May 16, 2021
In the past week, Israel has been under attack, facing thousands of Hamas rockets, rioters burning synagogues, and much more.
Canada’s Jewish community also has been under attack, albeit in a different way – a massive outpouring of antisemitic hate, much of it online, but also at schools, businesses and even in the hearts of our own neighbourhoods.
In London, Ont., a Nazi flag was publicly displayed at an anti-Israel rally. In Toronto, a Jewish man was denied service and chased out of a U-Haul franchise. In Thornhill, a man on a motorcycle accosted local Jews and accused them of killing children. Saturday night, pro-Israel counter-protesters were brutally beaten in downtown Toronto. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Last week, B’nai Brith Canada warned elected officials, law enforcement and the media of the potential for violence and COVID-19 super-spreading at anti-Israel protests. Sadly, our warnings went largely unheeded. Now that we have been proven correct, we will continue to demand accountability from those charged with safeguarding our community and broader society.
At the same time, B’nai Brith continues to take immense pride in the resilience of our community. While rulebreakers held illegal mass gatherings, selfishly putting public health at risk, grassroots Jewish activists organized a pro-Israel vehicle convoy down Bathurst Street in Toronto and Thornhill, broadcasting Jewish pride while keeping everyone safe. Similar events are being planned in other cities across the country. We salute grassroots activists for their efforts today, and every day.
As Israel and Jews face increasing hostility, B’nai Brith is not backing down. On the contrary, we are redoubling our efforts. Last week, we reached tens of thousands of Canadians, if not hundreds of thousands, through important pieces in the Sun chain of newspapers and the National Post. Of course, the battle continues on social media as well.
If you’re experiencing antisemitism – whether online or in the “real world” – we need to hear about it. Pass this message along to your friends and family. There are multiple ways to report; you can reach us at [email protected] for incidents involving violence, vandalism or harassment in the “real world,” and at [email protected] for incidents occurring online. You can also contact us on Facebook or Twitter.
The reason is twofold. Firstly, we can help you navigate the appropriate channels and attempt to seek consequences for unbridled hate. Secondly, we need to keep our Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents updated and accurate. If policymakers know the real extent of the problem, they are much more likely to take corrective action.
The past week has not been easy, but as the Yiddish saying goes, “Shver tsu zayn a Yid” – it’s not always easy to be a Jew. By looking out for one another, we will not only get through this, but emerge stronger than ever as a community.
Chag Shavuot Sameach – Am Yisrael Chai!
Have a safe and meaningful Shavuot – The Jewish People live!
(Please note that B’nai Brith will be closed May 17-18 in observance of the Shavuot holiday.)