(This story has a happy ending, I promise!)
In my last article, I told the story of a street advertising sign that a supporter arranged and paid-for in order to share my message that Jews are owners, not occupiers. It was located in Toronto, in the Bathurst St. and Wilson Hights area.
I was pretty pleased with the sign and the creativity behind it by Israel land rights advocates Joe & Renanah Gemeiner, and planned today to send out an inspiring email to my mailing list showing it off. The email will go out, but it won't be exactly the same...
Late last night, several people notified me that the great organization, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC), had posted on Twitter (image below) and in an article that they had called the advertising company and demanded that it come down because of its antisemitic message. The completely unintended impression left by the tweet and article was that IsraelTruthWeek.org had put up a message of hate towards Jewish people. Here's the tweet w/pic by FSWC:
Renanah and I were more than a little shocked. As you can see in the image below, a Jew-hater removed the letters spelling 'NOT' in our sign to create what could appear to be a semi-literate slur of 'occupation' as well a reference to Jews 'owning the world.' At least one Israel-hater on Twitter read it that way and suggested they would continue to support 'violence' against Israel (original tweet now deleted).
Here's what the original sign looked like, as tweeted by Hebron Jewish leader Yishai Fleisher:
Mark, you promised a happy ending, remember?
After reaching out, I was very pleased to hear back from their Director of the FSWC Campaign Against Anti-Semitism And Racism, Jaime Kirzner-Roberts. We had a great conversation. She explained that she knew the sign had been pro-Israel, and she realized after speaking to me that FSWC's communications could leave the wrong impression (several supporters of mine were indeed disturbed that I was seeming being labelled antisemitic) and she promised to have the messaging addressed.
She also helped me understand that the vandalized message raised the possibility of people interpreting the remaining 'JEWS ARE OWNERS!' as being consistent with the despicable trope that Jews 'own' and control the world.
"The sign was intended to promote a pro-Israel initiative called Israel Truth Week, and originally read "Jews are owners, not occupiers!" before it was vandalized."
They also posted an updated tweet on their Twitter timeline that makes it clear Israel Truth Week wasn't the 'bad guy' in this story:
My understanding is that the sign is now gone, and my supporter is trying to get the sign back up with a security screen.
I couldn't have asked for more, but there is more...maybe, thanks to the Jew-hater who tried to destroy our message of hope and truth about Israel's land rights.
Naturally, during our conversation, I took the opportunity to introduce the FSWC Director to my work teaching pro-Israel people how and why to confront the 'occupation' blood libel tactically and strategically using a Mandate For Palestine-based moral argument taught in my Liberating Israel training (which you can access here for free). She seemed interested, so we agreed to be in touch. Connection made.
I don't know yet if the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center will be interested in what I do, but it's a possibility that wouldn't likely have happened without a Jew-hater vandalizing our sign. You've got to love that, especially if you're a believer. Numbers 22-35 tells the story of how G-d used a talking donkey to save the life of Balaam who was disobeying His instructions. If G-d can use a donkey for good, He can certainly use a Jew-hater. Isn't that great!
(SIDENOTE: A friend named Gary McHale who gave up everything he had to speak for the voiceless, terrorized people during the Caledonia crisis believed that G-d sent him on that mission. He told me to read Numbers 22 when I asked him why I, an unbeliever, was helping him fight for justice. He said, 'If G-d can work through a donkey, He can work through you." I've never forgotten that lesson.)
BONUS: Why does the Mandate For Palestine matter so much and why is it so important to liberate Israel from the 'occupation' blood libel? I started to explain some of my thinking here, but it quickly turned into its own post:
- IsraelTruthWeek.org, Mark Vandermaas, July 01/20: Why Does The Mandate For Palestine Matter
POSTED BY: Mark Vandermaas, Founder/Trainer, Israel Truth Week.
Mark Vandermaas trains Zionist activists to liberate Israel from the ‘occupation’ blood libel via his Israel Truth Week 'Liberating Israel' project. He has been called a ‘Damn Zionist’ by his enemies and an ‘Honorary Jew’ by his allies. He has organized pro-Israel conferences, appeared on Jewish and Christian TV for Israel, and personally trained over 650 Zionists and other pro-Israel people using his 'Jews Are Owners, Not Occupiers' message. His rule-of-law activism during the Caledonia crisis has been cited in two books: the bestselling Helpless, by Christie Blatchford, and in Gary McHale’s Victory In The No-Go Zone.
Copyright 2017-2020: Mark Vandermaas