OpinionAntisemitism

Jew-hate and ‘inquisitions’ in Canada

With few exceptions, Canadian lawmakers are willing to issue only half-hearted statements and do virtually nothing to fight the explosion of hatred against Jews.

A person holds a sign reading “Another Jew Against Zionism, Colonialism, Apartheid, Occupation, Genocide” at a protest at the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton, Canada, on Oct. 18, 2023. Credit: Jenari/Shutterstock.
A person holds a sign reading “Another Jew Against Zionism, Colonialism, Apartheid, Occupation, Genocide” at a protest at the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton, Canada, on Oct. 18, 2023. Credit: Jenari/Shutterstock.
Robert Williams
Robert Williams is a researcher based in the United States.

Since the Oct. 7 massacre in southern Israel, Jews in Canada have been under constant attack. School shootingsfirebombings of Jewish institutions, boycotts and vandalism against Jewish-owned businesses, imams inciting and telling their congregations that Jews are “vermin,” and the constant marches of pro-Hamas activists chanting “long live the intifada” and “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”—a euphemism for annihilating a democratic member of the United Nations, Israel.

In Montreal alone, police recorded 38 reports of hate crimes and other incidents targeting the city’s Jewish community in the weeks following Oct. 7. According to Shimon Fogel, CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs:

“There is a reason the Jews are being targeted on the streets of Toronto or Vancouver or Montreal. There’s a reason that schools and synagogues are being firebombed. And it’s because the antipathy is for the Jewish people, and the Jewish state is only an extension of the Jewish people, not something independent and separate.”

In British Columbia, where there are roughly 35,000 Jews, Provincial Premier David Eby said that he had heard “devastating” accounts of antisemitism from the Jewish community.

Eby met with leaders of Jewish groups, and said after that antisemitism “exists in schools, in civil society, in private employers, and I believe that people have had antisemitism experiences within the government of B.C. public service.”

According to Eby, in one incident, a grade-school teacher had asked students to “self-identify as Jewish” and then demanded they explain to the entire class “what Israel was doing in Gaza.”

In another incident, a student who opposed a teacher’s opinion on Hamas and Israel was accused of “creating a disturbance” and told to sit outside the class.

In the heavily Jewish Toronto suburb of Thornhill, pro-Hamas protesters assembled outside two Orthodox synagogues and screamed “From the river to the sea”, “intifada” and “go back to Poland.” Jews walking in the street were intimidated and harassed.

Elsewhere in Toronto, a Jewish-owned delicatessen was set on fire, after “free Palestine” had been painted on the doors. In Montreal, lists of Jewish businesses were circulated on social media, along with requests to boycott Jewish-owned establishments and serving as a guide for mobs to gather outside Jewish establishments, as they did in front of Toronto’s Jewish-owned Café Landwer.

“I think it would be impossible for our community not to feel nervous and concerned about safety issues amid the current reality,” said Jaime Kirzner-Roberts, vice president for the Greater Toronto Area at the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA).

“Given the dramatic uptick in hate-motivated crime that we’re seeing, given that visible Jews are being attacked on the street, Jewish businesses [are] being targeted by boycotts, campaigns of intimidation and now arson, it’s only natural the community is worried,” he said.

According to the daily Globe and Mail, in October, police investigated incidents where “people [were] allegedly banging on doors of Jewish homes and stealing mezuzahs.”

Canadian universities are steeped in antisemitic rhetoric, and Jewish students are regularly harassed, with some receiving death threats and having to stay away from campus.

“Jewish students are singled out and demonized for simply being Jewish,” said Jay Solomon of Hillel Canada, a network of Jewish student clubs at universities across the country, adding that campus antisemitism is at unprecedented levels.

According to the Vancouver Sun:

“Six prominent Canadian universities, and several student unions, are currently facing class-action lawsuits from students claiming they have allowed an environment hostile to Jews to flourish on campus.”

One Jewish student, Samantha Kline, received such serious threats that she stopped going to the campus. She also described seeing antisemitic graffiti there on a daily basis.

“I would walk in every single day and I would see ‘f–k you Jews,’ ‘you are not welcome here,’ ‘we hate Zionists,’ and ‘kill yourself,'” she said.

Demonstrations feature swastikas and speakers call to “destroy the arrogant Zionists…kill them all, and do not exempt even one of them,” while there are constant calls for “Intifada,” “resistance” and the annihilation of Israel.

