My latest: hate on tape

It’s the tale – the tell – of the tape.

You’d think after Rodney King, the anti-Israel cabal would know: everyone carries a camera and a camcorder in their pocket, these days. And, if you do something bad – cursing at an elderly Jewish woman, say, or vandalizing a sign for a Jewish religious group, or peering through the windows at a Zionist writer’s home – you’re likelier to be caught than in 1990.

In the very next year, 1991, Rodney King was nearly beaten to death by four Los Angeles police officers, at gunpoint, during a traffic stop. Someone videotaped the beating, which put King in the hospital for days. The four officers were charged with multiple offences because of the tape, then acquitted by a jury without a single black person on it. Riots started, and dozens of people died in the aftermath.

So, videotape evidence of hateful acts have become pretty important since Rodney King.

Ask Soheil Homayed and Hussein Salame, of the Canadian sales firm YESA, for example. A few days ago, these two hulking men showed up at a pro-Israel rally outside the big shopping mall in Belleville, Ont. They started to curse at an elderly Jewish woman, who looked to be about 90 pounds soaking wet. Here’s what they said to her, while someone else recorded the exchange off to the side.

Homayed, holding up his phone and apparently filming the woman, sneers at her: “You support genocide!” Salame, standing beside him in a YESA hoodie and sunglasses, repeats the allegation, then says: “You stand for murder!”

Both yell “F— Israel” a few times, and someone, possibly another person, seems to tell the Jewish woman to “go back to Israel.”

The elderly Jewish woman is completely unfazed by Homayed and Salame, who tower over her.

“We’re not bothering you! Go over there,” she says, pointing at a group of pro-Palestinian protesters who have set up down the block.

Homayed and Salame curse at her some more and then slouch away.

Since they were wearing YESA insignia and employed there, we contacted the company.

“Both of these gentlemen received corrective and disciplinary actions of a serious nature,” a spokesperson said, refusing to say what the “serious nature” discipline was.

She wouldn’t say if they had been dismissed, either, although photos of the two men are (for now) not found on the YESA website. Asked about the apparent “go back to Israel” comment in emails, Homayed did not respond.

Another incident was also caught on tape. on Monday.

Just 24 hours after 50,000 Jews and allies marched up Bathurst St. in Toronto for the UJA’s Walk With Israel, two masked men appeared on Bathurst. One was holding a Palestinian flag. As cars and trucks go by, they commenced vandalizing a sign promoting a pro-Israel event hosted by the Jewish Charity Chabad Ontario.

A resident happened to be at the corner of Bathurst St. and Wilson Ave. and started filming. In the resulting video, the pair can be seen crossing out the word “Israel” with black marker and drawing an inverted red triangle below it, along with the words, “Free Gaza.”

Why the red triangle? Because it’s a symbol of Hamas. Hamas use the red triangle to identify Jews who have been marked for a targeted killing.

So, one day after 50,000 Jews celebrated being together, anti-Israel types show up to literally promote assassination of Jews. In broad daylight.

Facts Matter, a group that opposes anti-Semitism (and which was founded, in part, by this writer), notified Chabad Ontario and the Toronto Police Service, who are now investigating.

Final example of video evidence, closer to home: while I was at the Walk With Israel event, an unidentified man was caught on tape peering in windows at remote and unlisted rural home – and, later, moving in and out of the home of a “neighbor” who has publicly accused Israel of genocide. The OPP are investigating that, too.

Moral of the story, for Canadian Jews and their allies: always keep your phone close, and always be ready to capture some video.

You never know when it might come in handy.

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Father’s Day.

 One by one they were all becoming shades. Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age.

Twenty years ago right about now, my brother Kevin called me from Kingston General Hospital to tell me that our father was dead. “He is with Nanny and Pappy,” Kevin said.

