Monday, July 31, 2006

Vancouver Rally for Israel... and for humanity

My friends, what an evening.

Thanks to a divine piece of luck, I glanced at an old article from the saturday paper lying around and discovered that there was to be a pro-Israel rally held tonight in Vancouver, BC. The two-day old article offered no address, time or description of any kind, other than a passing mention of the rally itself (the article's main focus was on the reader of the koran's savagery in Seattle last Friday).

Conducting the world's fastest online search I found the event advertised here, in connection with the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver. And with less than an hour left to get there I tore off to participate. (just made it in time) When I arrived I didn't know what I would have in store, whether a parade, a gathering on steps outside a building, or what. Turned out to be an indoor event taking place within a beautiful synagogue.

The whole evening was so emotional; my mind is still awhirl from the display of courage, compassion and out-and-out humanity that filled my world tonight. I've never felt so... alive before.

The evening kicked off with a humble gesture of gratitude to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, for standing with Israel on principle.... whereupon there erupted a spontaneous, thunderous, standing ovation, growing and growing in volume, and judging by the hesitation by the speaker at the podium, unanticipated by the organizers of the event. Not unwelcome, I hasten to say: just unexpected. Hundreds of people clapping on and on and on... Thank God for having Harper, a man with moral integrity, be the leader in office at this time of crisis.

A spirited performance of both the Canadian and Israeli national anthems, then a heartening prayer, followed by a rousing speech from Ed Fast, Conservative Member of Parliament for Abbotsford (a riding on the eastern outskirts of the Vancouver area). I really admired his talk, such moral clarity coming from a politician... why is it so rare to hear an elected representative admit, in public, that hizbollah (the party of allah), and its members, are evil??

My heart went up and down all night, from admiration and pride at the brave resolve in the face of the unrelenting evil of our common foe, to horror and anger at the reprehensible double standard that the world shackles the great nation of Israel with. For example, the world is awash in pictures of the one hundred thousand lebanese fleeing north, but mute about the one million Israelis desperately fleeing south or huddling underground. One in seven israelis under attack... and the world sides against Israel, choosing instead to stand with the side of the enemy of humanity: the party of allah, hizbollah.

The one emotion that stayed with me throughout the night, to my shame, was fear; after what happened in Seattle last week, after what happens all around the world, who could say we would not be attacked right here in Vancouver? Every few minutes I would feel the need to silently pray that the evening pass without incident, without attack. The readers of the koran who love death as we love life would not hesitate to kill this lone christian sitting among the many jews inside that inspiring synagogue, they would not sift their victims to spare anyone from their thirst for infecting the world with their despair. The readers of the koran fire their rockets from hospitals, schools, crowded apartment buildings, indifferent to the innocent lives shattered by both their rain of death as well as the return fire; if the readers of the koran don't even care about co-religionists of their own faith, how much less must they care for us?

For one evening, in my hubris, I felt what it might be like to be Israeli... and my admiration for them has grown even more than it was before.

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