Suzanne Weiss is a Holocaust survivor and a Palestinian solidarity activist based in Toronto. Weiss advocates for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel and accuses Canada of being “the world’s number one apologist for the Israeli government and its oppression of the Palestinians”.
According to Weiss Israel, which she calls a “colonial project of ethnic cleansing”, engages in “new and terrible ethnic cleansing”, land grabs, theft of resources and apartheid.
During the 2014 annual Al-Quds rally in Toronto, Weiss honoured the “victims of Israeli savagery in Gaza” referring to Israel’s defensive war against Hamas – designated as a terrorist organization by the Canadian government – during which Israel was targeted by thousands of rockets and mortar attacks against its civilian population, with some Israeli areas targeted that had three times the population density of Gaza. Weiss accused then Prime Minister Harper of supporting “Israeli mass murder” and called on the Canadian government to break all ties with Israeli “apartheid”.
On February 4, 2017, Weiss spoke a protest against the policy of US President Donald Trump in front of the US Consulate. The demonstration was organized by Black Lives Matter – Toronto (BLM TO), the self-proclaimed “coalition of Black Torontonians resisting anti-Black racism, state-sponsored violence and police brutality” which has recently launched a nation-wide campaign called “National Days of Action Against Islamophobia & Deportations”.
The following is a transcript of Weiss’ speech:
It is an honour for me to see you here and be here with you today. I speak today as a survivor of Hitler’s Holocaust against the Jews. Nazi murderers, they murdered most of my family and six millions of my Jewish community. Like many other Holocaust survivors I am here only because courageous people reached out to protect us.
Jews fell victim to fanatical hatred born of white supremacy. This evil doctrine is still alive today. A week ago when the White House made its annual statement on the Holocaust, it left out mention of the crime against the Jews. That is Donald Trump tipping his hat to white supremacy. White supremacy today targets above all people who are black, Latino, Asian, Islamic.
Why Islam? Why Islam? It [Islam] is a great world civilization that before being devastated by colonialism created a realm of tolerance and refuge, and yet racist hate leads a white supremacist to massacre innocent worshipers in a Quebec City mosque just as in the South Carolina black church.
But we do not let such crimes define us. We defend and welcome refugees, victims of war, bombardment and racism, whether they be Syrian or Palestinians who are particularly close to my heart, Iraqi or Mexican or indigenous, or black. We say to the Canadian government, sweep away the laws and regulations that victimize Muslims and other refugees and migrants in this country.
We thank the indigenous nations for welcoming us to this country and for their courageous defence of their land. We are proud of our diverse ancestry that has made this city a rainbow of nations and beliefs, Islamic, Christian, Jewish and the many other faiths of our country. Let’s us say and mean it: Never Again the Holocaust! Never Again for humanity! Never Again!
Ilana Shneider is the co-editor of CIJnews and the founding executive director of Canada-Israel Friendship Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the mutually beneficial, long-standing diplomatic, economic and cultural ties between Canada and Israel. She can be reached at [email protected]