an end to anti-Semitic violence in Canada and solidarity with Israel.

“Our grief is deep and immeasurable,” said Raquel Look.

His son, Alexandre, who lived in Montreal, was killed by Hamas militants during a music festival in Israel in October.

“We want to channel this immense pain into a call to action. This tragedy is not just a horrible personal loss, she said. This is a wake-up call for our politicians. Each of them. »

M’s sonme Look was among around 1,200 people killed on October 7, when Hamas militants launched attacks on Israeli soil from the Gaza Strip.

Since then, officials in Hamas-controlled territory say 15,500 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli retaliation, including airstrikes, cutting off supplies of essential goods and a military offensive on the ground.

On Monday, hundreds of people gathered on the grounds of Parliament Hill in Ottawa, many of whom brought Israeli flags. The Advisory Center for Jewish and Israel Relations said the event was meant to be a collective show of strength in the face of what it called staggering anti-Semitism.

Speakers spoke about incidents in Canada, such as shootings at Jewish schools, a Molotov cocktail thrown at a Jewish community center and a bomb threat at a high school.

Liberal MP Anthony Housefather told the rally that some people had downplayed the Oct. 7 attack on Israeli civilians.

“These last few weeks have left me very angry. Angry, because as soon as Hamas murdered Israelis, people started to justify themselves. »


Mr. Housefather was one of a handful of MPs who recently visited Israel, at the invitation of Canadian Jewish federations, which included Liberal MPs, Conservative MPs and an independent MP. Most of them were present at Monday’s rally.

A spokesperson for the New Democratic Party (NDP) said party MPs had been invited to attend the event, but none were available. However, MP Matthew Green told reporters on Monday that he had “definitely” not received an invitation.

The party has called for a ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas, and a spokeswoman said party leader Jagmeet Singh met with relatives of those killed by Hamas and denounced anti-Semitism.

At the rally, Mr. Housefather said the trip confirmed his belief that the Hamas attack amounted to a pogrom against Jews.

“We saw bullet holes, traces of blood and cars that left the road when their occupants were killed. We heard survivors tell stories of rape, torture and murder. We met families of Canadians who were massacred and families of hostages,” he said.

The deputy leader of the Conservative Party, Melissa Lantsman, said she was “outraged” by the Canadian political class for what she considers a failure to protect the Jewish people.

“It was easy to be pro-Israel when this first happened, and it’s a lot harder now. And now we see who they really are,” she said, of politicians.

“Canada has somehow become a country that has abandoned its long-held principled position, and has opted for outlandish platitudes from too many people,” supported Mme Lantsman.

She called for an end to boycotts of Jewish businesses and the prosecution of those responsible for vandalism and possible hate crimes.

“It won’t be over until every politician in this country condemns the faceless, mask-wearing, screaming mobs who are illegally inciting hatred on our streets. »

Members of civil society called on Canadians to defend Israel’s right to exist and its need to defend itself against terrorism. They also call on the international community to press for the release of hostages held by Hamas.

“We cannot afford to be complacent. We cannot accept the silence of those who have not yet spoken out,” said Mr.me Look.

Smaller counter-protests took place near barriers along Parliament Hill, where dozens of demonstrators waved Palestinian flags and signs denouncing Israeli military actions.


Israel’s National Security Council recently increased the threat level for Jews in parts of Western Europe, although Canada remains listed as posing “no travel threat” to Israelis.

Israel resumed deadly airstrikes on southern Gaza this weekend after a week-long truce collapsed on Friday, with both sides blaming each other.

The Israeli military said more than 250 rockets had been fired from Gaza since the end of the truce.

Border movements

Israeli officials say 137 people are still being held hostage in Gaza. Another group of 105 Palestinians were released during the ceasefire in exchange for the release of 240 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons. Most of those freed on both sides were women and children.

These exchanges took place at the Rafah border post between Egypt and Gaza. Since the end of the truce, foreign nationals have once again been allowed to exit through the Rafah crossing. Global Affairs Canada said that included about 130 Canadians who left over the weekend.

The ministry said in a statement Sunday evening that approximately 600 Canadians, permanent residents and members of their families have been able to leave the besieged territory so far. The department says there are 426 Canadians in the West Bank and Gaza who are registered with the federal government.

Global Affairs Canada also announced Sunday evening that an eighth Canadian had died as a result of the current conflict, this time in Lebanon.

A Canadian is missing, the government says, without specifying who this person is or where they are, citing reasons of confidentiality.

Judih Weinstein Haggai’s family, however, said she was being held hostage by Hamas in Gaza. She is a Canadian citizen who has lived in Toronto for 20 years.

Ceasefire unlikely

Later Monday, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Youth Association is expected to hold a separate event on Parliament Hill to urge peace in the Middle East, starting with a ceasefire.

Organizers of the event said they were expecting elected officials from various parties, including Diversity and Inclusion Minister Kamal Khera and Small Business Minister Rechie Valdez.

The possibility of a new ceasefire agreement seems ruled out. Israel recalled its negotiators and Hamas’ deputy leader said any further release of hostages would only come as part of ending the war.

On Saturday, an International Criminal Court prosecutor said his office was serious about opening an investigation into allegations of war crimes on both sides.

With reporting from Laura Osman and the Associated Press.

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