June 10, 2018
By Aidan Fishman
Director of the League for Human Rights
B’nai Brith Canada
TORONTO – B’nai Brith Canada is in the process of filing a complaint with Toronto Police after a speaker at Saturday’s al-Quds Day rally in downtown Toronto called for the “eradication” of Israelis.
Sheikh Shafiq Huda of the Islamic Humanitarian Service in Kitchener, Ont., made the remarks as part of the annual hatefest dedicated to the destruction of Israel, inaugurated by Iranian dictator Ruhollah Khomeini in 1979.
Year after year, speakers at the Toronto al-Quds Day rally have praised terrorists and incited hatred against Jews and Israelis. Last year, organizers played background music that encouraged listeners to bomb Israeli buses, stab Israelis, and run them over.
In 2013 and 2016, speakers called for Israelis to be shot, and in 2014, a Muslim cleric called for “yahoodi” (Arabic for “Jewish”) to be “dismantled.”
Advocating genocide or wilfully promoting hatred against an identifiable group, such as Israelis, is a criminal offence contrary to sections 318 and 319 of Canada’s Criminal Code.
“The annual al-Quds Day hatefest is a stain upon Toronto’s open and tolerant image,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “Particularly absurd is the fact that rally attendees – most of whom come from outside of the city – can shut down parts of downtown Toronto and distract hundreds of police officers from more important work, without paying any fees whatsoever.
“B’nai Brith demands that the City of Toronto not give preferential treatment to hatemongers, while law-abiding cultural and religious groups pay significant fees for the use of public space.”
Also at Saturday’s rally, demonstrators waved the flag of the Hezbollah terrorist group, which has murdered civilians in Argentina, Panama and Bulgaria in recent decades.
Truly disgusting to see the flag of the Hezbollah terrorist group on Toronto streets at this morning's #alQudsDay hatefest. pic.twitter.com/i0ICktE7OL
— B'nai Brith Canada (@bnaibrithcanada) June 10, 2018
In an email to B’nai Brith,Toronto Mayor John Tory said that “Any kind of hate speech or discrimination has absolutely no place in our city,” while Michael Levitt, Member of Parliament for York Centre, stated he was “greatly concerned” by the rally.
Please see my statement on tomorrow's Al-Quds Day Rally in #Toronto: https://t.co/xRKgOudd7g #cdnpoli #YorkCentre pic.twitter.com/86jzOZMB3G
— Michael Levitt ???????? (@LevittMichael) June 8, 2018
On Sunday, Ontario Premier-elect Doug Ford condemned the rally, saying his government will “take action” to ensure it is “no longer part of the landscape in Ontario.”
Our government will take action to ensure that events like Al Quds Day, which calls for the killing of an entire civilian population in Israel, are no longer part of the landscape in Ontario.
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) June 10, 2018
There were also al-Quds Day rallies this weekend in Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton.