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HomeBusinessAnti-Israel protesters target Vancouver mayor’s house 

Anti-Israel protesters target Vancouver mayor’s house 

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Bob Mackin

The opponents of Israel’s war on Hamas who rallied outside Mayor Ken Sim’s house harmed their cause, said a University of B.C. sociology professor who analyzes protest movements.

“It’s not really fair game to do this with individuals in their family setting,” said David Tindall.

Anti-Israel protesters outside Mayor Ken Sim’s house on Sunday (Instagram/Samidounvan)

A video posted Tuesday to Instagram shows a group of protesters obscured by masks, hoods and traditional keffiyeh scarves marching on the morning of Jan. 28 to Sim’s Jericho-area neighbourhood.

They brought banners and flags, chanted slogans and tossed children’s toys and shoes splattered in red paint on the branches of a streetside tree. Late in the 82-second video, which said the protest took place for 20 to 25 minutes, someone off-camera shouted “they’re filming us” and another person said “cops are on scene.” Then the camera followed protesters jaywalking. 

The Instagram post said the protesters were inspired by a Jan. 13 rally outside the Montreal home of Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly. It also mentioned Sim was quick to condemn the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack on Israel and offer his support to the local Jewish community.

“In social movements, there’s always kind of more-radical groups and there’s kind of more-mainstream groups,” Tindall said. “There’s kind of a norm amongst mainstream groups, generally speaking, this isn’t really an acceptable sort of thing to do. In some ways, it’s in the same category as doxing individuals.”

The Office of the Mayor did not respond for comment.

Targeting politicians away from the workplace, including their home, is not a new tactic. In November 2013, anti-LNG protesters dressed in hardhats and high visibility vests erected a fake fracking rig on the lawn of then-premier Christy Clark’s Mount Pleasant home.

Sgt. Steve Addison, Vancouver Police Department public information officer, said nobody was arrested on Sunday. He said investigators in the Emergency Operations and Planning Section “gather intelligence about planned protests, conduct risk assessments, and communicate in advance with willing protest organizers to help facilitate a safe and peaceful environment for demonstrations.”

“We also work with individuals, businesses, and property representatives who are targets of protest activity to ensure everyone’s safety,” Addison said.

ABC Mayor Ken Sim (YouTube)

On Jan. 16, Vancouver Police said they incurred $2.5 million in overtime costs after 80 post-Oct. 7 protests and for investigating hate crimes sparked by the Israel-Hamas war. Of the 47 antisemitic hate incidents reported in 2023, 33 happened since Oct. 7. VPD said nine people had been charged and six more cases were under Crown counsel review.

Jakub Jerzy Markiewicz is facing charges of assault of a peace officer, assault causing bodily harm and wilfully resisting or obstructing a peace officer at a Nov. 14 anti-Israel protest against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Markiewicz’s next appearance is Feb. 7 in Downtown Community Court.

In November, a Surrey city council meeting was cut short by pro-Palestine protesters. In January, a majority of NDP-aligned New Westminster city councillors voted to support a motion advocating ceasefire in Gaza. Mayor Patrick Johnstone was absent and two members of the opposition New West Progressives abstained, expressing sympathy for those affected but arguing the council has no control over Canada’s foreign policy. 

Tindall expects the protests to continue across North America and Europe, particularly because of the involvement of well-resourced labour and environmental groups and the U.S. Presidential campaign.

“This is a potential factor that could possibly lead Joe Biden to lose the election against Donald Trump, because a lot of young people are involved in these movements and are very upset with the Biden administration’s fairly strong support for Israel,” Tindall said. 

The group that posted the protest against Sim on Instagram is Samidoun, whose leaders have spoken in defence of Hamas and its Oct. 7 attack.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), which represents Jewish federations across Canada, wants the Canadian government to follow the lead of Israel and Germany and ban Samidoun. CIJA’s website says Samidoun is related to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which Ottawa declared a terrorist organization in 2003. 

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