Charges against anti-Semitic Toronto establishment

City of Toronto files charges against local establishment that used anti-Semitic smears and supported terrorists on social media.

Elad Benari ,

Toronto
Toronto
iStock

The City of Toronto has filed charges against a local establishment that used anti-Semitic smears and supported terrorists on social media, B’nai Brith Canada reported on Sunday.

Foodbenders, located in Toronto’s west end, became a lightning rod for controversy in July when it told its Instagram followers: “#zionistsnotwelcome.”

Other posts by the eatery alleged that “Zionists are Nazis,” denounced Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau as a “Zionist puppet” and glorified Leila Khaled, who hijacked two planes in 1969-1970 as a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a designated terrorist entity in Canada.

Foodbenders later released a statement to clarify its actions, but then made further posts justifying terrorism against Israelis and accusing the Jewish State of “systematic genocide.”

After a B'nai Brith-spearheaded grassroots campaign by Canadian Jews and allies, Foodbenders was dropped by food delivery services such as Uber and DoorDash and abandoned by many of its former clients.

B’nai Brith also pressed the City of Toronto to revoke Foodbenders’ business license for breach of section 27 of By-law No. 574-2000, which prohibits the use of a licensed business to “discriminate against any member of the public” on grounds of “race, color, or creed.” It is under that very provision that Foodbenders has now been charged, said the B’nai Brith statement.

On Thursday, B’nai Brith learned that Toronto Bylaw Enforcement had decided to proceed with charges and request a hearing before the Licensing Tribunal. The Tribunal has the power to suspend, revoke or refuse to renew a license, and can also impose conditions.

“We are relieved to hear that the City of Toronto has finally advanced this critical process,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “Enough is enough – businesses in Canada’s most diverse city cannot be used to foment racism and anti-Semitism.”

B’nai Brith noted that most of Foodbenders’ social media accounts have also been shut down and only its Instagram appears to remain active. The organization called on Instagram to honor its own policies and remove accounts that promote violence or discrimination.

Anti-Semitic incidents have been on the rise in Canada in recent years. In April, the League for Human Rights, part of B’nai Brith Canada, said it recorded 2,207 anti-Semitic incidents in its 2019 Annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents.

The number marks an 8% increase over the 2,041 incidents from the previous year and an average of more than six per day.

Ontario had the greatest increase and Quebec saw the largest number of incidents for the second year in a row. Ontario and Quebec are home to the largest Jewish communities in Canada.



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