August 08, 2021
TORONTO – B’nai Brith Canada is strongly condemning the ongoing failure by authorities to prevent or impose sanctions on hateful rallies targeting Israeli Jews in downtown Toronto.
On Saturday, protesters gathered near Yonge-Dundas Square, shutting down part of Canada’s busiest street under the watchful eye of police. The event was organized by the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM), an openly pro-terrorism outfit that also organized the infamous event of May 15, 2021, where Jewish counter-protesters were beaten and harassed.
At this latest protest, attendees shouted in Arabic: “Let’s speak openly – we don’t want to see any Zionists!,” while organizers referred to Israel, the world’s only Jewish State, as “the Zionist State.” Other chants asserted that “From the water to the water, Palestine is Arab!” and proclaimed support for an “Intifada,” or violent attacks on Israeli Jews.
Protesters also chanted: “We don’t want no two states, we want ‘48” and “Smash the Zionist settler state,” making it clear that they would accept nothing but Israel’s complete destruction and the expulsion – or worse – of its Jewish population.
Issam al-Yamani, a former member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror group, who faces deportation from Canada, addressed the crowd. Other speakers praised Khalida al-Jarrar, a senior political leader of the PFLP currently serving time for facilitating the murder of Israeli teenager Rina Shnerb.
In addition to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions on large gatherings at the provincial level, City of Toronto policy provides that “Public space, facilities and properties within the jurisdiction of the City of Toronto will not be available or accessible to any individual or group that promotes views and ideas which are likely to promote discrimination, contempt or hatred for any person or group” on the basis of race, citizenship, ancestry or religion, among other grounds.
However, to B’nai Brith’s knowledge, this policy has never been applied to antisemitic demonstrations in Toronto, despite repeated condemnations of antisemitism by Mayor John Tory, including as recently as last May.
“Enough is enough. We have seen in recent months how antisemitic rhetoric bleeds into violent assaults on Jews in Toronto,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “It is high time for local authorities to start equally enforcing the laws and policies that are supposed to protect all Torontonians.
“This is not a freedom of speech issue. By consistently tolerating illegal rallies filled with discriminatory rhetoric, escalation is the only predictable outcome. We demand that Jews and Israelis in Toronto receive full equality under the law, which can only be achieved through the equal enforcement of the rule of law.”
As documented by B’nai Brith Canada, May of 2021 bore witness to an unprecedented surge in violence against Canadian Jews, most of it stemming from extreme anti-Israel sentiment.
In nearby Hamilton, police charged 14 people associated with a May anti-Israel protest under the Reopening Ontario Act, and those charges are now proceeding through the courts. No reason has been provided as to why authorities in Toronto have failed to take similar steps.