Mobilizing Communities to Stand Up for Israel

The Israel-Hamas conflict, rooted in historical animosities, has sparked a global surge in antisemitism. Following the breach of the Israeli border and the unprovoked attack by Hamas on October 7, the international Jewish community has rallied together, mobilizing various communities to express solidarity with Israel. This unity was notably evident at the Washington, D.C. Mall, where 200,000 individuals from diverse backgrounds convened to condemn Hamas violence and stand in support of those affected.

The Washington, D.C. event attracted people from various communities, including Jewish and non-Jewish politicians, representatives from Black, Christian, and Iranian communities, and families directly impacted by the crisis. The atmosphere at the gathering was intense yet joyous, with a collective determination to denounce Hamas violence and provide support to those affected. A 2.5-hour transcript of the rally is available for reference.

In light of Hamas’ declared intention to repeat the October 7 attacks and their desire to annihilate Israel while holding over 240 hostages, our collective stance is centred on supporting Israeli efforts to recover all hostages. Simultaneously, we are committed to working towards the permanent elimination of Hamas’ power in Gaza, aiming to prevent them from orchestrating any future attacks.

Our resolve remains unwavering as we pursue these goals, united and firm. We sincerely hope that diplomatic and peaceful avenues can be explored to address the root causes of the conflict and pave the way for a lasting resolution that ensures peace for all in the region.

Pro-Israel students at Concordia recently organized a gathering to voice their opposition against violent Palestinian activities on campus. Julia Langleben, a McGill student, passionately addressed the rally, sharing her experiences and detailing the intimidation faced by pro-Israel students since October 7. A detailed account of her speech is available, and the Montreal Gazette has also covered the event.

Additionally, a peaceful protest took place on the steps of Place Des Arts in Montreal, aiming to demand the release of hostages held by Hamas.

Amid a snowstorm on December 4, I joined thousands of people in Ottawa to express our support for Israel and demand the release of hostages held by Hamas. The diverse gathering comprised individuals from various backgrounds, including politicians, community leaders, representatives from the Ukrainian, Persian, Black, and Christian communities, religious leaders from different faiths, and worried family members of the hostages. You can find the coverage here.

Voices of Support: Diverse Perspectives on Israel in the Current Conflict

In the ongoing Israel/Hamas conflict, various notable voices provide unique perspectives:

  1. Mosab Hassan Yousef: The eldest son of Hamas co-founder Sheikh Hassan Yousef, Mosab defected from the terrorist organization in 2005. His 2010 book, “Son of Hamas,” offers a firsthand account of his experiences, revealing atrocities committed by Hamas against prisoners in Israeli jails. He shared his insights with the University of Michigan students on November 29, 2023. Watch the discussion here. In the book, he reports that he “first saw the light” after a stint in an Israeli jail during the mid-1990s. At Megiddo Prison, he witnessed Hamas inmates leading a brutal year-long campaign to weed out supposed Israeli collaborators. During that time, he said, “Hamas tortured and killed hundreds of prisoners.” He recalled vivid memories of needles being inserted under fingernails and bodies charred with burning plastics. Many, if not all, had nothing to do with Israeli intelligence. “I will never forget their screams,” he continued. “I started asking myself a question: What if Hamas succeeded in destroying Israel and building a state? Will they destroy our people in this way?”
  2. Douglas Murray: An esteemed academic and scholar, Murray contributes a well-researched perspective on the geopolitical dynamics of the Israel/Hamas conflict. He founded the Centre for Social Cohesion in 2007 and discussed current deaths in Gaza during an interview with Piers Morgan on Sky News. Watch the interview here.
  3. Niall Ferguson, John Cochrane, and Stephen Kotkin: Esteemed scholars in their respective fields, they shared valuable insights on the geopolitics of the Middle East in a discussion at Stanford’s Hoover Institute. Their conversation reviewed the challenges posed by the war and discussed possible outcomes. Watch the entire debate here.
  4. Brigitte Gabriel: An American citizen of Lebanese Christian origin, Gabriel founded the NGO Act for America after seeking refuge in the U.S. following the Islamic takeover of Lebanon. Her mission is to raise awareness about Islamism’s challenge in America. Watch her perspective here.

