After watching his fellow pro-Israel ralliers get attacked by a pro-Palestinian mob, one average Canadian citizen wanted to send a message, not just to the thugs who sent 6 people to the hospital, but to the entire world. If you doubt that average people can do big things, you haven’t met Ron from Calgary, the founder of StopARocket.com.
Amused by the idea of a crowdsourcing campaign for the Iron Dome, I reached out to the folks at StopARocket.com to see if I could get a handle on the folks behind the fundraiser. It turns out that the “folks” is one guy named Ron who was willing to do an email interview. Obviously the guy has a day job. Most of his responses were sent in the wee hours of the morning, illustrating how dedicated he is to what he refers to as a simple, but profound way for Israel lovers across the globe to show their support for the civilian defense of the free world. Ron’s humble, straightforward responses illustrate how much we can accomplish when we’re willing to embrace Ben Carson’s axiom “Think Big”.
Please start by telling me a little about yourself and the group ForCanada. What is the group’s purpose? What are the goals?
I’m a private professional in Calgary. I attended a pro-Hamas rally a few weeks ago that degenerated into a violent mob that sent six people to the hospital. I’m worried not just about Israel’s safety in the Middle East, but the safety of Jews and non-Jewish Zionists in the west, including in North America.
For Canada is the committee that organized the pro-Israel rally last Thursday in Calgary. They agreed to let StopARocket.com use their mailing address and bank account to collect cheques from people who don’t want to use PayPal.
What drove you to fundraise specifically for the Iron Dome, as opposed to some kind of humanitarian aid for Israel (i.e. supplies for soldiers, etc.)? Shouldn’t military aid be managed by government officials?
Supporting Iron Dome is merely symbolic. I read a CNN article that said each Iron Dome anti-missile costs $62,000 so that seemed like an achievable fundraising goal. As we say on our website, we will ask the Israeli government to put the money towards the cost of one anti-missile, or any other civilian defence expenses to protect Israelis. It’s only for defensive efforts to protect civilians. But Iron Dome has captured the world’s imagination as a symbol of Israel’s ingenuity and value placed on life.
Are you working with any officials in Israel to coordinate this effort?
Before we launched the website, we confirmed with the Israeli embassy in Canada that they would support this project and would help us direct the funds to the appropriate agency in Israel.
How do you plan on transferring the money to the Israeli government? It seems almost strange to think of a group of non-government individuals trying to pay into a national defense budget. Will you write a check and mark “Iron Dome” in the memo line?
The Israeli embassy said that all sorts of fund are regularly received by Israel and that they would ensure this was handled properly. This is similar to other efforts such as a campaign to buy bomb shelters.
What kind of response have you received since starting the crowdsourcing campaign? Are your donors primarily from Canada, or are you seeing a worldwide response?
The response is very encouraging — $17,000 as of this morning (August 6), from 226 contributors, and it hasn’t even been 5 days yet. Most are from Canada and the U.S.
What kind of long range impact do you want the Stop A Rocket campaign to have on Western culture? Why should the average Canadian or American worry about the Iron Dome in Israel?
Israel has millions of friends around the world — like me — who want to do something more than just clicking “Like” on a Facebook page about Israel. This allows us to do something both symbolic and tangible. This is a small effort — we’re just trying to raise $62,000. But in the future, perhaps larger projects could be supported by many thousands of Jews and non-Jews.
Of all the nations in the world facing crises at this moment, why work so hard to fund Israel’s military defense?
As I explain in my short video, Iron Dome has been a bright spot — it has neutralized the chief weapon of Hamas, and that has not only saved Israeli lives, but has also given Israelis more confidence, including their political leadership.
To be candid, the thing about Internet crowdfunding is, it doesn’t require working so hard. We recorded a video and wrote a basic website. The rest is up to hundreds of people around the world. And it’s not hard work for them either, thankfully — just a few clicks.
The StopARocket.com campaign ends on August 14. As of the publication of this interview, the site has raised over $18,000 for Iron Dome defense.