More than five thousand people jammed a darkened auditorium in mid-town Toronto tonight to show their support for Israel. Organized by the UJA and financed by a bevy of famous Toronto people, this event was in stark contrast to the flag-waving, noisy and street-swelling protests recently staged by those supporting Lebanon.
For starters, it was uniquely Canadian, from the signing of our national anthem to the profound respect accorded national leaders. Stephen Harper got a standing ovation in absentia. But, of course, Harper was a hero tonight, praised and made heroic for the same pro-Israel stance that had him denounced by those who favour Hezbollah’s tactics and goals.
There was a live feed from Israel, with the sound of explosions in the background. The crowd was silent and respectful, and throughout the tone emotional and sad, whereas the other event had been emotional and angry. There was an outpouring of words for peace, but just as many words imploring Israelis not to back down.
MPtv was there. Gisele is taking the tape back to the studio tonight for editing, and it will be posted here tomorrow.
Tonight the story has been complicated with the death of a Canadian soldier assigned to the UN, whose observation post in Lebanon was bombed by Israeli forces. Kofi Annan says it was deliberate. Ehud Olmert says it was a tragic mistake. The fog of war settles in.