Monday, August 11, 2014

Photo essay: Toronto marches with Gaza


Israel’s latest attack on Gaza has killed nearly 2,000 people including hundreds of children, and has attacked hospitals and UN compounds. But Palestinians are continuing to resist the attack and siege on Gaza and occupation of Palestine—and are inspiring solidarity movements around the world.

Thousands took to the streets of Toronto as part of a global day of action, which included events in almost two dozen cities across Canada this past weekend. 


The Toronto action—a rally outside the Israeli consulate and march to Dundas Square, passing by Bed Bath and Beyond to call for a boycott of SodaStream—was organized by Palestine House, Canadian Arab Federation, Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid, Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, Canadian Peace Alliance, Toronto Coalition to Stop the War, Al-Quds Committee, Independent Jewish Voices, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network-Canada, Women in Solidarity with Palestine, and Canadian Voice of Women for Peace.


As Judy Rebick reminded the crowd, Canada has a shameful history of turning away boats of Jewish refugees fleeing the Holocaust, and the commitment "never again" includes stopping the current killing of Palestinians. People of all ethnic and religious backgrounds, ages and abilities joined the march, demonstrating the growing Palestine solidarity movement. 


There is a disconnect between Parliament and the street: while there's been an outpouring of support for Gaza across the country, the Tories and Liberals have predictably supported Israel, but the NDP has been silent—prompting occupations of NDP offices. The rally chanted, “Harper, Trudeau and Mulcair: bombing Gaza isn’t fair,” and called for people to visit notinmyname.ca to send a message to their MP. As Dundas Square, the crowd erupted into chants of “Harper, Harper, shame on you.” As part of Harper's agenda of militarism, he has cut funding to Gaza and defunded organizations that support Palestinian human rights, supported Israeli war crimes from Lebanon to Palestine, and tried to demonize the Palestine solidarity movement. But the tide is turning.


Across Canada there are growing connections between indigenous solidarity movements from here to Palestine. As the rally chanted, "Turtle Island, Palestine: occupation is a crime." Harper’s blanket support for Israel reflects his similar belief that Canada has “no history of colonialism,” and indigenous sovereignty movements are helping make the connection between resisting colonialism abroad and at home.


The upcoming Peoples’ Social Forum will be an important opportunity to build these struggles,  including the demands of the Palestine solidarity movement: stop the assault and end the siege on Gaza, boycott Israeli Apartheid, and end Harper’s complicity.



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