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Israeli-owned Montreal restaurant targeted in hate crime

Falafel Yoni was listed on online boycott lists that called for boycotting businesses perceived as supporting Israel.

Members of Montreal's Jewish community gather for a vigil at the Gelber Conference Centre after Hamas-led terrorists invaded southern Israel, Oct. 9, 2023. Photo by Andrej Ivanov/AFP via Getty Images.
Members of Montreal's Jewish community gather for a vigil at the Gelber Conference Centre after Hamas-led terrorists invaded southern Israel, Oct. 9, 2023. Photo by Andrej Ivanov/AFP via Getty Images.

A Jewish-owned restaurant in Montreal’s Mile End neighborhood was struck by projectiles, believed to be fired from an airsoft gun.

The owner of Falafel Yoni, Yoni Amir, said his staff discovered damaged windows on Wednesday morning and promptly alerted the authorities, CTV News Montreal reported.

Amir expressed his belief that the attack was motivated by antisemitism, stating, “I am Jewish. I do happen to have been born in Israel and despite not having made political comments, we found ourselves on this boycott list,” according to the TV report.

“I don’t feel as though a restaurant should be a platform for politics so we intentionally didn’t want to polarize anybody or ostracize anybody. It seems as though the boycott has led to targeting of our business,” he continued.

Amir was referring to lists circulating online that call for boycotting businesses perceived as supporting Israel.

Montreal Police spokesperson Sabrina Gauthier confirmed that the force is investigating the incident, in which three projectiles were found in the restaurant’s storefront windows. Investigators were unsure what weapon was used in the attack.

In the wake of Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza, Amir said people have stuck “Free Palestine” and “Genocide” stickers on his store’s windows.

“The message is the same and the intention is pretty clear. I think the idea is to send a message to cause some kind of fear to business owners,” Amir told CTV News Montreal.

“It’s unnerving, it’s unsettling. I’m upset that it creates that feeling for the staff and the people who have to come work here every day to have that kind of hatred or violence or tension brought to their workplace.”

The incident drew condemnation from political leaders. Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante stated in a social-media post, “Antisemitism and violence, whether expressed in images, words or actions, do not represent us and have no place in Montreal.”

City Councilor Sonny Moroz described it as “a reminder of humanity’s worst moments. I call on all governments and civil society to stop this hatred. Let’s condemn these attacks!”

On May 29, shots were fired at a Jewish school in the city’s Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough.

On May 25, two suspects fired several shots at the Bais Chaya Mushka School for Girls in Toronto, causing damage to the building but no injuries as the building was empty at the time.

Originally published by Israel Hayom.

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