Hat's off to Israel Truth Week Spokesperson, Mark Vandermaas

March 20, 2019

Last week in Toronto, speaker for Hasbara Fellowships, Mark Vandermaas, creator of Israel Truth Week (ITW), did a masterful job of educating Jewish students about Israel's legal rights arising from the Mandate for Palestine.  Mark shared a personal report and photos, which we are delighted to share with You.

We thank Mark for his creativity and tenacity in getting the truth out; we thank Robert Walker and his great team at Hasbara Fellowships for their vision and organization, and we thank Aviva Polonsky, President of the Hebrew Teachers Federation for her amazing enthusiasm and support.

Students are the Jewish Future.  The Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation and Canadians for Israel’s Legal Rights are proud to be associated with these inspiring and committed leaders.

Sincerely,

Goldi Steiner & Irving Weisdorf
Co - Chairs
www.israelslegalrights.org

March 12, 2019

 

It's been a while, but I don't send emails unless I have something to say.  So here goes...

1. You won't believe what I've been doing all this week!

A week ago Wednesday, Rob Walker, Exec. Director of the Hasbara Fellowships (www.HasbaraFellowships.org), asked if I could come to Toronto to speak to some Jewish high school students.  He had one class confirmed and was working on others.  We thought I'd do maybe 3 classes.  Well...

On Monday I trained one class of high school students in the morning, then a York U fraternity group in the evening.  Tuesday was 2 classes at another Jewish HS, but the teacher Ms. Polonsky (photo below) was so impressed she asked if I could come back Wednesday to do her other 2 classes.  When I arrived for her AM class on Wednesday, she introduced another teacher to me who asked me to teach her class next.

On Monday I trained one class of high school students in the morning, then a York U fraternity group in the evening.  Tuesday was 2 classes at another Jewish HS, but the teacher Ms. Polonsky (photo below) was so impressed she asked if I could come back Wednesday to do her other 2 classes.  When I arrived for her AM class on Wednesday, she introduced another teacher to me who asked me to teach her class next.

Then, when I arrived for Ms. Polonsky's afternoon class she let me know that another teacher whom I had met in the staff lounge that morning was bringing HER class to sit in on the training.  Four classes of students in one day, thanks to this great teacher.  Wow! Tomorrow, (today I guess!) I'll be doing one final training at a Jewish boys' school in the morning.

(above: Goldi Steiner, Ms. Polonsky, Rob Walker, Mark Vandermaas)

 

What a week! I'm exhausted, my throat is sore and I couldn't be happier about it!  It's been an emotional week because when I was 18 I read Pastor Martin Niemoller's famous poem that ended with this line, 'There was no one left to speak for me,' about the importance of speaking up, and I swore I would never be silent if Jews were under attack again.

To be able to share the news with these kids who were the same age I was then that they can go to bed knowing, beyond all doubt, that their people did NOT steal land - that feeling was incredible.  If someone had told me when I was 18 that I would be doing this today I would have never believed it.  It is humbling and sad at the same time that our Jewish brothers and sisters are again facing a rising, evil tide of hatred, boycotts, demonization and false accusations.  This time it is the fake 'occupation' narrative that is being used to incite violence against Jews and steal their land, just like the Nazis of old.

2. None of my training would be possible without Irving Weisdorf, CoChair of Canadians for Israel’s Legal Rights (CILR), who has donated every single one of the now over 650 training booklets given to each student of mine.  This time, he and his staff had to print a bunch on very short notice, then had to print even more.  Irving is CoChair of the Canadian Anstisemitism Education Foundation which sponsors Speakers Action Group, as well as CILR.

Thanks to friends, Renanah and Joe Gemeiner who hosted me for the week and took me tonight to shul to hear a teaching about humility.  What a pleasure it was.  I think I definitely have to find a rabbi in Moncton!

Goldi Steiner Co-Chair of CILR drove me around, as did journalist Doris Epstein, and both sat in on classes.  Goldi and I worked together to ensure some copies of the late, great Salomon Benzimra's book, 'The Jewish People's Rights to the Land of Israel' were given to teachers. Salomon was my mentor re the Mandate For Palestine.  You can support CILR or buy Salomon's book here: https://www.israelslegalrights.org/donate

3. I am doing all my online advocacy at www.twitter.com/israeltruthweek now.  In light of Facebook's outrageous censorship and privacy abuses, I decided to delete my account there.  Please do follow me on Twitter if you can, and I'll return the follow.

4. Liberating Israel Training (what I'm teaching the kids): I urge you to take my free 'Liberating Israel' training program to see what all the kids are learning (their version is shorter to fit class hours).  If you've already done so, please share it.  During my training I teach not only the basics of Israel's land title deed, but how to create and defend a moral argument against the 'stolen land' narrative.  You can also watch Salomon Benzimra explaining the history of the Mandate For Palestine at my 2014 ITW conference.

5. IF YOU RECEIVED THIS EMAIL FROM A FRIEND: you can sign up to receive my news and action alerts directly via this form.

Regards, Blessings and Shalom,
Mark

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