Thousands rally in Ottawa to support Israel, denounce antisemitism

Rally condemns rising level of hatred against Jews as community expresses solidarity with Israel in war against Hamas terrorists.

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Thousands demonstrated on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, ON, on Monday at a demonstration organized by the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) to express solidarity with the Jewish state.

CIJA estimated that the rally yielded 10,000 people at its peak. A slate of speakers offered remarks, including MP Melissa Lantsman, who is also the deputy Conservative leader.

Lanstman said demonstrations and events in recent months hostile to Israel and broadly sympathetic to the Palestinian national cause had included instances of "illegally inciting hate".

CIJA listed the advocacy of safety for Canadian Jews as one of the Parliament Hill rally's purposes:

"We are seeing an alarming rise of antisemitic incidents across Canada and the world as well as an increase in online hate as misinformation, emotion, and opinions misguide people to hold Jews around the world responsible for what is going on in the Middle East. 

"This poses a grave danger to all Canadians.

"We can all advocate for the Jewish community and for a safer Canada. So, if you see something, you need to say something. Use our online form to report incidents of hate to CIJA and help combat antisemitism in your community."

National Post columnist and former CBC commentator Rex Murphy warned of rising bigotry against Jews and said it was increasing in Canada.

He praised Israel's "democracy" in light of the security threats it has faced since its official establishment and War of Independence in 1948.

Several demonstrators who spoke with Rebel News emphasized that Israel's conflict is with "terrorists" and not Arabs or Palestinians in a broader sense.

When asked about the "Israeli-Arab" conflict by this reporter, one demonstrator rejected the premise of the question and delineated between "terrorists" and Arabs.

"Israelis do not hate the Palestinian people," one demonstrator said.

Some of the demonstration's participants rejected claims of broad animosity among Israelis and Jews towards Palestinians and Arabs. Hamas's control over Gaza, several demonstrators stated, oppresses Palestinians within the coastal strip of land given its non-democratic rule over the territory.

Participants who spoke with Rebel News also directly and indirectly addressed the nature of urban conflict in Gaza, in which Palestinian armed groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad embed themselves and their operations among civilians and civilian infrastructure.

Civilian casualties in Gaza, they maintained, are a function of Hamas' and Islamic Jihad's tactical exploitation of civilians as human shields.

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