IfNotNow Toronto recently organized a ceremony in commemoration of Palestinians who were killed by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) during the Great Return March, a weekly violent riot along the northern and eastern borders of the Gaza Strip with Israel.
IfNotNow Toronto’s activists mourned and said Kaddish (the Jewish mourning prayer) in memory of 35 Palestinians, of whom 14 (40 percent) “participated in hostilities,” according to the left-wing, anti-Israeli Btselem human rights organization.
IfNotNow is a relatively new Jewish organization that opposes the policies of the Israeli government, voices pro-Palestinian positions, and criticizes the Jewish establishment in North America for its “silence” over Israel’s “crimes” against the Palestinian people.
Of course, they fail to acknowledge that32 of the 35 Palestinian casualties listed (91.4%) were proven to be individuals or operatives affiliated with Palestinian terroist armed groups and/or wished to be killed on the path of Allah:
- 18 operatives/affiliated with Hamas/al-Qassam Brigades.
- 8 operatives/affiliated with Fatah/al-Aqsa Brigades.
- Two operatives of the National Resistance Brigades, military wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP)
- One operative of the Islamic Jihad/Al-Quds Brigades
- One operative of The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)
- Two individuals with no affiliation who wanted to die/be killed on the path of Allah in the Great Return March.
Here is IfNotNow Toronto’s statement on the event:
“April 9th 2018, over 100 people joined us, as we stood outside the Israeli consulate, in rage and sorrow to mourn the 31 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces these past two weeks. We sang. We shouted. We demand our Jewish institutions take a stand against the occupation. We ask: Why do we usually condemn violence, but are silent about violence done in our name?”
Activists with IfNotNow Toronto held signs that read:
Why is Palestinian freedom different from our freedom?Why do we usually condemn violence, but are silent about violence done in our name?Why are we told to ask questions, but not about the occupation?What will it take for our community to stand for freedom and dignity for all people?
Here are excerpts from the speeches held at the event:
Speaker A (male):
We are gathering in ritual and solidarity with those protesting non-violently in Gaza… We are IfNotNow Toronto. IfNotNow is a movement of North American Jews dedicated to ending our community’s support of the occupation. In our time, so many of our Jewish institutions remained silent, or excused, or even condoned violence against peaceful protesters, including children. We say enough.”
Speaker B (female):
We gather here today as young Jews in sorrow and rage to mourn the death of 31 Palestinian protesters in Gaza and the thousands of non-violent protesters who were injured by the IDF. This non-violent protest, the Great Return March, began on Land Day and will continue until May 15, the 70th anniversary of the Nakba [“the catastrophe” – the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948]… In the Jewish tradition, we say the mourning prayer of Kaddish to help us confront the holiness of loss and honor those who are no longer with us. The Kaddish is an ancient Aramaic prayer… When we say the Kaddish we will think about the 31 Gazans slain, the 1,700 plus who have been injured in the past two weeks… We now ask… to come up here and read the names of those killed by the IDF in the past two weeks.”
Speaker C (male) read the names of the 31 Palestinians (another four Palestinians died later on from their wounds) killed by the IDF during the Great Return March since March 30, 2018.
Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi is a senior researcher of the Middle East and radical Islam at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He is a co-founder of the Orient Research Group Ltd.