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Martha Harrington

Al Quds Day: When Anti-Zionism becomes Anti-Semitism?

“Al-Quds Day” is a celebration of Al Quds, Arabic for “Jerusalem,” but it extends far beyond Palestine—the event is advertised with the goal of raising awareness of issues in the Middle East and concerns regarding peace and justice abroad. Taking place annually on the last Friday of Ramadan, the rally’s general purpose had been advertised to “support peace” and “end the killings, end the oppression, [with an aim to] end the apartheid [in Israel]”. This past “Al Quds” Day included a rally that took place on August 28th at Queen’s Park. During that rally, footage was shot that some say demonstrates how the event turned into an atmosphere of hate and moral distress. Raw footage captured at the rally display the “dehumanization” of the Jewish people by participants. Recordings also show members of the crowd waving and raising Hezbollah flags and joining in chants to accentuate the messages that were announced by the main speakers at the event. The Queen’s Park rally, which summoned between 150 and 200 people this year, revealed a different tone from what the event has been advertised to stand for, raising the issues not of liberation but instead of anti-Zionism and subsequently anti-Semitism. Although the gathering during “Al Quds Day” is intended to be a celebration of Palestinian liberation, some of the speakers proved that they truly believed in the opposite: the oppression of the Muslim people. Steve McDonald, the Associate Director, Communication for The Center for Israeli and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) expressed his concern with what he saw as prejudice, hypocrisy, and ultimately anti-Semitism at the gathering. McDonald said that those who had participated in the rally played an “offensive and deceptive game,” “using anti-Zionism to perpetuate some very anti-Semitic ideas.” McDonald identified the rally as having been put on by the Canadian and… Read More