On Tuesday, a rally took place at Vancouver’s Jack Poole Plaza where numerous political leaders from various levels of government expressed their support for Israel.
The demonstration was orchestrated by Jewish organizations that support Israel, such as the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. This occurred following the recent intensification of conflict between Israel and Hamas, a Palestinian organization.
Following a series of gatherings supporting Israel and Palestine during the Thanksgiving weekend, which included a significant demonstration in favor of Palestine at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
Leaders at the Tuesday event — which included MPs, MLAs and the city’s mayor — said they stood with Israel and pledged support for the country.
Speakers of the Jewish faith at the event expressed their disapproval of the violent actions carried out by Hamas, the Palestinian militant organization. It was due to Hamas’ unexpected assault on Saturday that the current escalation of conflicts began.
In particular, speakers mourned the loss of Ben Mizrachi, a Vancouver man who was killed at a music festival in Israel on Saturday. The event started with former schoolmates of Mizrachi’s sharing their love of the man, and also included a Holocaust survivor and representatives of other Jewish bodies.
Ezra Shanken, the president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, addressed a large gathering, stating that upon learning about the Hamas attacks, they were aware that it wouldn’t be long before each individual present would have a personal connection to this tragic event.
I offer my sincere sympathies to the Mizrachi family and everyone present who has experienced the loss of their loved ones. May the memories of those who have passed, including all those who are no longer with us, bring comfort and serve as a source of blessing.
Other speakers at the rally included B.C. Post-Secondary Education Minister Selina Robinson and B.C. United Leader Kevin Falcon. MLAs and MPs from the Vancouver area, across all political stripes, were also in attendance.
Federal Emergency Management Minister Harjit Sajjan, who represents the Vancouver South riding, said that the Hamas surprise strike constituted a “brutal” terrorist attack on the Israeli people.
“He mentioned that one source of hope for him is reflecting on the sense of community and support in Canada, where he resides. People unite and lend each other a hand,” he stated.
Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim, accompanied by councillors from his ABC Vancouver party, joined the rally and once again expressed his disapproval of purported “anti-Israel” gatherings in Vancouver.
“Vancouver is a city of love, city of peace, city of inclusion,” he said, adding that the city would not stand for acts of anti-Semitism or acts of hatred.
Although the rally received considerable focus on the hundreds of Israeli casualties, Palestinian individuals residing in B.C. express concern for their relatives residing in the blockaded Gaza Strip. Authorities report that thousands of people have lost their lives since the escalation of the conflict this past weekend.
Amal Joha, residing in Port Coquitlam, expressed her desire for peace in the Palestinian territory where her father, three brothers, and eight sisters currently reside. She emphasized the importance of Canada accepting refugees and contributing to the efforts of ending the ongoing war.
She stated that her family should be allowed to come here if they can bring people from Gaza. She believes that her family is innocent and good, and she disagrees with the notion that they are terrorists.