The annual Jewish counter-demonstration to the Israel Day commemoration began in 2003 in a confrontation that saw 2-3 Zionists cross the boulevard René Lévesque to surround the Jewish counter-demonstrators. The police intervened with the Montréal Riot Squad and placed themselves in between the two parties. However, instead of defending the counter-demonstrators the police turned towards the dissidents and surrounded us in order to push us out of the area and end our protest. Shields were used to hit the protesters and we were pushed down into an underground parking while the Zionists spat down on us from the ground level above. Next day saw the affair on the front page of the only English language paper. Ever since, we have placed ourselves in their face so to speak and denounced the Zionist State as Jews. From the first the Neturei Karta came to uphold Judaism against Zionism
The major addition to this year’s Jewish protest at the Israel Day commemoration was the 35 Lev Tahor Chasidic community members from Ste-Agathe, north of Montréal with Rabbi Elbrans. The traditional contingent from Monsey, New York State was the Neturai Karta delegation with Rabbi Weiss. Sackcloth was worn to denote the mourning of the event. The Lev Tahor community was very vocal and chanted a Hebrew prayer to denounce the Zionist event. In comparison, the 10 leftist Jews were few in number and lacked the enthusiasm of the Chassids! The six adherents of the Independent Jewish Voices Montreal present completed the regular Jewish People’s Liberation Organization leftist presence. The police confined the protest to the opposite side of the boulevard unlike the previous years. The local CTV network did not even identity the counter-demonstration as being Jewish in character. The Zionist organizers misrepresented the size of the Zionist rally, which was actually less than 5,000 in number, together with the bussed-in school-kids. With the Zionist presence reaching a ceiling of 5,000 and the annual Jewish counter-demonstration growing to be 40 this year the balance of forces are evidently beginning to shift in Jewish political culture.