In less than a week, we’ve seen them disrupting the Mayor’s skate party.
We’ve seen them scream curses and epithets at the regular folks there. We’ve seen them intimidating an elderly couple at the same event. We’ve seen them blocking highways and roads and getting coffee and doughnuts from the cops.
And, of course, we’ve someone – almost certainly one of their fellow travellers – firebomb a delicatessen and scrawl FREE PALESTINE on its walls.
Again: that’s in less than a week, in the City of Toronto, Canada.
Lots of questions: why aren’t the police doing more? Why isn’t Toronto – and other cities in Canada – cracking down on law-breakers, as New York City Mayor Eric Adams did this week, and haul away hundreds of “pro-Palestine” types blocking the Brooklyn Bridge?
The “they,” here, need to be defined. There are people who support Palestine, and oppose Israel’s government and the war, and are not anti-Semites. They post on social media and write letters to the editor, but that’s about it.
Then there’s a group in the ideological middle – mainly the younger Generation Z, according to multiple polls – who are actually pro-Hamas and anti-Israel. Much of this group are anti-Semitic, or on their way to embracing Jew hatred.
But they, too, tend to be keyboard warriors. They probably don’t mind picking up a brick, to quote the Clash, but they don’t ever actually toss it. They’re Slacktivists.
Then there is the third group, the hardcore. These are the ones we see on TV, and read about in the newspapers, and hear about on the radio. These masked thugs favour intimidation and violence, or the threat of violence, to make their point.
As this writer and others have argued, they are the hardcore: the blood-libelling, committed Jew-haters who meet the dictionary definition of “terrorism.” The ones who favour the use of violence, and/or intimidation, to make a political point.
Why do they do it?
More to the point: don’t they understand that they are losing support, and not gaining it? Because, make no mistake: they are.
Lots of polls have now been done across North America and Europe. Overwhelmingly, the majority – the silent majority, for now – are appalled by the behaviour of the Hamas horde. These respondents want the police to crack down on them. And, across the board, they are becoming less enamoured with the Palestinian cause because of the law-breaking, not despite it.
• A Leger-Postmedia poll found that “a strong majority of Canadians said they believed non-permanent residents who express hate towards minorities or support for terrorist groups such as Hamas should be deported from Canada.” And “51 per cent agreed with the statement that Canadian authorities “should do more to ensure newcomers accept Canadian values.” Up to and including deportation if they don’t.
• On the protests, the numbers are even more stark: “75 per cent also backed the notion that non-citizens should face deportation if they publicly express hatred towards a minority group or support a terrorist organization.” Hamas among them.
• In Britain, a pro-Palestine/Hamas protest on Armistice Day – their Remembrance Day – outraged a majority of Britons. Not only did they oppose the protests, polling found, but a majority wanted the protests banned entirely. And a significant number, Sky News reported, believed the protests in the U.K. “have mostly been about expressing hatred of Israel and Jewish people.”
• Meanwhile, a British YouGov poll found that respondents feel – by a factor of two to one – that police there have been “too soft” on the protestors. At least “41 per cent of respondents responded saying that the rules were ‘too relaxed, and should be tightened’.”
• Meanwhile, in the United States, the anti-Palestine-protestor view is much the same. As PBS reported: “Though larger than past Palestinian solidarity protests, they still do not necessarily reflect the views of most Americans on Israel. According to a PBS NewsHour/Marist poll conducted Nov. 6 to Nov. 9, most Americans, about six in 10, said they sympathize with Israel.” And: “The Palestinian solidarity protests have not been supported publicly by the vast majority of politicians.”
There’s more polls and surveys like those, but you get the point. The protests are turning off the majority of voters across Western democracy – including those who sympathize more with the Palestinian cause. Their tactics, in effect, are blowing up in their faces.
And, of course, the literal blowing up of things – as at a Jewish delicatessen in Toronto six days ago – sure isn’t helping their cause, either.