Yesterday(20.8.06), in the Finnish capital of Helsinki, thousands of people from all over Finland gathered to show their support for Israel, by marching through the center of the city carrying signs of; support, calls for the Finnish gov’t to act in behalf of the abducted Israeli soldiers, and fairness from the media in its reporting on the conflict. The various Finnish news outlets reported that there were over 2500 people participating in the march, but other news sources put it around 4000.
This is the equivalent of having between 140 000 to 160 000 people marching through the center of Washington DC. I participated in the march that went very smoothly, with little counter protesting visible, perhaps due to the significant number of police that were visible along the planned route of the march, though I did spot a lone “counter protester”, who was shouting “long live Palestine while giving a nazi hand salute as we walked past.
The march included a lot of folks from all walks of life, Jews and Christians, Israelis, Finns, Americans and other nationalities, marching in solidarity with calls for peace in Finnish, Hebrew and Arabic and English. The march ended from where it began, behind the Finlandia House, where three main speakers addressed the crowd of well wishers.
Israeli Ambassador to Finland, Shemy Tzur, spoke on Israel’s intentions and concerns, and Israeli stamina, to endure whatever comes its way. He also called on the Finnish gov’t to act in its capacity as chair of the EU presidency, to demand the unconditional release of the Israeli soldiers being held by the Hezbollah.
Finnish EU Parliamentarian, Hannu Takkula, called on the Finnish government to use its influence to change current EU “double faced” policies, which on the one hand, correctly demands complete democratic change and transparency within the Belarus republic, in order for any future contact and recognition by the EU, while it showers the failed political regime of the PA (Hamas led) with all sorts of promises and good intentions.
The Jewish Community’s spokesman, Gideon Bolotowsky, offered stark examples of the current Finnish Foreign Ministry’s moral relativism, and moral equivalency and gross short sightedness, in its condemning of Israel’s response to Lebanese’ act of war. He pointed out how the Finnish FM, Erkki Tuomioja condemned Israel’s response as being “disproportionate” for the disparate number of Lebanese casualties that resulted from the conflict. Bolotowsky reminded everyone that, during WWII, Finland’s conflict with Soviet Russia resulted in over 100 000 Finns being killed. Soviet Russia however, suffered casualties four times that amount. He questioned whether or not Finnish FM, Erkki Tuomioja, would ever consider condemning Finland’s response to Soviet aggression, as being “disproportionate” as well? KGS
A friend writes that Finnish state TV YLE Radio, interviewed one of the particpants in the following way:
“In YLE’s news yesterday something interesting happened: the first report from the march at 6pm and noticed that the reporter interviewing a Jewish participant in the march first asked: “what kind of people participate in this march”, and when he answered “ordinary people” the reporter was obviously not happy with the answer and continued her interview by asking “and what is your religion”! My cousin reacted immediately and called YLE news, saying that they violated our constitution (we have freedom of religion and it is nobody’s business which religion each of us have!) etc. I saw the news only at 8.30 pm and THEN THEY HAD CUT OFF THAT QUESTION (and its answer)!”