Objectively, the demo was very small – half a minyan of our IJV chevra. A far greater number specifically expressed interest and support but were unable to come. Rick Marcuse was the fifth and last to arrive, giving us immediate and undisputed hegemonic numerical superiority over the four police officers who were sent in to keep the peace. In addition, our ally Rev. Don Grayston of Building Bridges Vancouver and a young fellow I don’t know named Tim also came. Together we seven created a presence for about an hour outside the building where the CIJA conference was and engaged about a dozen or so people in conversation including several who were at the conference.
Subjectively, my sense is that it was well worthwhile to simply protest visibly and publically against CIJA doing business as usual. The simple fact that we were there – despite our small numbers – meant that the assumptions implicit in CIJA’s intentionally distorted perspective were being challenged. In addition, through our various social media connections we had impact far beyond what we accomplished on the Granville Street sidewalk this afternoon. People learned through Facebook, Twitter and other media about this Jewish protest against CIJA and its militant support for Israel’s violence, injustice and repression. Even though we had a very small numerical presence, the fact that we did this action at all reached hundreds of people and builds toward the future.
I hope in the future we will collaborate more effectively and make a bigger impact. We need brief, crisply-worded, well-designed and well-produced literature pieces to hand out -- like what Jewish Voice for Peace has in the US. And, I think we need more creativity about actions that communicate effectively with the public – more catchy than standing on the sidewalk holding signs with slogans on them.
I thank everyone in the IJV-Vancouver chapter who contributed to this today. All members who join and support the chapter were effectively part of our presence there today. A special thanks goes to Sheila who supported this idea from beginning to end and who made the signs for the demo and brought them today.