Anger and dismay at the recent terrorist attacks on Jewish Israelis is being channelled into constructive action.
A campaign by the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) to mobilize grassroots community members is getting a huge response.
“When we first posted the video, ‘What would we do?’ to Facebook, it received close to 100,000 views,” said Martin Sampson, director of communications at CIJA. “We expect that to go up… This campaign is almost entirely focused on social media.”
The objective of the campaign is to raise awareness among Canadians about the ongoing threat of Palestinian terrorism and the incitement that fuels it.
This is not the first time that CIJA has invited action from the community.
“Recently, when the Iran deal was being signed, we asked the community to speak up as well,” said Sampson. “However, the current campaign is different in two aspects. First, the response has been larger than we’ve ever had, and the campaign is broader in scope. We’ve had tens of thousands of views of the video and thousands of people signing the petition, and we’ve sent hundreds of emails to the foreign minister.”
Response has gone beyond the Jewish community as well, he said.
“We have a lot of allies and friends in the non-Jewish community who are horrified and deeply saddened by the attacks on Israeli civilians.”
Two websites are part of the campaign with www.takeactionisrael.ca aimed at the pro-Israel community.
“It’s a place where they can take meaningful action,” he said. “The second website, www.learnmoreisrael.ca, is aimed at Canadians who want to be educated about Israel: elected officials and their staff, media, Canadians of good will; anyone who can influence policy. That’s who we want to educate.”
While CIJA started the campaign early in November, it was paused in respect for the victims of the terror attacks in Paris.
“Then, on November 19, when we heard of the horrific attacks in Israel, we decided to start up the campaign again,” said Sampson.
“We want people to take meaningful action by signing a petition and contacting Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion with the explicit request that he speak out again Palestinian terrorism. All that can be done through takeactionisrael.ca.”
Since the beginning of October, 17 Jewish Israelis have been murdered and more than 150 wounded in terrorist attacks.
Palestinian political leaders, religious officials, and media have applauded the attackers as “martyrs,” spread vicious anti-Jewish conspiracy theories, and called for more attacks against Jews.
The advocacy agent of the Jewish Federations of Canada, CIJA is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of Jewish life in Canada.
“Like many around the world, we are extremely concerned about the rising tide of violence against Jews in Israel, perpetrated by terrorists who are incited to violence by the Palestinian leadership,” said Shimon Koffler Fogel, CIJA CEO. “We want to provide our community with a meaningful way to stand up for our extended Jewish family in Israel who are living under constant threat.”
The Take Action campaign is designed to raise awareness about the violence and what drives it, he said.
“Questions we are asking Canadians to consider include: ‘What would we do if this were happening in Canada?’ and ‘What would we expect our allies to do if Canadians were being run down, stabbed, and shot in the streets?”
The campaign will run as long as the current wave of terror continues.