Toronto (May 17, 2023) – In recent days, Nakba Day commemorations in Canada and abroad have turned into disturbing demonstrations inciting antisemitism, violence and Holocaust distortion.
On Monday, for the first time, the United Nations officially marked the anniversary of the “Nakba,” Arabic for “disaster” or “catastrophe,” which took place a day after the 75th anniversary of the establishment of Israel on May 14, 1948. Nakba is the term Palestinians use to refer to the creation of Israel.
While dozens of countries reportedly boycotted the event – including Canada, the US, the UK and Ukraine – the UN offered a platform to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to spout inflammatory rhetoric about Israel that included Holocaust distortion, as he likened Israel and Zionists to the Nazis, accusing Israel of lying like Hitler’s notorious chief propagandist, Joseph Goebbels.
Speaking before the UN General Assembly, Abbas also spread a series of falsehoods, including accusing Israel of committing a "Nakba" against Palestinians – conveniently ignoring the important fact that Arab countries rejected the UN-sanctioned two-state solution, which Israel accepted, and launched a war of annihilation against the nascent Jewish state in 1948. Alleging the Israeli government wants a “new Nakba,” he denied the historical Jewish connection to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. He also called for the exclusion of Israel from the UN if it does not agree to a Palestinian state and the return of Palestinian refugees, which would effectively mark the end of Israel as a Jewish state.
This came after numerous Nakba Day rallies took place around the world, including in Toronto where demonstrators chanted calls for the destruction of Israel and violent removal of its Jewish citizens. On Saturday, protesters at the rally in downtown Toronto chanted "Free Palestine, from the river to the sea, from every single Zionist," "Glory to our united armed resistance," “We will go back to 1948: one state, one Palestinian state” and "There is only one solution, intifada revolution.”
“Intifada” refers to the armed Palestinian uprisings against Israel that included murderous terror attacks targeting Israeli civilians.
Prior to the rally, FSWC had contacted Toronto Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie to express concern and confirm measures were in place to ensure the safety of the Jewish community and that hate speech would not be tolerated – to which Deputy Mayor McKelvie stated the rally was unpermitted and assured FSWC there would be a police presence.
“The Jewish community will not stand by as anti-Israel voices attack the right of Israel to exist and incite hate and violence,” said FSWC President and CEO Michael Levitt. “Repeatedly, the United Nations has allowed vile, biased anti-Israel sentiment to spread and has provided platforms to individuals who seek to promote the erasure of the world’s only Jewish state through any means possible, all while spewing Holocaust distortion and falsehoods. By giving the stage to Mahmoud Abbas, the UN has wrongfully provided legitimacy to his anti-Israel narrative and has helped feed the hateful rhetoric we see at rallies on city streets. We commend Canada and other nations that have stood by Israel’s side and support its right to exist.”