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Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre described the video as showing “the face of the BDS movement in Canada . Disgraceful scenes of thuggery and intimidation outside Taste of Israel, a Jewish-owned store in Thornhill, randomly targeted by anti-Israel protest on Canada Day. Thank you to the York Regional Police for intervening and making arrests to ensure the safety of staff and shoppers.” (Images: Facebook video)

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In the aftermath of an impromptu Canada Day protest instigated by anti-Israel radicals at the Chabad Gate Plaza in Thornhill, a kosher store owner said his family has been threatened, and claims that York Region police failed to deter the antisemites from harassing the Orthodox community.

According to Gabriel, the owner of Taste of Israel (who asked World Israel News to redact their family name), a woman leading the protest told him ‘they have nothing against the Jews, just Zionists.’ The newspaper reported, “she also told him they know where he lives and would come to his home.”

Then on Sunday morning, he said two anonymous phone calls were received warning, “We are coming to kill you.”

A number of the protesters are vocally aligned with the BDS movement in the GTA; Gabriel’s store specializes in imported Israeli food and other products. He was very clear that while he lost important sales on the Friday afternoon as shoppers were blocked from the parking lot by protesters, his focus is on the safety of the Jewish community.

Gabriel said police refused to disperse the crowd chanting and yelling at the Jewish shoppers and storekeeps. “They did nothing about it,” he said. “They said people have a right to protest.”

“This is not about money. It’s about police incompetence. Tomorrow, they’ll come to kill us.”

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Gabriel had already been forced to deal with fake reviews of his store posted to online review forums, designed to malign his business. Jewish activists quickly mobilized to report the fake reviews and encouraged customers to provide their own in support of Gabriel.

The anti-Israel protesters originally started at the Enercare Centre in Toronto, intending to confront Meir Weinstein of the Israel Now webcast. Weinstein had noted that the Muslim Association Of Canada conference being held there was showcasing Sharia-supporting speakers with Jew-hating, gay-hating, pro-terrorism views. MAC has received substantial funding from the Trudeau federal government including “anti-hate” program dollars.

Weinstein stated he would go to the facility on Friday morning when the conference was to begin, to discuss the benefits of the Abraham Accords with passers-by and conference attendees. When he did not appear Friday morning, members of the Iran-linked “CD4HR” group took to Instagram to try to goad Weinstein for his absence. When he refused to take the bait, CD4HR put out disinformation to justify their 45 minute commute to Thornhill. 

The Jerusalem Post reported that “Firas al Najim, who joined the protests, said in a July 2 Instagram video that the group had gone to the plaza after learning through social media that Weinstein was there.” In fact, al Najim was a leader of the protesters as the manager of CD4HR, and was goading Weinstein on the Instagram videos that morning.

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Weinstein was not there and so the attention of the agitators was turned to the mall customers, trying to provoke them with vulgarities like “Shabbat shalom bitches.” He told the Jerusalem Post, “I received several phone calls about this, so I decided to go to this plaza.  And I witnessed vile antisemitism from these conference supporters.”

In a statement online on July 1, B’nai Brith Canada “strongly condemns the vulgar and #antisemitic nature of a protest today in Thornhill. The protesters targeted a plaza containing mostly kosher businesses as Jewish shoppers prepared for shabbat.”

Casting themselves as essentially the street muscle of the MAC conference, Aliya Hasan of CD4HR continued the disinformation campaign online.

As explained by Jihad Watch, “(Co-manager Aliya) Hasan, who led the protest, spun the reaction to the targeting of the kosher store as “Islamophobia,” stating that it was “a peaceful protest by pro-Palestinians in response to serious threats made by FBI-designated terrorist organization, the JDL [Jewish Defense League] towards the Muslim community.”

The Jerusalem Post reported, “CD4HR was one of the groups involved in a rally in April in which participants praised terrorist and rocket attacks. Hasan herself made several remarks in support of terrorism and called for the destruction of Israel.” Jihad Watch described the registered non-profit as “(attempting) to rewrite history and strip Israel of its ancient heritage — despite archeological evidence — and supplant it with “holy Palestine.”

The day after their Canada Day harassment of Jewish shops and customers, CD4HR manager Firas al Najim took to Instagram playing the Islamophobia card, referring to Toronto-area Zionists as an “influential wealthy evil community that supports war crimes against the oppressed Palestinians day and night.” He has also proclaimed his support for Hezbollah and Iran in the recent past. (Image: IG)

A Facebook page, Thornhill Local News and Events, provided additional background on the owner of Taste of Israel and mentioned it had been targeted previously with harassment:

This wasn’t the first time it happened, the very same group of Anti-Semites tried “Boycotting” the store through failed attempts back in 2019. And all due to its name and its affiliation to Israel. Kind of funny considering the fact that Thornhill is more than 33% Jewish, and has the most pro Israeli community in the Diaspora outside of Israel.

People love watching local business owners engage in true camaraderie like Gabriel did on Friday when he stepped out of his store and stood up for his community. 

Well-regarded in the community for almost 40 years, Taste of Israel has endured repeated harassment from anti-Zionist elements bent on destroying their business. (Image: Facebook) 

In response, al Najim posted “the plaza had a store and @cd4hr had an old conflict with him and we wanted to raise the honourable Palestinian flag and the intolerant Zionist war criminal supporters went barbaric.”

In the past, al Najim has expressed support for the Iranian regime and for Hezbollah.

He concluded, “Hey, get used to it from now on. That “Israel” has many enemies and they will NEVER be silent. NEVER AGAIN.”

Marty Gold is the Editor-in -Chief of TheJ.ca. Known for investigative reporting, he has specialized in covering municipal and provincial politics, and a wide range of sports and entertainment, in newspapers, magazines, online, and on his first love, radio. His business and consulting experience includes live events and sales, workplace safety, documentary productions, PR, and telecommunications in Vancouver, Los Angeles and across Canada, and as a contestant on CBC-TV Dragons Den.

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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!

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