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End the Al-Quds Day Hatefests, Take Back Our Streets

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April 2, 2024

TORONTO – B’nai Brith Canada is launching a public letter-writing campaign calling on municipalities across the country to ban events associated with Al-Quds Day, an annual source of antisemitic incitement that is likely to be intensified this year amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

Al-Quds Day was first popularized by the Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979. Its purpose is to radicalize the Ayatollah’s followers against Western civilization, the State of Israel, and the Jewish people. The annual day of hate is now observed in countries around the world, including Canada, and usually features extreme displays of anti-Israel and anti-Western incitement.

“Al-Quds Day is inherently antisemitic,” said Richard Robertson, B’nai Brith Canada’s Director of Research and Advocacy. “It is an affront to Canadian morals and values. Given the unprecedented rise in antisemitism in Canada since Hamas’ brutal attacks on Oct. 7, 2023, there is a legitimate risk that Al-Quds Day demonstrations will further exacerbate the already tumultuous situation.”

The largest Al-Quds Day rally in Canada typically takes place in Toronto. Speakers regularly glorify designated terrorist entities and chant genocidal slogans advocating for the destruction of Israel and erasure of its people. A 2023 protest even featured a speech by Khaled Barakat, a senior member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which the Government lists as a terrorist organization.

“This year, it is imperative for Toronto and other cities to do the responsible thing and finally outlaw Al-Quds Day,” Robertson said. “The regular anti-Israel demonstrations across Canada since Oct. 7 have already become a significant burden for law-enforcement agencies and constitute a legitimate threat to public safety.

“As Canadians, we cannot sit idly as the fabric of our nation is torn apart. We encourage everyone to join in our campaign to demand that the requisite authorities take proactive steps to prevent the occurrence of Al-Quds day events across the country.

“It is time to take back our streets.”