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Daily News Analysis

Hundreds pack Toronto streets for Day of Rage rally for Palestine

Crescent International

Hundreds of Canadians from all walks of life packed the main intersection at Yonge and Bloor opposite the Israeli consulate in Toronto for a Day of Rage rally today (July 4).

They included in addition to Palestinians, members of the Jewish community, Toronto’s Black community and members of the Indigenous People (First Nations) that face continued racism in Canada.

The rally, one of seven across North America, was called to reject Israel’s plan to annex more Palestinian lands in Occupied West Bank. A simultaneous rally took place in Mississauga.

The youth-led demonstration of rage and rejection was organized in response to the call by Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, and the Palestinian diaspora living in Toronto.

Organized by the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM), Arab Palestine Association of Ontario (APAO), Al-Awda The Palestine Right of Return Coalition, Campuses for Palestine (C4P), Actions for Palestine (A4P) and Toronto BDS Network, it attracted an incredible array of speakers from different groups.

For nearly three hours, speakers denouced Zionist Israel’s plans to illegally usurp more Palestinian lands.

Amid slogans reverberating against tall buildings at Toronto’s main intersection that was closed for traffic in all directions, the rally was electrically charged and reflected the anger over US-backed Israeli plans for further annexation.

Moe Alqasem and Rawan H ably managed the charged environment as MCs navigating between chants in support of Palestine as well as the speakers.

They included Audrey Huntley (Indigenous Land Defense across Borders), Sien Saningong Azinwi (Black female – Canadian Federation of Students), Nabil Nassar (APAO), Sue Goldstein (Independent Jewish Voices-Toronto), Eli Ade Kur (Black Lives Matter), Professor Atif Kubursi (SSNP), Maysam (poet - C4P/Students Coalition), Ali Mallah (Al-Quds & CAADC), Zafar Bangash (Muslim Community & CCJP), Doug Brown (Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War) and Rajean (Black speaker from Toronto Prisoners Project).

Author and Peace activist Suzanne Berliner Weiss, who survived the Holocaust as a child, saved by total strangers, also participated in the rally together with John Riddell, also a writer and strong supporter of the Palestinian people.

Three rabbis representing Neturei Karta participated in the rally but did not speak because they were observing the Sabbath. Their statement was read out on their behalf by Professor Kubursi.

Israel was set to begin the formal annexation of 30% of the West Bank but the plan was put on hold because of disagreement among the Israeli coalition government.

The West Bank has been occupied since 1967 and the settlements that exist there already are illegal under international law.

Further encroachments on Palestinian lands including Jerusalem are unacceptable, said the rally organizers.

Annexation is nothing new in Occupied Palestine; the entire Zionist project has depended on land and resource theft, the displacement of indigenous Palestinians, military occupation, imprisonment, and colonial violence.

The continued expansions of Jewish-only settlements on occupied land, the US embassy move to Jerusalem, the so-called "Deal of the Century", and the formalization of annexation are the latest manifestations of Zionist colonial rule.

The organizers had issued the following statement prior to the rally.

“As Palestinians in the diaspora, we stand firmly against the continued annexation of our lands.

“We are outraged at Zionist colonial expansion and violence. We have no trust in the settler-colonial states of Canada and the US to be ‘honest brokers’ of peace. We must take leadership in our national liberation. We will RETURN.”

Given the prevailing environment when people have risen up in thousands of cities worldwide to join the campaign (BlackLivesMatter) against police brutality targeting the Black community and other people of colour, the Day of Rage rally for Palestinian rights won endorsement from a very large number of organizations.

They include:
- Canada Palestine Association
- CUPE 3903
- Independent Jewish Voices Toronto
- Independent Jewish Voices Canada
- Palestine Solidarity Collective at York University
- Faculty for Palestine
- York University Graduate Students' Association (YUGSA)
- Palestine Solidarity Collective at York University
- Students in Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights McGill - SPHR McGill
- Fondation Canado-Palestinienne du Québec
- Students Against Israeli Apartheid UofT St. George
- Anakbayan Toronto
- CFS Ontario // FCÉÉ Ontario
- Tamil Freedom Coalition
- Labor for Palestine
- Just Peace Advocates/Mouvement Pour Une Paix Juste
- Canadian BDS Coalition
- Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL)
- Toronto Prisoners’ Rights Project
- Solidarity For Palestinian Human Rights at Queen's University
- Spring Magazine
- No More Silence
- Indigenous Land Defense Across Borders
- UofT IJV
- UofT Graduate Student Union BDS Caucus
- UofT CUPE 3902 BDS Committee
- International Migrants Alliance - Canada Chapter
- Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Network

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