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“How can this be happening in Canada in 2021”

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Not a single mainstream media outlet covered the pro-Israel ‘Stop The Hate’ rally on Yonge Street in Toronto on May 30. (Photo: Facebook)

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VANCOUVER

“To the people that are trying to hurt and threaten me, please think about what you’re doing.”

The owner of Ofra’s Kitchen in Vancouver went public with recent threats to her business that left her shaken and concerned about the potential for antisemitic violence by so-called pro-Palestinian protesters.

Ofra Sixto posted about her concern on Facebook:

“I was born in Israel and immigrated to Canada 30 years ago. I consider myself an Israeli-Canadian. On Monday (May 24) there was a large Palestinian protest on the street in front of my café in Vancouver. I went outside to see what was going on and I was called a racist and a murderer by people on the street. Now people are writing horrible things online about me and I have been receiving calls to my café from people threatening to kill me and rape me and cut me in pieces. I have had to call the police multiple times and now have security cameras being installed in my store.”

A Vancouver Police Department spokesman told Global News they have attended three calls to the Denman Street establishment this year, “all very concerning,” and confirmed “our hate crimes unit has been advised.”

“I am fluent in Arabic and have regular customers from all over come to my cafe to visit,” explained Ofra in her post, “But now I’m worried to go to my own restaurant. I am worried when I see a new face coming through the door. My kids don’t want me to be there by myself. Many other Jewish businesses in Vancouver are feeling the same fear. How can this be happening in Canada in 2021.” 

CALGARY

B’nai Brith Canada filed formal complaints to Calgary police after protesters on May 16 were seen on video “at 9th Ave SW and 1st Ave SW – in the very heart of Calgary – chanting in Arabic: “Remember Khaybar, oh you Jews, the Army of Muhammad will return!” BB also complained to police of similar chanting at protests in other locations.

Jared Shore, co-president of the Calgary Jewish Federation, provided an op-ed to the Calgary Herald on May 27:  “The hateful rhetoric seen at rallies and online has led to threats and violence aimed at Jewish communities, including ours here in Calgary. As a Jewish community, we see our young people targeted by their peers with falsehoods thrown viciously around social media, rallies that call for the destruction of Israel, threats to our institutions, acts of physical intimidation directed at our community, and our Holocaust survivors and children witnessing calls to “kill Jews.”

Shore, who has been part of the Calgary Federation’s Community Relations Committee for 15 years, concluded:

“We pray for a day when Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace, side by side, and as importantly, we pray that Calgarians can demonstrate that peaceful coexistence in our own backyard, rather than import the conflict here.”

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TORONTO

No one wants to report a specific estimate of crowd that attended the Nakba 73 Rally at Nathan Phillips Square on May 15. Police said 5000, observers suggested up to 15,000. One reason might be a reluctance to attach a tangible measurement to the level of antisemitic agitation in Toronto. As pro-Palestinian protesters displayed a swastika and hailed the attacks by Hamas on Israel, police had to evacuate a small contingent of pro-Israel demonstrators; violent attacks on Jews were recorded throughout the downtown.

UJA reported there were over 50 antisemitic incidents in the month of May alone in the GTA; CIJA said the details included Mock eviction notices posted on the doors of Jewish homes in The Annex, a vehicle flying a Palestinian flag with occupants calling a Jewish family “baby killers” as they drove past, and graffiti tagging a parking lot used by a synagogue and daycare.

The grassroots pro-Israel community, however, did not wait for their local federation to schedule a public show of strength and organized their own.

“Stop The Hate”, a rally held on May 30 at Mel Lastman Square, delivered spirit, speeches, music and “A Message of Love and Unity”. Presented by Canadians For Israel’s Legal Rights, Jews Against Antisemitism, 3GTO (Toronto Grandchildren of Holocaust Survivors), and the United Grassroots Movement, one thousand people attended and the video has been viewed by an added 6,000.

Agnes Imami, a central figure with three of the sponsoring groups, said after: “Thank you to the wonderful young gentleman who worked so hard to pull this off and to United Grassroots Movement. This could not have happened without all your hard work.”

At deadline on Wednesday, Toronto Mayor John Tory issued a statement denouncing the threats to the safety of Jewish residents.

“I have heard the valid concerns of the Jewish community, and I stand with them against this hatred… We will not let hatred take root in our city, and we will not let it grow. This is why our Toronto For All public education initiative this year will target anti-Semitism and why we have worked to put in place policies to stop hate rallies in our city.”

Azerbaijani- Canadians came to the grassroots rally on May 30 in Toronto to show theirn= support for Israel and their Jewish neighbours. (Screencap: PerspectivesTv Toronto)

LONDON

A faculty member of Western University is the subject of a formal complaint after he stated that Jewish students who are Zionists should be “boycotted and sanctioned.”

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) has submitted a complaint to Western University regarding a bizarre and offensive tweet written by Professor Ziad Solh, who stated that Jewish heritage and culture was celebrated for “hundreds of years until Zionism came” and that if Jewish students’ “culture is Zionism at the expense of the Palestinian people, they should be boycotted and sanctioned.”

FSWC asserted, “Any suggestion that Jewish students, Zionist or otherwise, should be boycotted by the university or any other institution is outrageous and blatantly antisemitic. We urge your administration to speak out regarding this statement by your faculty member and send a message that antisemitism in any form is totally unacceptable at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.”

MONTREAL

On Saturday, May 15, 2021 ‎the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM)- حركة الشباب الفلسطيني‎ and Fondation canado-palestinienne du Québec hosted a rally in commemoration of the Nakba (Commémoration de la Nakba) in Montreal. Canadadocs reported that pro-Palestine protesters were taped holding a swastika that was imposed on an Israel flag and a sign that read: “Zionism is Nazism.”  Loud and angry protesters made their way to the Israeli consulate and Montreal police used tear gas to try to stem the violence. A pro-Israel gathering the next day was attacked with rocks and calls of  “Dirty Jews” and “Death to Israel.”

In response, Federation CJA CEO Yair Szlak spoke out:

“Our community’s leadership has forcefully called out the hateful incidents of recent days for what they are: Antisemitism, pure and simple. Nothing justifies rock throwing and assaulting people at a peaceful rally. There are no excuses for driving through Jewish neighbourhoods with the intent to terrorize Jews. Death threats and threats of violence against Jews on the street or online are horrendous and must be unequivocally condemned. Jews are not fair game, no matter your position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We must all stand united against hate. There is simply no room for antisemitism or hate of any kind in our society.”

A week later, the National Assembly unanimously adopted a motion condemning the antisemitic incidents targeting Quebec’s Jewish community.

In an opinion column in the Globe and Mail, CIJA CEO Shimon Koffler Fogel stated, “Attacking Jewish Canadians because of a political conflict in the Middle East is the definition of bigotry. Boycotting Canadian businesses because they are owned by Jews is wrong. Having to advise Jewish Canadians to think twice about donning a kippah or Star of David necklace before going out is horrifying. If you want to keep this toxicity out of Canada, demand that Jewish hatred be challenged for what it is – a poison to our society – if for no other reason than the fact that history repeatedly warns us that what starts with the Jews never ends with the Jews.” 

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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