Thursday’s Israel Rally. Why it matters to us all

By Beryl Wajsman on April 20, 2015

Thursday at 11 in the morning, over 10,000 Montrealers of all faiths and backgrounds will march from Phillips Square to Place du Canada to celebrate Israel’s independence. It is important to all of us – as members of the family of free people – that we be there. Here’s why. 

If the Jewish people – in its national as well as religious manifestation - is the “canary in the mineshaft of history,” a phrase regularly employed by historians,  then Israel is the litmus test of the ability of western civilization to survive. It is the frontline member of the family of free nations facing the existential challenge of Islamist fundamentalism. It may very well be that as Israel goes, so goes the west.

It is folly to think that if only we are accommodating, then today’s enemies of freedom will leave us alone. The evidence against that banality is long and bloody. London, Madrid, Beslan, Bali, Boston the list goes on and on. To the Jihadists – including the ever-multiplying homegrown variety in our own backyard -  Israel is the “little satan” and America is the “big satan”, and all the other liberal pluralist western nations are simply various sizes of “satans” in between.  It is more important now than ever, that we not appease nor marginalize. Next month the world will be commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. We should never forget what hell the world was thrown into by cowardice that refused to stand up to evil. 

This is a time for us all to stand up - with bold resolve and confidence in the cause - and declare Islamism to be the big lie that it is. Particularly as a message to our young people in this city, too many of whom are becoming the victims of radicalization.

And as we ponder our domestic vulnerability, driven home so brutality by the murders of W/O Patrice Vincent and Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, let us not fool ourselves on another matter. Islamism is not the result of poverty or political oppression. It is a dogmatic cult built on the base appetites of bloodlust and hate. An ideology as dangerous as any other “ism” we have faced in the last hundred years, and one whose organizing principle truly seeks to re-establish a fourteenth century Caliphate built on political and religious hegemony over the free world.

But over and above the political and security implications of Israeli consequence, 67 years of Israeli independence have demonstrated the indomitable victory of the human spirit. They have been incomparable years of creativity, of sovereignty restored, of a land revived, and — even amidst violence and instability — of flourishing democracy. 

Those who insist on denigrating the Israeli experience commit monstrous blasphemies. And here is another lesson for us to learn about why Israel matters. The distortions of history which have been visited upon Israel are now being visited on the west. Moral relativism and historical revisionism poison young minds. They destroy the moral compass of our civilization and make us afraid to judge right from wrong. It is a sad and cowardly spectacle.

Let us never forget that it was the Arab states that decreed the violence.  The Arabs who rejected partition and in so doing rejected the Arab state of Palestine. The frontline Arab states who — according to no less than Emil Ghoury, the last Christian president of the Arab League — instigated the vast majority of Arabs to leave Israel during the War of Independence having promised to “drive the Jews into the sea”. And it was the Mufti of Jerusalem - who spent the war years as Hitler’s guest in Berlin raising two Arab divisions for him - who laid the foundation for today’s Islamism by demanding the  “extermination” of the Jews. A foundation upon which today’s Jihadists – led by Iran – deny the first Holocaust while planning a second.

This same existential threat is now being rained on the entire western world. Islamists have grown bolder in the face of western impotence. Israel’s emergence is the greatest collective event in the post-war history of free peoples’ struggles against tyranny. And for that reason, we need to march. We need to give living testimony, as Canadians, to Prime Minister Harper’s resolute pledge made in the Knesset – the parliament of Israel – that “through fire and water Canada stands with you.” They were redemptive words that closed the chapter on our national shame of “none is too many.”


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Beryl P. Wajsman

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