Daily Israel Report

Toronto: Jewish Man Told Israeli Flag 'Incites Riots'

A Jewish high school teacher from Toronto warned by local police that he is inciting a riot by carrying an Israeli flag.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 8/20/2012, 3:15 AM

Israeli flag
Israeli flag
Flash 90

A Jewish high school teacher from Toronto was warned by local police that he is inciting a riot and could be causing mass violence by carrying an Israeli flag.

According to a report on the Shalom Toronto website, the teacher was told this by police officers as he attended the Iranian Al-Quds Day rally at Queen's Park in downtown Toronto on August 18.

The teacher was interviewed by a local blog, "BlazingCatFur", and said that he had been shadowing the rally on his bicycle while waving his Israeli flag.

He said the police were telling him to get off the street, so he went onto the sidewalk and was warned he’d be arrested.

“I’ve been threatened with arrest a few times,” the teacher told the blog, adding, “I tried to talk some sense into some of the officers but they’ve just been telling me that the more I do this the more I’m inciting riots.”

The blog also presented the speech given at the rally by Zafar Bangash, a noted Islamic movement journalist and commentator and a leader of the Muslim community in Toronto. Bangash is Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT).

Bangash began his speech by claiming that the organizers of the Al-Quds Day rally are sending a message of peace, and even said “Shalom” in Hebrew. To prove his good intentions he noted that at his side are representatives of Neturei Karta in Canada, and activists of lefist Jewish groups. Bangash claimed that the presence of these Jews contradicts the argument that the participants in the Al-Quds rally are anti-Semites.

“Even before this rally had been organized, the Zionists over there and their right-wing Islamophobic media had started a campaign of vilification against us,” he claimed. “We know this right-wing media has no respect for their journalistic ethics…[but] in fact, their vile propaganda gave us publicity and you see so many people coming out today.”

Bangash also claimed in his speech that saying that Zionism means racism and apartheid does not constitute anti-Semitism.

“Bishop Desmond Tutu, who struggled against apartheid, also condemned Zionism and Zionist apartheid,” he said. “The icon of anti-apartheid struggle, Nelson Mandela, has said that if the Palestinians are not free, no one is free. The former president of the United States, Jimmy Carter, has said that Israel can either have peace or it will remain an apartheid state, and that’s a choice for the Zionists to make.”

“But any non-Jewish person who criticizes Zionist policies is automatically accused of being anti-Semitic, and any Jewish people who criticize Zionist policies are immediately branded as self-hating Jews,” added Bangash. “What kind of logic is that? What kind of freedom of speech is that?”

As “proof” of his point, Bangash distorted recent remarks made by Interior Minister Eli Yishai against African infiltrators.

“[Yishai] said that these Africans don’t belong here (in Israel –ed.) because this is our land. This belongs to the Jew. This belongs to the white man,” Bangash misquoted Yishai as having said. “Can you imagine any politician in Canada standing up and saying that Canada is a Christian country and belongs to the white man?”

Bangash went on to charge Israel with imposing a siege on Gaza, starving Palestinian Authority Arabs, keeping thousands of them in administrative detention and uprooting olive trees and destroying homes belonging to PA Arabs. He concluded his speech by saying that the Zionists can handcuff the Palestinians, but the handcuffs will say that Palestine will be liberated.