August 1, 2019
MONTREAL – B’nai Brith Canada is sounding the alarm after a Jewish man was assaulted by a taxi driver amid a barrage of antisemitic slurs over the weekend.
On Sunday, July 28, the victim, who has asked B’nai Brith not to share his name publicly, was visiting his elderly parents at a condo building in the Saint-Laurent borough of Montreal.
While waiting for a cab operated by the Taxi Champlain company to stop blocking the underground garage, the victim heard the taxi driver shout, “I won’t move for any f***ing Jews!” The driver then allegedly threatened to kill the victim, who is visibly identifiable as a Jew because he wears a kippah, or Jewish head covering.
The victim then attempted to photograph the taxi number in order to file a complaint, at which point the driver exited his car and punched him repeatedly until a parking supervisor intervened. The victim’s phone was also smashed.
Much of the incident was captured on a nearby security camera. The victim’s injuries were sufficiently serious to force him to visit a nearby hospital.
“This is a shocking antisemitic hate crime, in which someone could have been gravely injured or even killed,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “Our thanks as a community go out to the good Samaritan who stepped in before this event became even uglier.”
B’nai Brith is in touch with Montreal Police Service, who are investigating the incident and contacting Taxi Champlain to gather evidence.
Coincidentally, also on July 28, another Jewish resident of Montreal was subjected to antisemitic death threats, this time at a Tim Hortons in the city. This incident was also captured in part on video.
Quebec had the largest provincial share of antisemitic incidents in 2018 according to B’nai Brith’s Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents, which found that 709 of Canada’s 2,041 total occurrences took place in the province.
Many local Jews, especially those who wear the kippah or other visible signs of Jewish identity, have reported feeling less secure in the shadow of Quebec’s Bill 21, which bans religious garments such as the kippah from various public sector professions.