Anti-Israel Rally Allowed to Take Place on Saturday
Al Quds Day Rally takes to the lawn of Queen’s Park
Despite strong objections from Toronto’s Jewish community, Queen’s Park has decided that it will allow an overtly anti-Israel rally to be held outside the legislature on Saturday, August 18th.
The decision to allow the al Quds Day Rally - an annual international event created by former Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini which marks the end of Ramadan and calls for the destruction of Israel and the creation of a Palestinian state - to take place, was announced after a meeting held on August 16th between Speaker of the Ontario Legislature Dave Levac, Sergeant-At-Arms Dennis Clark, and a member of Toronto’s Jewish community.
“Organizers have indicated their understanding of and willingness to conform to all stipulated guidelines,” Levac said in a statement.
At last year’s rally held at Queen’s Park, Muslim journalist Zafar Bangash called Israeli nationalists “oppressors and criminals,” called Israel an “apartheid” state, and called the Zionist movement of securing Israel as the Jewish homeland “oppressive.”
“We are deeply disappointed in this decision. Based on video evidence that we gathered from last year’s Al-Quds Day rally, which included some vehemently racist and antisemitic language, as well as the history of the event itself, we maintain that there is no room on our Legislative grounds for this type of hate-filled event. We had a long conversation with the Speaker of the Legislature and expressed our deep concern. We respectfully disagree with this decision,” said David Spiro, Greater Toronto Co-Chair of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.
“This matter is of deep concern, not only to the Jewish community, but to all Ontario citizens of good-will. Rules and procedures for demonstrations at Queen’s Park are intended to reflect the dignity of the Legislature…not bring it into disrepute. We would like to see both the letter and the spirit of those rules enforced and to know that our provincial, public property will not be used as a platform for antisemitism, bigotry or racism of any kind,” said Michael Grand, Chair, Regional Jewish Communities of Ontario, The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.