Hundreds of pro-Arab, anti-Israel activists protested on Sunday night outside the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, where the Jewish National Fund (JNF) was holding its annual fundraising gala Negev dinner.
The protesters were carrying signs and banners protesting against what they called Israel and the JNF’s "apartheid policies". Some were also holding up signs in protest of the “blockade of Gaza.”
Local police were on the scene, preventing the protesters from entering the building and pushing away additional protesters who were on nearby streets.
Sunday’s event was attended by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is expected to announce his first trip to Israel at the annual fundraiser.
Responding to the protests, JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler said, "This is an incident which is part of a long-standing false campaign of de-legitimization that has targeted the State of Israel and the Jewish National Fund in particular. These and other actions will not deter the Jewish National Fund and its supporters around the world from continuing to represent the State of Israel and working to strengthen it.”
Sunday’s incident was not the first time that anti-Israel protesters have targeted a JNF event.
In October, as the organization held its annual meeting in the city of Denver, Colorado, a group of anti-Israel protesters gathered outside the residence of Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper as he hosted JNF representatives.
They carried signs accusing Israel of genocide, and called “Israel out of Palestine,” and, “Long live the Intifada.” Intifada is the Arabic word commonly used to refer to the terrorist war on Israel, which has killed thousands of Israeli civilians.
At the time, Stenzler told Arutz Sheva that this is far from the first time that anti-Israel protesters have targeted JNF. Similar protests have been seen in France, Belgium, South Africa, and other countries as well, he said.
“Everywhere that there’s a JNF office there are protests, because we do Jewish, Zionist activity,” he declared.
“But at the same time, we help minorities,” he noted. However, he said, “They don’t let the facts get in their way. We don’t plant a single tree on land that doesn’t belong to the state of Israel, but like I said, they don’t let the facts stop them.”
Photos by JNF.