By Tevy Pilc
B’nai Brith Canada
The Alberta Legislative Building, ordinarily the daily meeting place for many lawmakers and proponents for the good of the everyday person, became a site occupied by a very small and underwhelming gathering of hate-fueled Israel bashers.
A reported crowd of fewer than 50 people congregated on the steps of the building last Saturday for the al-Quds Day rally. The rally, which is advertised as an occasion to “honour the Palestinian plight for justice,” has a dishonourable reputation for being a sojourn for anti-Israel, antisemitic and anti-gay rhetoric and hate speech, especially regarding the terrible human rights record in the regime of the Ayatollahs.
Components of this rhetoric were on display as five speakers delivered sermons that aimed to legitimize Palestinian violence as a necessary and accepted resistance to Israel.
One speaker, Syed Hyder Ali, rally organizer, went so far to claim that Palestinian resistance fighters are freedom fighters, not terrorists, “and I salute them.” (2:01-2:18 in the video below). He also chastised Edmonton-Manning MP Ziad Aboultaif, calling him a “so-called Muslim” for supporting the anti-boycott and sanctions motion in Parliament (5:42-5:51).
Another speaker, Sheikh Salim Bhmiji of Ithna-Asheri Association, lauded Ayatollah Khomeini for establishing al-Quds Day for Palestinians and “the oppressed around the world” (2:52-3:07 and 3:34-4:21 in the video below). He also claimed that al-Quds Day is for oppressed African-Americans and First Nations (4:26-4:55).
Helping to facilitate the event was Paula Kirman (page doesn’t exist), steering committee member for the discredited Independent Jewish Voices (IJV). In addition to speaking at the event (although she refused to disclose her membership to the crowd), she also published videos of the speeches on YouTube and sharing event photos to Facebook.
B’nai Brith has previously reported that IJV has endorsed and supported al-Quds Day in other cities in previous years.
Eyewitnesses also told B’nai Brith that young children could be seen holding signs that promote the anti-Israel boycott and sanctions movement.
Calls from B’nai Brith to members of the Alberta government to raise concerns of the event were unanswered. However, B’nai Brith was told that members of the Edmonton police hate crimes unit were in attendance to monitor proceedings.
Tevy Pilc can be emailed at: [email protected]