update deskAntisemitism

Toronto police make two arrests in antisemitic vandalism cases

One of the accused has faced charges for other hate crimes.

A bronze statue of the late Canadian actor Al Waxman in Kensington Market in downtown Toronto, Canada. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Michael Park, 35, reportedly frightened Toronto residents in 2021 when he walked through a park shirtless, displaying a swastika painted in black on the right side of his chest, similar to Edward Norton’s neo-Nazi leader Derek Vineyard in “American History X.”

Since then, Park has allegedly taken his antisemitic intimidation to the next level. Police arrested him on Feb. 24, suspecting him of leaving graffiti of unspecified “antisemitic symbols” on several buildings in the Parkdale neighborhood the previous day. Park has previously faced charges for antisemitic acts in the summer of 2021 when he insulted and assaulted two people.

On Feb. 26, Toronto police charged another man with an act of antisemitic graffiti. Matthew Doyle, 41, allegedly committed multiple crimes of vandalism, including spray-painting “vote Hamas” on a statue of the late Canadian Jewish actor Al Waxman. The son of Polish immigrants, Waxman became notable for his role as convenience store owner Larry King in the TV show “The King of Kensington” on CBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Doyle faces five counts of mischief with the Hamas graffiti being treated as a potential hate crime. Doyle made his first court appearance on Tuesday.

“Vandalizing the statue of a local Jewish icon to glorify a terror group is an utterly reprehensible act of antisemitism,” said Michael Levitt, Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center president and CEO. “There must be no room for such hatred and promotion of terror in this city. We appreciate the prompt and resolute investigation by Toronto police that has led to an arrest and charges laid.”

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