Pro-Palestine Protest at TMN Displaces Zionist showcase

Barry Weisleder

The photos below show scenes of the pro-Palestine rally held on March 27 at the entrance to the Student Campus Centre of Toronto Metropolitan University (ex-Ryerson U). The occasion was a protest against the publicized appearance of a Zionist speaker, a 25-year veteran of the so-called Israeli Defense Forces whose chosen mission is to promote the “good neighbour” policies of the Apartheid state — in other words, to whitewash its crimes of occupation, blockade and violence against the Palestinian people. The university canceled the Zionist showcase due to “lack of adequate security”, but apparently not due to TMU’s supposed commitment to de-colonization, cited as a reason for changing the name of the university about a year ago.

Socialist Action, and the rally initiator Dr. Paul Salvatori, convened an ersatz public forum on the street. It featured lively speeches, chanting and songs. One of the speakers was Kiri Vadivelu, the Municipal Socialist Alliance candidate for mayor of Toronto, the first Tamil-Canadian to run for that office. (He took the photos attached below.) A dozen people signed Kiri’s candidate nomination papers on the spot, and several bought “End the Occupation – Free Palestine” buttons.

Other speakers included Navid from a Palestine solidarity organization, Jake Javanshir of the Toronto BDS Coalition, Elizabeth Block of the same group, who beautifully sang her re-written Palestine solidarity version of “Jerusalem of Gold”, and Barry Weisleder from Socialist Action who denounced the recent Zionist pogrom against the residents of Hawara on the West Bank, and demanded that the Canadian government end its complicity with the Occupation.

Passersby paused and joined the protest. Reporters from two local student newspapers interviewed event spokespersons. For blocks in both directions a pulsing chant reverberated: “From the river, to the sea, Palestine will be free!”

Photos: Kiri V.