TORONTO — Employing images that invoked western capitulation to Hitler in the 1930s, punctuated with chants of “Never Again,” about 200 people gathered near the U.S. consulate in Toronto early this afternoon to express their objections to a treaty they fear will lead to the development of an Iranian nuclear bomb and an increase in terrorism.
(Organizers estimated the crowd at 400 people.)
“We are here to say no,” said Pastor Charles McVety, president of Canada Christian College. “A generation ago, Christians were silent in the face of the massacre of the Jewish People. Christians have learned that we must not be silent again.”
McVety, national chair of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), was one of several religious leaders to address the rally and voice their concerns about the recent nuclear arms treaty negotiated by the United States, several European countries and Iran.
Invoking wartime British prime minister Winston Churchill’s warning that Germany should have been confronted when it was weak, McVety said “we now have a world making a similar mistake.”
Joining McVety as speakers were rabbis from the Orthodox and Reform streams of Judaism, as well as a number of Christian clergymen.
The event was MCed by CUFI CEO Frank Dimant. Dimant and Rabbi Daniel Korobkin, spiritual leader of Beth Avraham Yoseph of Toronto, and Robert Walker, director of Hasbarah Fellowships of Canada, organized the rally, which was timed to coincide with a much larger protest in Times Square in New York City.
The Toronto rally was a “grassroots” effort and “a healthy expression of people wanting to do something, because many feel we are re-living the 1930s and they remember that the world was silent,” Dimant said. “The hope is to show the American Jewish community and the American Congress that there are friends of the United States who feel the Iranian treaty is a danger, not only to the Middle East but to the world.”
CUFI has written to Canadian MPs asking that they contact their Congressional colleagues “to try to stop the deal,” he added.
Rabbi Korobkin said he was “very disheartened” when the deal was first announced. With the Times Square rally already scheduled, he felt “that we in the Jewish community had to express something, that it is not OK with us and that we stand in solidarity with American Jewry and with Israel.”
Organizers also want to send a message to the Canadian government that the Jewish community is not silent on the deal and that it supports continued imposition of sanctions targeting Iran.
Rabbi Korobkin said he, Dimant and Walker first discussed a rally last week and plans quickly snowballed.
Dimant called on his contacts in the Christian community and Rabbi Korobkin did likewise with his colleagues in the Jewish community.
Walker said that in the end, some 40 Jewish and non-Jewish organizations lent their support to the initiative.
Addressing the crowd, Rabbi John Moscowitz, rabbi emeritus of Holy Blossom Temple, said Jewish history showed that when a bully proclaims his intention to destroy you, he will try to carry it out.
“The mullahs brag about their intentions. So did Hitler. So did Haman,” he said, referring to the prime minister in ancient Persia whose attempt to kill the Jews is recounted in the Book of Esther.
The choice is not between a treaty and war, Rabbi Moscowitz said, contradicting U.S. President Barack Obama.
“That lie won’t fly,” he said.
Rabbi Moscowitz called for the same sort of tough sanctions that brought Iran to the negotiating table in the first place.