It took a genocide for Torontonians to commit themselves to the goal of defeating Israel. It turns out Iranian President Akhmedinejad was right after all. 'Israel' must be wiped off the map. It is an ugly cancer that could kill its Earthly host. But it will disappear only by the will of the people, Palestinian, Canadian, Jewish-Christian-Muslim united. 

The Palestinians have been at it from 1917, the year British Lord Balfour (arch anti-Semite) wrote his poison pen letter offering a Jewish state in the soon-to-be British colony Palestine (to rid Britain of Jews, but tastefully, not like Richard I in 1190 or Edward I in 1290). We fellow colonials are late off the mark, only recently acknowledging our own guilt for our genocide against Canada's natives, but our efforts to stop funding genocide are equally vital. Better late than never.

My Jewish friend warned me that police seem to have a directive to intimidate, beat up, arrest, so 'Watch out!' When I arrived across from the US Consulate, it looked low key. No hate-filled Zionists trying to drown us out, like at previous demos. No police in sight beyond the ones blocking University Avenue.

The crowd was festive, joining in chants till the speakers came. As if on cue, the Revolutionary Communist Party made a stylish march past, shouting about revolution through class war, waving their bright red flags with hammer and sickle, like a voice from the past. 

That nostalgia continued with a battle-scarred aging Jewish feminist recalling her earlier militancy in 1970s Toronto (abortion and Vietnam). The police on horseback trampled them, this before Canada had a constitution which protects the right to protest. Thank you Trudeau Sr, though I heard a 'genocide Justin' crack, and recent police brutality suggests that for them, we are 'on notice'.

The protest spokesman recounted the litany of police nastiness at recent demos, the last where they choked off the demo and then started beating up protesters, seizing the truck with loudspeakers. Then, issued a press release claiming they, the police, were the victims and the protesters were terrorists. Ha! They tried the same tactics this time but organizers were prepared and the confiscated truck was replaced. But it seems the police were on their best behavior after that.

As we marched, I mingled to check out slogans. From the river to the sea, Palestine is almost free morphed into From the sea to the river, Palestine will live forever. Lots of Jews, looking thoughtful and subdued. Jews against genocide, Jews against ethnostates.

An intriguing I condemn أمك

Your mothers?! I asked the protester. 'Mothers of the soldiers killing Palestinians.' Ahh, he was thinking of all the Palestinian mothers (especially pregnant) and children that have been the main targets of Israeli soldiers (female soldiers too brag on social media about killing Palestinians).

And a sad looking Einstein: It is with great sadness that I see Zionists doing to Palestinians what Germans did to Jews. And Move Israel to Florida. Another, a clever cartoon of Justin Trudeau and Mayor Olivia Chow with comic bubbles Next election? I'll air drop my vote.

The star attraction was the  Grim Reapess (feminine of reaper?) with a wagon of baby dolls covered in blood, her hubbie in top hat ringing the bell of the Apocalypse. And an outsize Palestinian flag which an agile volunteer weaved among the marchers, fluttering in the breeze (and in our faces), like we were a flotilla come to rescue the Palestinians from starvation.

Old codgers like yours truly were a tiny minority of the 2,000 celebrating the last Friday prayer day of Ramadan. Lots of baby carriages and teens, a wonderful cross-section of Canadians, as many whites as browns. And a feeling of celebration. The crowd knew: we are going to win this one. And it will change the world. For the better. Unless Israel unleashes its arsenal of nukes as their ship sinks. 'They are loony. They will take us all with them,' my Christian Palestinian friend said with a shudder.

Almost forgot: Free Palestine! Free Pakistan! Yes. Imran Khan is right up there with Hamas' Yahya Sinwar and IRGC's Qasem Soleimani as heroes in the struggle to free, free, free Palestine!

My heroes this al-Quds Day - Sinwar, Soleimani, Khan

I feel elated too, after weeks of feeling the battle is lost. No. Muslims are in this for the long haul. The Crusaders managed to occupy Jerusalem for a century, massacring any Jews or Muslims who were there to greet them. Richard I fought there (and was treated nobly by Salah al-Din, who defeated the Crusaders).

We are in the right. Israel's genocide in Gaza has put it on notice. The Grim Reapess's death knell tolls. I may not live to see the happy day, but I will die assured that as long as there are Palestinians alive, the battle is not lost.


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Canadian Eric Walberg is known worldwide as a journalist specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. A graduate of University of Toronto and Cambridge in economics, he has been writing on East-West relations since the 1980s.

He has lived in both the Soviet Union and Russia, and then Uzbekistan, as a UN adviser, writer, translator and lecturer. Presently a writer for the foremost Cairo newspaper, Al Ahram, he is also a regular contributor to Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Global Research, Al-Jazeerah and Turkish Weekly, and is a commentator on Voice of the Cape radio.

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Eric's latest book The Canada Israel Nexus is available here