Pro-Palestinian protesters who demonstrated in Vancouver against U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital burned Israeli flags, the Canadian Jewish News reported on Tuesday.
The protests took place in downtown Vancouver on December 8 and 9, and were held in front of the U.S. consulate and the Vancouver Art Gallery, according to the report.
They were co-hosted by the Canada Palestine Association, StopWarCa – Vancouver Coalition for Justice & Peace and Independent Jewish Voices Vancouver, and were endorsed by a dozen or more other organizations, including the University of British Columbia Social Justice Centre.
The Canadian Jewish News reported that Protesters could be heard chanting, “One, two, three, four, Israel, no more! One, two, three, four, occupation, no more!” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!”
Concerns were raised online after videos posted on Facebook showed young children calling for the Al-Aqsa Mosque to be redeemed with “blood” and “souls,” while demonstrators shouted, “Millions of martyrs are marching toward Jerusalem!”
While the protests were generally peaceful, the report noted, one counter-protester had his Israeli flag taken from him and destroyed by protesters. In a video posted on Twitter by reporter Hana Mae N. Nassar, protesters can also be seen burning a cardboard cutout of an Israeli flag.
B’nai Brith Canada condemned the incident, with its CEO Michael Mostyn saying, “This is merely the latest in a worrying string of anti-Semitic incidents in Vancouver in recent months.”
“It is simply unacceptable for pro-Israel Canadians to be physically intimidated, while pro-Palestinian protesters call for violence and martyrdom,” added Mostyn.
Protest organizer Sara Sagali disputed claims that the demonstrations were anti-Semitic, telling CTV News, “There’s a very clear divide between Jewish people and the State of Israel. And the flag is the flag of the state. It is not the flag of every Jewish person around the world.”
Similar anti-Israel protests took place around the world this weekend, including in London, New York and Toronto.
The Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre for Holocaust Studies reported that at the Toronto rally, which was held in front of the U.S. consulate on December 9, a man wore a poster that said, “9/11 was a Zionist job.”
Just last month, racist and pro-Nazi posters were discovered at the University of British Columbia (UBC).
Two days prior, Nazi images were found drawn on a blackboard in one of the university’s classrooms.
A report released two weeks ago by Statistics Canada found that Jews were the most targeted minority group for hate crimes in Canada in 2016.
According to “Police-Reported Hate Crime, 2016,” Jews were victimized 221 times, up from 178 the previous year, a rise of more than 20 percent. Blacks were next at 214 incidents and those victimized due to sexual orientation, 176.
Jews also were the most targeted religious group, followed by Catholics and Muslims, despite perceptions of a rise in Islamophobia. Hate crimes against Muslims and Catholics declined in 2016 compared to the previous year.