(July 6, 2022 / JNS) Pro-Palestinian protesters shouted “Free, free Palestine” while harassing Jewish shoppers with anti-Semitic slurs on July 1 outside a plaza in the Thornhill suburb of Ontario, Canada, where several Jewish-owned businesses operate.
Melissa Lantsman, a member of Parliament representing Thornhill, said the protesters were “yelling anti-Semitic slurs and intimidating Jews.” The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) added that the activists “accosted Jewish shoppers, intimidating, harassing them as they prepared for Shabbat” at Chabad Gate Plaza in Thornhill on July 1, which was also Canada Day.
Lantsman shared a video on Twitter showing protesters waving Palestinian flags and chanting “Free, free Palestine,” as well as “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
StopAntisemitism.org posted different footage, also on Twitter, of one pro-Palestinian protester shouting, “Shabbat shalom, b*****s” outside a kosher supermarket in the area.
“This is NOT anti-Zionism—it’s a blatant act of #antisemitic hate which must be condemned by everyone,” tweeted Lantsman. She wrote in a separate tweet: “You don’t come to a Jewish neighborhood and yell anti-Semitic tropes if it isn’t about hating Jews.”
She added that police across Canada should treat similar incidents as hate crimes so that “open Jew-hatred in our streets ends today.”
York Regional Police eventually intervened and arrested one of the pro-Palestinian activists, as shown in another video that Lantsman uploaded on Twitter.
CIJA said in a statement: “Jewish businesses & community members were confronted with unprovoked verbal assaults of Jew-hatred & anti-Jewish racism. It should be unacceptable to all Canadians for any community to be attacked so blatantly based solely on their identity. We are grateful for the quick and diligent response of York Regional Police for keeping our community safe.”
Parliament member Anthony Housefather slammed the stunt, tweeting: “Jewish Canadians have been in this country since 1760. We are incredibly proud Canadians, and Canada Day is our national holiday. To do something like this on Canada Day is especially offensive.”
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