Members of the Jewish community in Toronto on Wednesday expressed concern following two incidents of anti-Semitism in the city this past week.
On Tuesday, a man with a swastika on his chest was reportedly charged in connection with a hate-motivated assault near Stanley Park. On Saturday, July 10, the same individual yelled anti-Semitic slurs at three Jewish women near Yonge and St. Clair prior to attacking and choking a Jewish man.
"Like all members of society, Jews should be able to walk down the street with confidence in our safety and security. We are grateful for the immediate response of the Toronto Police Service to these incidents,” the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) and UJA Federation of Greater Toronto said in a joint statement on Wednesday.
“Antisemitism is a scourge that is quickly spreading throughout Canada and around the world. Over the past few months, Jewish Canadians - already the most targeted religious minority in this country according to Statistics Canada - have witnessed an alarming rise in hate-motivated harassment, vandalism, and assault. From Jewish owned businesses, to schools, to workplaces and unions, antisemitism is of ever-increasing concern for Jewish Canadians,” they added.
"As we approach the Government of Canada's Emergency Summit on Antisemitism, we are reminded that what starts with Jews, never ends with Jews. Combating antisemitism is not only about protecting members of the Jewish community; it is essential to insulating all of us from the threat hatred poses to the very fabric of our society.”
Toronto has been hit by a series of anti-Semitic attacks in recent weeks. In May, B’nai Brith Canada reported that for the third week in a row, anti-Semitism and support for terrorism were on display 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.”
A week earlier, at another downtown Toronto protest, attendees threatened Jews by recalling the Battle of Khaybar, in which the ancient Jewish community of Arabia was killed or expelled.
In early May, a Jewish-owned business in the Kensington Market area was vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti which included references to gas chambers.
Several weeks ago, Toronto police launched an investigation after chairs in Downsview Park were spray painted with swastikas.
Toronto Police Service and the Regional Municipality of York Police Services Board recently released a report which found that in 2020, reported hate crimes in Toronto increased by more than 50%, while reported hate crimes in York Region increased by 20%.