What’s behind this Canadian Zionist’s provocative publicity stunt at Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock?

temple-mount-Isaacs.jpg

Canadian Lauren Isaacs caused much resentment among Palestinians (and the entire Muslim world) when she unfurled a “Herut Canada” flag at the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem in June. In response, she claimed she was just visiting Jerusalem with her mom. But behind her apparent touristic naivety lies a right wing Canadian organization with an explicit objective. Read more…

A Jewish Canadian tourist in Israel feigned surprise at the hostile reaction from Palestinians and Muslims from around the world, after she posted on line a picture of herself holding up a Zionist flag on June 11th in front of the 1400 year old Dome of the Rock, an important symbol of the Muslim religion in Jerusalem.

In response to the anger, Isaacs told the Canadian Jewish News I think that’s ridiculous. I was not provoking anyone. And I did not intend to incite anything. Holding a flag doesn’t incite anything. It’s prideful. It’s, celebratory, it’s happy. Everyone should hold their flags with pride.”

Isaacs naive claim to not want to “incite” is hard to believe. Does she really believe that “everyone should hold their flags with pride”? If a Palestinian were to happily wave a Palestinian Flag in front of the Wailing Wall, would Isaacs also see that as simply “prideful”. Or would it be incitement? How long does she think the Palestinian would last before Israeli security (or outraged Jewish civilians) swarmed in?

No Innocent

But Ms. Isaacs is no innocent tourist. She is the newly appointed Canadian director of a Toronto based organization called Herut CanadaMs. Isaacs’ FB page tells us that she came to Herut from a previous job at Hasbara Fellowships Canada, an organization that “brings students to Israel and trains them to be effective pro-Israel activists on college campuses.”

Two weeks after her provocative stunt at al Aqsa, a bullhorn-toting Isaacs was back in Toronto leading “a small loud contingent” of pro-Israel activists attempting to disrupt a demonstration protesting the Trump administration’s “Deal of the Century.”

According to its website, Herut Canada “promotes Aliyah and supports the right of Jewish communities to live and thrive throughout all of the land of Israel, including in Judea and Samaria.”

In other words, Herut Canada is a pro-settler organization, encouraging Jews from around the world (including Canada) to move to Israel and settle, including in the West Bank. Isaacs must know full well that Canada, in line with the UN Security Council, agrees that Jewish settlements in the West Bank are illegal and against international law.

king david bombing

A violent publicity stunt. In 1946, Menachem Begin’s Irgun blew up the King David Hotel, where British Headquarters were, in 1948.

Herut was founded as an Israeli political party in 1948 by Menachem Begin, who had previously been leader of the Irgun an underground terrorist organization. Under Begin, the Irgun attacked both British colonial administrators and Palestinians in an effort to drive them out of Palestine in order to found a Jewish State.

Begin was no stranger to violence, either before or after the creation of the State of Israel. The Irgun claimed not only British Mandate Palestine but also all of today’s Jordan for a new Jewish state. (See the Irgun crest.)

Today, Herut supports the Zionist idea that Jews from anywhere in the world, be it Canada or Russia, can move to Israel and become citizens, while the Palestinians who were expelled in 1948 are prevented from doing so because they are not Jewish.

A provocative publicity stunt

Its hard to classify Ms. Isaacs’s action as anything other than a crude publicity stunt aimed at raising the profile of her organization among Jews in Canada. And perhaps at provoking a Palestinian reaction.

It seems to have worked in part. She got full coverage in the Canadian Jewish News which reported Ms. Isaacs’s claim she has received “death threats” over her actions, although that remains unverified.

Canadians (Jewish and otherwise) should recognize that this action comes at a time when Israeli police control the access to the Dome of the Rock and the al Aqsa Mosque, and often prevent Muslims from praying there. Her action was both disrespectful and deliberately provocative.

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Canada Talks Israel Palestine (CTIP) encourages and promotes a thoughtful discussion among Canadians on the Israel/Palestine issue, including a well informed and sensitive discussion about solutions. CTIP encourages serious people who disagree with any column to make comment. Disagreements respectfully offered are welcome. To learn more about what CTIP does, contact us at chair.ctip@gmail.com.

9 comments

  1. There is room for many religions to share Jerusalem, but there is no room for any individuals who claim to be a follower of one of those religions but insist that their faith-group has a right to dominate and displace the others.

  2. I participated in that demo and I can say that she is one vile person, who basks in her laud disruptive non stop voice. So when she claims that her act in front of Al Aqsa was an innocent act, is more than a lie.

  3. Flag wavers are always the last to admit their own intent, preferring to deny any responsibility for the ugly reactions their deed created and, in this case, magnifying her biased efforts when she returned to Canada to continue spewing hatred without ever acknowledging their actions were anything but a spur of the moment decision arising out of naivety.
    This young Canadian is definitely not naïve, but sadly lacking in the clarity of her own denial. Truth seems a stranger to her.

  4. The Israeli police is trying to prevent provocations like that, on my last trip to Al Aqsa ( we call it the Temple Mount ) I had to declare that I’m not going to have any prayer nor that I would pull any other provocation.
    As a liberal-Zionist-atheist-Jew praying or pulling provocation is the last thing on my agenda and yet the police searched my belongings looking for Tallit, Tefillin or a flag.
    Obviously she was able to fool the police.

    The Temple Mount is under the sovereignty of the Muslim faith and the state of Israel, by pulling that stunt and lying to the police this woman acted in defiance to both Islam and the state of Israel.
    And generally speaking acted like an idiot

    1. Hey Ahik,
      Thanks for your comment.

      I agree that the Israeli police are trying to prevent unauthorized provocations “like that”. I too was checked on the way in.
      However, as you know, there are many “authorized” provocations when right wing Jews (often, but not always, settlers) enter the Mosque under the protection of the Israeli military. It was Sharon’s entry with a thousand IDF soldiers, that was the fuse that lit the second intifada.

      Your comment seems to imply that Al Aqsa/Temple Mount is under jointly sovereignty of Jordan and Israel. My understanding is that the Temple Mount/Al Aqsa is by international agreement, under the protection of the King of Jordan on behalf of Muslims.

      I assume that Israel CLAIMS sovereignty just as it does over most of the Occupied Territories. But this is a claim that neither Canada, nor the international community accepts. I don’t think that is the law.

      1. You hold a PhD in political science and I’m just a layman. But i read Thomas Hobbes’ definition of sovereignty and based on that definition Israel is undoubtedly the only sovereign, you may not like it, but it doesn’t make it not true.
        Israel was wise to delegate many powers to the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf.

        The legitimacy of Israel’s sovereignty over al Aqsa is contested by most of the UN members, but the sovereignty itself is not. I have yet to hear on any world leader, who visited the mountain without contacting the state of Israel first.

        (In contrast many nations accept the legitimacy of Canada’s claim to Hans Island, and yet Canada fails Hobbes’ sovereignty test on that little frigid rock)

  5. Sovereignty is an interesting topic – especially considering Israel’s refusal to set borders and the maintenance of one of the longest occupation in the world. Instead of Hobb’s who wrote in a very different era and from a philosophical perspective, perhaps it is better to focus on the reality of international law in the Fourth Geneva Convention to which Israel is a High Contracting Party.

  6. Our planet is too small to have flag wavers. Israel is an apartheid state, different laws for jews and Palestinians. There is a law against flying or waving a Palestinian flag so how does that torontonian get to hold a Zionist flag

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