(August 18, 2021 / JNS) Campaign banners for two Jewish parliament members who are running for re-election in Canada’s upcoming elections were vandalized with swastikas.
On Sunday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called for the current government to be dissolved with new elections to be held on Sept. 20. Among those running for re-election are current ministers of Parliament Rachel Bendayan and Anthony Housefather, both of Montreal. It was their banners that were defaced.
“It is absolutely sickening to see this vile anti-Semitism targeting Jewish election candidates,” said Michael Levitt, president and CEO of Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center. “There’s no place for this Jew-hatred in the city of Montreal or anywhere else in Canada. This symbol of hate and genocide must be rejected by all Canadians, regardless of where one stands on the political spectrum.”
Reactions came swiftly from the candidates, who on Tuesday posted photos of the vandalized posters online.
Housefather, a Parliament member for Mount Royal, wrote on Twitter: “Pretty sad to see anti-Semitism hitting the campaign on Day 3. I can assure whoever did this that no swastika is going to scare me or stop me from speaking up for Jewish Canadians.”
“Whatever your political views, spreading hateful and violent messages is not the way to go,” Bendayan posted on social media. “We’ve seen the road that the politics of the far-right leads us to in the U.S. and around the world. That is not us. That is not our Canada.”
The vandalism comes as Canada deals with high numbers of anti-Semitic incidents.
“Disgusted by the targeting of Jewish candidates with the most vile of anti-Semitic symbols of hatred—swastikas,” tweeted Irwin Colter, founder and chair of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights. “There is no room for such anti-Semitic hate in Canada, or anywhere, and certainly not in a democratic electoral process.”
Also concerned about the vandalism is Trudeau, whose government recently held a forum on anti-Semitism in the country and promised to do more to protect Canadian Jews.
“It is completely unacceptable,” Trudeau wrote on Twitter. “I stand in solidarity with Rachel and Anthony, and the entire Jewish community, against this type of hatred.”
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