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B’nai Brith Canada Objects to Guest’s Remark about Hasidic Jews on Quebec TV Program

Stéphanie Hariot (Le Quotidien)

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Jan. 24, 2022

MONTREAL — B’nai Brith Canada takes exception to a remark made on a French-language television program Sunday night, when a guest inaccurately implied that Hasidic Jews are exempt from COVID-19-related health measures in Quebec.

On Tout le Monde en Parle, a popular television program in Quebec, Stéphanie Hariot, a pastry shop owner in Saguenay, Que., suggested that Hasidic Jews somehow operate independently of the health regulations in the province. Her remarks went unchallenged by the program’s host.

Hariot, who is publicly refusing to adhere to the province’s health directives regarding her commerce, asked this rhetorical question: “Do I need to dress like a Hasidic to have any rights?”

B’nai Brith Canada has written to the program’s producers to demand they distance themselves from Hariot’s remarks.

“Singling out Hasidic Jews for perceived violations of the Government’s health restrictions places an undue focus on a community frequently targeted by antisemites and must be condemned,” said Marvin Rotrand, National Director of B’nai Brith Canada’s advocacy arm, the League for Human Rights. “Hasidic Jews are not a monolithic community and certainly should be afforded individual responsibility, not painted broadly as Stéphanie Hariot offensively implied.”

“Many non-Jewish individuals, including Ms. Hariot, have contravened public health measures,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “Ms. Hariot’s remarks seem to suggest only Hasidic Jews are guilty of doing so. Some who may not respect the rules may be Hasidic Jews, yet to depict an entire Jewish community as somehow collectively responsible for individual violations of public health restrictions is a disturbing and false generalization that must be corrected.

“We are calling on the producers of Tout le Monde en Parle to distance themselves from such remarks as they encourage a toxic antisemitic characterization of Hasidic Jews that is all too prevalent in Canada.”