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Discover, Watch, Listen: Climbing Mount Sinai & Building a State

Today I have two offerings for our community. 

Climbing Mount Sinai

Two days ago, a protest in downtown Toronto started at the Israeli Consulate and then travelled south along major city streets. Organized by the Palestinian Youth Movement, it was an urgent “Hands Off Rafah! Emergency Action” gathering. At some point along the way, some of the participants scaled the scaffolding and portico in front of Mount Sinai Hospital, started shouting chants (“Long Live the Intifada”, “There is only one solution, Intifada Revolution”, and  “From the River to the Sea” ), banged on the hospital windows, and waved Palestinian flags. 

In response, several politicians condemned protesters demonstrating at this Hospital, including PM Justin Trudeau who said: “The demonstration at Mount Sinai Hospital yesterday was reprehensible. Hospitals are places for treatment and care, not protests and intimidation. I strongly condemn this display of antisemitism. In Toronto and across Canada, we stand with Jewish communities against this hate.”

Mount Sinai Hospital has deeply Jewish roots and was founded by the Toronto Jewish community: “In August of 1913, four immigrant women from Toronto’s Jewish community started knocking on neighbourhood doors to raise money for a hospital. The Jewish immigrant population in Toronto was burgeoning; most of the new immigrants didn’t speak English and were afraid of large institutions.  And, sadly, not a hospital in the city would give Jewish doctors a place to practice.”

Toronto4Palestine said it is “shameful” to see the Prime Minister and other elected officials call their “peaceful protest” antisemitic.

“[Mount Sinai hospital] just happens to be along our regular rally route, which we pass by on a usual basis, as we head to rally in front of the U.S. consulate…The irony is that portraying the raising of the Palestinian flag as a hate-motivated act of antisemitism is its self-perpetuating anti-Palestinian racism.” (https://www.cp24.com/news/toronto-police-investigating-demonstration-outside-of-mount-sinai-hospital-after-trudeau-calls-it-reprehensible-antisemitism-1.6767187)

As this is an evolving story, I am not sure how I feel about it. Was it intentional to scale this particular hospital? Was it just a coincidence that scaffolding was in front of Mount Sinai? Is any part of this antisemitic?

The Ezra Klein Show

The Ezra Klein podcast has a fascinating episode from this past Friday called “Building the Palestinian State With Salam Fayyad”. Listening to the conversation felt like I had a front row seat to a world, a history, and a perspective that heretofore had been out of reach to me. I am grateful to Ezra Klein and the whole New York Times Opinion Audio for this educational and helpful hour.

Salam Fayyad joined the Palestinian Authority in 2002, became the PA’s finance minister, and then served as the PA’s Prime Minister.  “His theory was that instead of waiting around for the peace process to deliver Palestinian statehood, he would just build a state – institutions, infrastructure, security, sewers and all – and then statehood would follow.” (from the show notes of the podcast episode).

From Rabbi Ilyse Glickman:

This is our ongoing blog series to introduce the DJC community to podcasts, books, websites, and other media offerings that may expand our understandings of the current war in particular and Israel/Palestine more broadly. I hope you listen/watch/read these recommendations with curiosity, openness, and empathy. Please let me know what you think about today’s offerings: rabbiglickman@djctoronto.com. I look forward to the conversation.

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