The Price of Peace

Amidst the ongoing conflict in Gaza, the toll on human lives and the impact on all communities are stark. However, the Israeli cost of war is rarely mentioned in the mainstream media.

Today, on December 22, the IDF announced the deaths of two more soldiers killed during the fighting in the Gaza Strip, bringing the toll of slain troops in the ground offensive against Hamas to 139.

Lt. Shai Ayeli and Sgt. First Class Tal Shua

1- Lt. Shai Ayeli, 21:

  • Cadet in the Bahad 1 officers’ school’s Gefen Battalion.
  • He previously served in the Air Force’s Unit 669 and is from Ashkelon.

2- Sgt. First Class (res.) Tal Shua, 31:

  • Combat Engineering Corps’ 7071st Battalion, from Beersheba.
  • Israeli hospitals are currently treating over 10,000 seriously injured individuals.

In response to the events of October 8, Israel faced a challenging situation that required swift mobilization of resources to address the aftermath of the unfortunate incident. Immediate priorities included providing comfort to survivors, laying the deceased to rest, and relocating evacuees from the southern border to central Israel and Eilat. At the same time, due to the looming threat posed by Hezbollah from Lebanon and Syria, communities near the northern border were also evacuated.

The situation’s urgency prompted the mobilization of 300,000 reserve soldiers, presenting a formidable logistical challenge in equipping, housing, and feeding such a large force. The commendable sight of local and international volunteers supporting these efforts was noteworthy. An additional 300,000 Israelis willingly returned to military service, and global volunteers offered hands-on assistance throughout the country, including the essential task of harvesting crops left unattended during the crisis.

Beyond the workforce, the response extended to the financial realm, with millions of dollars swiftly collected from the general public, exceeding $60 million within the first month and eventually surpassing a billion. The war’s guiding motto, “Byahad Nenatzayach” – “United, we will be victorious,” underscores the imperative of overcoming a ruthless adversary that, for ideological reasons, refuses to acknowledge Israel as a cooperative neighbour.

While acknowledging constant appeals for humanitarian aid for Gaza, it is crucial to keep in mind that Hamas initiated this conflict, and the situation has been complicated by their lack of concern for their civilian population. Resources provided in the past have been diverted to constructing extensive and costly attack tunnels and training children in activities that run counter to fostering peaceful coexistence. It is essential to understand these factors to comprehend the dynamics fueling the current conflict.

During a recent press conference, Secretary of State Tony Blinken emphasized the need to address the underlying causes of the conflict and hold Hamas accountable for its actions. He stressed the urgency of disarming Hamas, stopping the use of civilians as shields, and surrendering to achieve a faster resolution to the conflict.

“One of the things that’s striking to me is that, understandably, everyone would like to see this conflict end as quickly as possible, but if it ends with Hamas remaining in place and having the capacity and the stated intent to repeat October 7 again and again and again, that’s not in the interests of Israel, it’s not in the interests of the region, it’s not in the interests of the world. What is striking to me is that even as we hear many countries urging an end to this conflict… I hear virtually no one demanding of Hamas that it stop hiding behind civilians, that it lay down its arms, that it surrender. This would be over tomorrow if Hamas were to do that.”

A Call for Peace

As we embark on the joyous holiday season, let us reflect on Chanukah’s timeless message, which transcends all faiths. It highlights the idea of breaking free from oppression, representing the victory of freedom over physical slavery and harmful ideologies.

Judaism and Israel have consistently aspired to preserve our way of life and actively collaborate to foster global harmony. Israel, demonstrating its commitment to humanitarian values, has consistently been at the forefront, extending aid to any nation grappling with natural or artificial disasters.

Happy Chanukah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Ramadan, and whichever religion you practice. May we all contribute to increasing peace and harmony in our shared world. May we all witness the freeing of our hostages and the achievement of everlasting peace in Israel and worldwide. Hashta b’agala oo’bzman kariv – Speedily and soon in our present time!