They’re being paid to protest.
What many have suspected has now been confirmed by this newspaper and a few courageous Canadians: pro-Palestine – and, increasingly, pro-Hamas – protestors are being paid to protest. To block highways and roads. To intimidate and threaten Jews and non-Jews. To cause chaos.
They’re being paid.
In years past, anti-Israel protests were typically small, disorganized and ineffective. Not many people came out. Since October 7, when 1,200 Israeli men, women, children and babies were slaughtered, and hundreds taken hostage, the protests have been dramatically different.
Hundreds, sometimes thousands, participate. They’ve got professionally-rendered signs and banners. They’ve got transportation, and food and drink. And they’ve got organizers who wear uniforms and control the crowds.
And who distribute the cash.
This week, this newspaper was alerted to the fact that a Victoria, B.C. organization was distributing thousands of dollars to anti-Israel protestors. The Plenty Collective, as it calls itself, created what it called a “Solidarity Fund” for Victoria-area “folks or groups” to pay for “costs related to supporting or organizing actions in solidarity with Palestine and Palestinian people.”
Said the Plenty Collective: “This fund is to help cover costs incurred when organizing or participating in local actions. This can include, but is not limited to, the costs of lost wages, supplies, items for fundraising, paying speakers, etc.”
Priority was given to Palestinian, black or Indigenous people. And thousands have been paid out for weeks now – typically close to $20,000 every month. The Plenty Collective did not respond to multiple attempts to seek comment.
Ian Ward is a municipal councillor for Colwood on Vancouver Island. He, along with local activist Charles Bodi, discovered the pay-a-protestor payment scheme. And he’s seen the effectiveness of the paid-protests up close. Says he: “They are highly organized. I’ve watched them. A van pulls up, and they’ve got flags, signs, and they’ve got organizers from the Plenty Collective wearing orange vests controlling the crowds.”
“And they have control because they are holding the cash for the protestors.”
Much of the money is being generated locally, says Ward, who was the first to break the news that Victoria city councillor Susan Kim – along with Ontario MPP Sarah Jama – had signed on to a pro-Hamas letter that denied Israeli women and girls were sexually assaulted on October 7. But some of the money, he says, seems to be coming from elsewhere: “We don’t see them being this organized, and this well-funded, without offshore money.”
It’s not just happening in Victoria, B.C. In the U.S., there is now confirmation that anti-Israel – and often anti-Semitic and violent – protestors are getting paid to protest. A multimillionaire tech mogul, Neville Roy Singham, has – along with his wife Jodie Evans – have been bankrolling pro-Palestinian protests since last year. Their “People’s Forum” has organized multiple anti-Israel protests since October 7 – including a number of efforts designed to “shut down” public and private sector offices. On November 24, they posted on X: “Are you ready to disrupt business as usual? No celebrating in peace while genocide takes place!”
Some of the anti-Israel funding has seemingly been right out in the open. On Craigslist, a now-deleted November ad read: “We are looking for 5-7 actors or activists to hold panels and distribute flyers in front of a venue as a peaceful, legal protest. Needed for November 24th, evening, 2-3 hours, paying $30/hour.”
November 24 was the same day, of course, as the pro-Palestine “shut down” protests, where 34 were arrested trying to disrupt the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and Black Friday sales.
“They’re paying for protestors to try and lend credibility to their movement,” says Ian Ward. “October 7 was just stage one. These carefully-crafted and controlled protests are a public relations campaign, and I think are the real objective.
“They are really an attack on Western democracy and Western values. Our way of life is literally being challenged here. And we are in danger.”