I rushed to the hospital and ran up the stairs and stood at the doorway of the tiny room in which Dr. T Douglas Kinsella MD, OC, had died, very early on June 15, 2004. It was a small room, and my father had refused an offer to put him in a larger one, in the very building where he had saved and healed lives many years before. Better that someone else use it, he had said. He was like that.

I couldn’t look at him, but I couldn’t not look at him. No one spoke. I loathed Father’s Day after that, because I had lost mine.

Through the window of his room, if you were at the right angle, I recall you could see shiny, tiny white sailboats bouncing on Lake Ontario, like little flickers of light. I felt angry at the sailboats, that morning. Why couldn’t they be still? Didn’t they know this great man who had died? How could they not know? Why were they not in mourning, as we were?

Because he was a truly great man; he was. When I was young, I assumed that everybody had a Dad like that. But I eventually learned that they didn’t, and that my brothers and I were very, very lucky.

What a man he was. What a giant in our lives he was!

He came from a poor Irish family in Montreal. As a boy, he overcame rheumatic fever, and decided that he would become a doctor to help those who experience that affliction, and other afflictions. He served in the military, won distinction at Loyola and McGill, and he married my Mom – this radiant, boundlessly-beautiful, dark-haired artist from the East End – and they raised us four boys in Montreal, then Dallas, then Kingston, then back to Montreal and then on to Calgary. He published papers and books. He won awards. He received the Order of Canada.

Some nights at the dinner table, when it got quiet, he’d offer the same piece of advice to me and my brothers and my best friends: love people, and be honest. He always followed that advice, without fail. Me, not so much. I think about that whenever I think of him, too.

And what would he think of the life I have had? That is something that every son wonders about every father, whether they admit it or not. I certainly do. And what would he think of two of my sons, or two of the women I lived with? Would he think less of me, or them?

Even though it has been 20 years, I can still hear his voice; I can still see his handsome face. And, like so many sons of so many departed fathers, I would truly give anything to spend an hour with him again. To ask him what he thinks, to ask him what to do.

About my fight against bigots and haters, seemingly everywhere in these dark days, I think that he would tell me to keep going, but to be careful. About my writing and art, he would tell me to never let those things go, I think, because they offer a bit of life after death. About those I loved and now despise – he would tell me to forgive.

Father’s Day, my father’s final day: I have no acquired wisdom to pass along to you, even after 20 years have slid past. Just the obvious, the thing that you have heard one hundred times: that life goes by so quickly, like a bit of cloud on a blustery day. It arcs across the sky and is gone before you know it. So, cherish every moment of joy. Hug those you love. Dance, sing, laugh. Forgive, if you can.

A couple of nights ago, I was on the 401 and signaling to go into the slow lane and exit at Cobourg, when I saw – in the corner of my eye – a truck barreling towards me at what look like double the posted speed. I swerved and he missed me by maybe a foot; I almost felt it on my skin, it was so close. I exited, and this madman continued rocketing up the 401, moving in and out of traffic until he was out of sight. I hoped he didn’t hurt anyone.

It was only when I stopped that I realized I had come pretty close to getting killed by him. And, when I thought about it – maybe a bit shaky,  certainly a bit breathless like I was at the door to that hospital room 20 years ago – I thought I came within a foot of seeing my Dad again.

And I regretted that I had lost that chance, because he is an angel now – on this, my Father’s Day.

My latest: Hamas U.

Their heroes take hostages.

So, now, they’re doing likewise.

Right now, today, that’s what us happening at California State University in Los Angeles: a pro-Hamas gang – after illegally occupying university property for weeks – have taken hostages. As I write this, somewhere between 50 and 100 “protestors” have blocked the ground floor exits at the Student Services Building at CSU, and set up barricades around the building.

They vandalized the inside of the building, stolen equipment, and used trashed vehicles to set up a barricade at the front of the building.

And they took hostages, just like their Hamas heroes in Gaza.

The school’s president, Berenecea Johnson Eanes, was “sheltering in place” in her office on the eighth floor on Wednesday and Thursday. And an unknown number of staff were being held inside the building, too. Meanwhile, outside the building, university employees were told to leave, quickly, because of the potential danger.

