B’nai Brith Canada is reporting that for the third week in a row, anti-Semitism and support for terrorism were on display Saturday at a massive protest in downtown Toronto.
Over a thousand anti-Israel demonstrators marched from Yonge-Dundas Square to the Israeli consulate at Yonge and Bloor, shouting repeatedly for an “intifada.”
At least one protester carried the flag of Hamas, while others carried signs with anti-Semitic imagery, such as one depicting Israeli Jews as pigs, and another equating the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) with the Nazi SS. Organizers also bizarrely asserted at one point that “Canada is a part of Israel.”
B’nai Brith Canada notes that the march was organized by the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM), a group that glorifies terrorism against Israelis. Last week, at another downtown Toronto protest held by the PYM, attendees threatened Jews by recalling the Battle of Khaybar, in which the ancient Jewish community of Arabia was killed or expelled.
Pro-Israel counter-protesters were then repeatedly assaulted as they attempted to leave the area, despite a heavy police escort.
B’nai Brith also noted that both this week’s and last week’s PYM events were blatantly illegal pursuant to Ontario’s COVID-19 public health orders, which forbid outdoor gatherings of more than 10 people, and provide for fines of up to $10,000 for event organizers. B’nai Brith is not aware of any attempts by Toronto Police to enforce the orders with respect to anti-Israel protests.
“The inaction by the City of Toronto and Toronto Police with respect to downtown protests over the past few weeks is inexcusable,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “These events are a massive safety risk, particularly for members of the Jewish community, but also for Canadians at large.
“We will not allow downtown Toronto to be transformed into a no-go zone for Jews. By failing to act decisively, authorities are ceding the field to lawbreakers and hatemongers,” he added.
Anti-Semitic incidents have been on the rise in Canada in recent years. In late March, Statistics Canada released its annual survey of police-reported hate crimes which found that Jews have remained by far the most targeted religious group for hate crimes in Canada.
The Statistics Canada report found that there were 1,946 police-reported hate crimes in Canada in 2019, up 7 percent from a year earlier.
Last month, Toronto Police Service and the Regional Municipality of York Police Services Board released a report finding that in 2020, reported hate crimes in Toronto increased by more than 50%, while reported hate crimes in York Region increased by 20%.
Toronto has seen a spate of anti-Semitic graffiti and vandalism in recent weeks, including two brazen incidents of vandalism in the North York district of the city over the Passover holiday.
In a subsequent incident, anti-Semitic graffiti reading “Boycott Israel’s zionazi apartheid” was discovered in Toronto’s Kensington Market neighborhood.