Toronto mayor: No place for anti-Semitism in this city

Toronto mayor condemns anti-Semitic notes found in condo building in the city.

Elad Benari ,

Toronto Mayor John Tory
Toronto Mayor John Tory

Toronto Mayor John Tory and leaders in the city’s Jewish community on Wednesday condemned the recent discovery of anti-Semitic notes inside a condo building in the city’s Willowdale neighborhood.

Post-it notes bearing a Swastika and reading “No Jews” were found on the front doors of several Jewish residences in the building, while a number of residents also reported the theft of a mezuzah from their front doors.

“We are here today to say that there is no place for these acts of hatred, for these acts of discrimination and for these acts of anti-Semitism,” Tory told reporters at a news conference, according to CP24 News.

“This is inconsistent with who we are and this is inconsistent with the story of Toronto that has made us one of the most admired cities in the world,” he continued.

Tory added that it is the “collective responsibility” of all Torontonians to “say no” to the kind of hatred expressed by the person or persons behind the anti-Semitic notes.

He said it is “not who we are” and really goes against everything the city stands for.

“This is not the hallmark of a city who prides itself on respect for people because of their differing faiths and because of their differing backgrounds, nationalities and culture and everything else. That is how we thrive here,” the mayor stressed.

Several representatives from the Jewish community also attended Wednesday’s news conference to express their dismay with Sunday’s incident.

One of them, Rabbi Moshe Steiner, said he went to the Willowdale condo building after he heard its residents had been targeted and was alarmed to hear from some of the victims who wanted to “lay low” and not immediately replace their stolen or vandalized mezuzahs.

He said he was relieved to hear those same residents then change their tones after a brief discussion.

“The answer…is absolutely not to say, ‘Let’s recede into the shadows,’” he said. “We dare not be marginalized. Whoever did this is trying to intimidate us...trying to force us to cower into the shadows. We cannot do that.”

Police are investigating the incident as a hate crime, but no suspects have been arrested yet, according to CP24.

Toronto police said last year that it found a decrease of 8 percent in the volume of hate crimes in the city in 2015 (134 compared with 146 in 2014) - but the Jewish community remained at the top of the list of victims of hate crimes.

The police’s annual report on hate and bias crimes found that the number of hate crimes that were directed against the Jewish community in 2015 was the largest compared to other communities.