CSU spokesman Erik Hollins said: “I can confirm that there are still a small number of administrators in the building. We are working through options to bring this fluid situation to the best resolution possible.”

Across Canada and the United States, there are dozens of illegal occupations of university campuses like CSU. They claim to favor divestment of dealings with Israel. But – after a certain number of assaults of Jews and Hitler salutes and displays of Hamas symbols – everyone knows that just isn’t true, anymore.

After witnessing months of well-funded, well-organized “protests” at places of so-called higher learning, we all now know the truth: if you are wearing a mask at an “encampment,” chanting about genocide by the Jewish state, you are an antisemite. Full stop.

So who is overseeing this antisemitic madness on North American campuses? Who is really running the Jew-hating show at Canadian campuses like U of T and McGill, and American campuses like CSU and Columbia?

Picture a flowchart, with Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at the centre. It is the ringleader. It is the not-so-hidden hand. And it has hundreds of chapters across Canada and the United States, and now controls antisemitic and anti-Western activity at those campuses.

SJP’s activities are overseen by a shadowy group called National Students for Justice in Palestine (NSJP). The NSJP was created by something called American Muslims for Palestine (AMP). SJP is the offspring of NSJP, in effect, and NSJP is the child of AMP.

And AMP, as described in pleadings filed in the state of Virginia a few weeks ago, is “Hamas propaganda division” in North America. Anyone watching the insanity at places like CSU and McGill – which also saw a university building occupied a few days ago, until Montreal police drove them out with batons and rubber bullets – isn’t surprised by that. SJP, NSJP and AMP are pretty open about what they do, and how they do it.

But AMP, the grandparent of all this, is very, very circumspect about its ultimate parentage: it is a creation of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is behind every Islamic terrorist organization on Earth.

The Muslim Brotherhood created a Palestine Committee in the U.S. in 1988. That committee was itself made up of several organizations, like the Holy Land Foundation, the Islamic Association of Palestine and the American Muslim Society. All of them, it turned out, were working directly with Hamas on public relations efforts in North America.

But they all got caught. They were found criminally and civilly liable for aiding and abetting a terror group. They were shut down.

And then, just a few years later, a new alphabet-soup of pro-Hamas organizations rose out of the ashes of the old ones. They were led by most of the same people, at the same offices, doing the same things: AMP, NSJP, SJP. Except, this time, they’re being careful. They’ve learned their lesson.

Lane Kendall is a researcher and academic in the U.S. and has worked to untie the new web of pro-Hamas front companies and organizations. In an interview, Kendall said: “If you look back far enough into how SJP came to be, it connects directly to the Muslim Brotherhood. And the Muslim Brotherhood is very much a terrorist organization that is at the foundation of every terrorist movement in the Middle East. Without the Muslim Brotherhood, the SJP doesn’t exist. So that’s why we all should be concerned about SJP – because they’re very much in bed with, and funded by and organized by, the same people that are funding and organizing Hamas and Hezbollah.”

But why do terrorists bother with privileged, inexperienced white college students in the U.S. and Canada? Says Kendall: “The organizational power of students is underestimated. I’d be willing to bet, for example, that the Liberal Party of Canada depends very heavily on young voters. And if the Liberal Party has to cater to young voters, and all of a sudden young voters have the same policy that terrorist organizations have? Well, now you have terrorist organizations able to directly influence policymaking decisions at the highest levels.”

And, now, they’ve become so bold – and so indifferent to the rule of law – they’re taking hostages and shutting down public institutions. Concludes Lane Kendall: “We need to get to the bottom of the funding and the control of these organizations. Right now.”

Will we? Or will it take another hostage-taking – or a killing – to force us to finally act?

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“Necessary sacrifices”

CNN — 

The military leader of Hamas has said he believes he has gained the upper hand over Israel and that the spiralling civilian death toll in Gaza would work in the militant group’s favor, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal, citing leaked messages the newspaper said it had seen.

“We have the Israelis right where we want them,” Yahya Sinwar told other Hamas leaders recently, according to one of the messages, the WSJ reported Monday. In another, Sinwar is said to have described civilian deaths as “necessary sacrifices” while citing past independence-related conflicts in countries like Algeria.

My latest: a rally for sanity

Fifty thousand people.

Fifty thousand!

By any standard, that’s a lot. That’s about the population of Belleville, Ont. or Saint-Hyacinthe, Que.!

This week’s Walk for Israel was perhaps the biggest event of its type – ever. Bigger than the Covid-era protests, bigger than the Black Lives Matter rallies, bigger – in particular – than most of the anti-Israel, pro-Hamas hatefests that have been polluting Toronto streets for months.

The UJA Federation of Toronto, and the Toronto Police Service, deserve a lot of applause for pulling off an event of that scale – with little to no trouble. Just a bit of rain, but no one seemed to mind.

The 50,000 walked up Bathurst Street on Sunday morning, then gathered at the UJA’s leafy Sherman Campus, a little bit South of Finch. There was dancing, singing, play areas for kids – and lots of solemn displays to remember the victims of the October 7, 2023 massacre.

Some pro-Hamas types tried to disrupt the proceedings at a couple spots along the route, but Toronto police and private security the UJA hired kept them at bay. One pro-Hamas group even tried to break in to the festival area, but police caught them and sent them packing.

Lots of federal, provincial and municipal politicians were there. But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow, notably, weren’t among them.

I spoke to some people about that. “I’m really mad at Olivia Chow,” one woman told me, citing Chow’s claim that it was “divisive” to acknowledge Israel’s flag on that country’s Independence Day. “But she should be here.”

Trudeau’s name was met with a lot of eye-rolling, too. His government has bobbed and weaved on Israel’s justifiable war against Hamas for months, trying to please all sides – and ending up pleasing no one. But he, too, should have been there – particularly with a crucial by-election in the Toronto St. Paul’s riding coming up soon.

So why weren’t Trudeau and Chow present?

They might have had other engagements – that’s an excuse politicians regularly (and falsely) deploy. But missing out on an opportunity to sway 50,000 voters to your side? Not smart.

Chow and Trudeau’s apparatchiks might also claim that there was no point in showing up – they’d get booed. They’d get yelled at.

Maybe. Perhaps. But anyone in public life knows that brickbats always accompany the bouquets. It’s part of the job. And, besides, there’s an easy way to avoid it. Just heed Democratic Party legend Tip O’Neill’s advice: “Never get introduced at a public event.” Simply show up and shake hands. That’s it. Word will get around.

Chow has falsely claimed the sight of Israel’s flag is “divisive,” as noted. Trudeau has wrongly accused the Israeli government of war crimes. By showing up, they’d be implicitly lending their support to the Benjamin Netanyahu government, their people might claim.

But again, they’re wrong. Showing up at a party with bouncy castles isn’t expressing support for a government waging a war seven time zones away. It’s showing support for a Jewish community who have been vandalized, defamed and firebombed in Canada in recent months. A community that feels isolated and unwanted. Showing support for people under siege is being a leader.

But Olivia Chow and Justin Trudeau aren’t being the leaders we expect them to be. They just aren’t. Increasingly, it seems they believe in a Canada where some citizens are more equal than others.

At the end of the Walk for Israel, as people walked to transit or their cars or their homes, some important things were achieved.

One, fifty thousand people showed up. That is a lot. That is a huge, massive success.

Two, there was no trouble. It was a joyous, pro-Israel, pro-Canada event.

Three, the people who mattered came out. The ones who don’t, didn’t.

Four, the walk sent a clear message: Canadian Jews and their allies won’t be intimidated. They won’t be silenced. They won’t give up.

And those things made it a very good day, indeed.