Toronto Mayor John Tory on Wednesday released a statement amid the rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the city.
“Last night, I met with members of the city’s Jewish community together with Councillors Pasternak, Colle, and Matlow and Police Chief Jim Ramer to discuss an extremely concerning and unacceptable rise in anti-Semitism,” he said.
“We know from the Toronto Police Hate Crime Unit that the Jewish community was the most frequently victimized group in 2020. Anti-Semitic attacks have continued in 2021 with an extremely troubling rise in recent weeks and months.”
“I want to be very clear that anti-Semitic acts are absolutely unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our city,” stressed Tory.
“I have heard the valid concerns of the Jewish community and I stand with them against this hatred. This is a community that includes survivors of the Holocaust and their descendants – they know all too well the danger of anti-Semitism and the tragedies that follow when it is allowed to stand unchallenged,” the Mayor continued.
“That is why we are committed as a city to confronting anti-Semitism – in all its forms – and ensuring Toronto Police are supported in the pursuit of hate crimes.”
“We will not let hatred take root in our city and we will not let it grow. This is why our Toronto For All public education initiative this year will target anti-Semitism and why we have worked to put in place policies to stop hate rallies in our city.”
“While we all have more work to do in the weeks, months, and years ahead to continue to confront anti-Semitism, I believe it was important to the Jewish community and to our entire city to send a clear message reaffirming that there is no place for any kind of attacks on the Jewish community in Toronto.”
“I urge anyone who witnesses an act of hate against our Jewish community to report it to police and to never be afraid to stand up to anti-Semitism,” said Tory.
Anti-Semitic incidents have been on the rise in Canada in recent years and there has been an increase in such incidents in recent weeks, in the wake of the recent fighting between Israel and Gaza.
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.
Anti-Israel protests in the city in recent weeks have included calls for an “intifada” and protesters carrying the flag of Hamas and signs with anti-Semitic imagery.
Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) on Wednesday welcomed Tory’s statement condemning anti-Semitism.
"What we have been experiencing in recent weeks is a resurgence of virulent anti-Semitism and the mainstreaming of Jew-hatred, including in schools and universities, workplaces, online and in neighborhoods across the city," said FSWC President and CEO Michael Levitt.
"We need our city leaders to speak out and take action more than ever. That's why we appreciate Mayor John Tory for not only denouncing anti-Semitism, but even more so committing to strategies and policies that help prevent and combat anti-Semitism and attacks targeting the Jewish community," he added.