Unfortunately, few lawmakers are willing to wholeheartedly condemn any of this. With a few exceptions, they choose instead to issue half-hearted statements and do virtually nothing to fight the explosion of hatred against Jews.

In 2022, the Canadian government invoked the Emergencies Act to shut down the so-called trucker convoy protests, in which thousands of truck drivers and their supporters rallied to call for an end to the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

In 20o8, the author Mark Steyn was prosecuted in Canada for having warned, in his book “America Alone,” about the potential consequences of Islam in the West.

Last year, in a move reminiscent of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin’s “rehabilitation psychiatric wards,” the celebrated psychologist professor Jordan Peterson was ordered by the College of Psychologists of Ontario to be “disciplined” in a “Soviet style re-training camp” or lose his license, simply for having expressed personal opinions about a variety of subjects, from obesity to transgender ideology.

The same Canadian leaders and officials, however, evidently see no need to comment on the mobs calling for the genocide of Jews.

Vivian Bercovici, Canada’s former ambassador to Israel, wrote on Oct. 21:

“It was well into Sunday, Oct. 8, before Canada’s prime minister released a statement. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the attacks but in much more careful and restrained language than did most western leaders…

“Meanwhile, across Canada, there has been an alarming spike in hate crimes targeting Jews. In Toronto, word of mouth tells of many Jewish families removing mezuzot (a symbol that the home is inhabited by Jews) from their external door frames…

“People are afraid to go to Jewish community centres, Jewish schools, Jewish areas and Jewish shops. In fact, as a show of understanding and support, Toronto’s chief of police made a point of visiting an iconic Jewish restaurant in Lawrence Plaza, United Bakers, to demonstrate solidarity and support.”

Trudeau’s government in October falsely accused Israel of bombing a hospital in Gaza—the explosion was quickly proven to have been caused by a rocket launched by Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The incident triggered violent protests around the world by Hamas supporters, including in Canada. Trudeau refused to admit the facts of the hospital explosion for a full week, although the truth was already known worldwide within hours of the attack.

Trudeau did, however, decide to resume funding the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) even before the United Nations had finished investigating whether UNWRA employees participated in the Oct. 7 massacre and are members of Hamas and other terrorist organizations. It turns out at least 30 of them did participate in the atrocities—and also that “1,468 of UNRWA’s 13,000 staff members in Gaza are members of Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad.”

“Canada will be lifting its temporary pause on funding to [UNRWA],” said Canadian International Aid Minister Ahmed Hussen. “UNRWA plays a vital role in Gaza.”

In addition, the Canadian government this week decided to end arms sales to Israel, according to Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly, following the passing of a non-binding motion in the Canadian parliament, which called on Canada to “officially recognize the State of Palestine.”

“The reality for Canadian Jews post-Oct. 7 has been an alarming and unfathomable rise in antisemitism,” said Michael Levitt, president and CEO of Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center.

“Making matters worse, at a time when we need our federal government to be living up to their pledge of ‘We will always have the Jewish community and Israel’s back,’ that’s not been the case.”

As a final blow to Canadian Jews, the Canadian government has decided, at this time of all times, to implement new standards that will effectively end the practice of kosher slaughter in Canada.

According to the Kashruth Council of Canada (COR):

“The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), the regulatory body which governs animal slaughter in Canada, introduced new guidelines governing animal slaughter in Canada that in effect—if not intention—place shechita (Jewish ritual slaughter) in jeopardy.”

Rabbi Eric Grossman, headmaster of The Akiva School in Montreal, wrote on March 11:

“This past Friday, a legal Notice of Application was filed on behalf of the kashrut organizations of Canada against the Attorney General in a last-ditch attempt to prevent the implementation of new standards that will end shechitah in Canada within the next two months. The process is well underway and already one-third of abattoirs in Canada have stopped producing kosher meat. The kosher certifiers and their representatives had been working with the Canadian government to find a solution, including a recent meeting in Ottawa, but according to the application, ‘…those efforts have proven fruitless.’

“The application asserts that ending shechitah violates the rights of Canadian Jews to practice their faith as guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. As such, this new policy is one of the most severe blows ever dealt to the Canadian Jewish community, which has lived in this land for over two hundred years.”

Is Canada trying to get rid of its Jews? And its freedoms? It might just succeed in doing both.

Originally published by The Gatestone Institute.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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