update desk

An ‘act of vandalism by an unknown party,’ anti-Israel ad removed from Toronto display

“We have expressed concern over how this happened and asked the company to ensure the integrity of these ad cases so that no such illicit ads are placed in the future,” Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center told JNS.

A sign in the city of Toronto in Ontario, Canada. Source: Screenshot.
A sign in the city of Toronto in Ontario, Canada. Source: Screenshot.

An anti-Jewish and anti-Israel sign placed outdoors in Toronto was removed hours after the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center lodged a complaint with the advertising company.

The ad showed a blue Star of David and said “anti-apartheid is not antisemitism.”

On March 3, the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center tweeted about the image and wording, calling the incident “incredibly disturbing.”

The Jewish organization later updated its Twitter feed, saying “we have since learned the antisemitic sign was illicitly placed without the consent” of the advertising companies Astral and BellMediaPR. “When antisemitism rears its ugly head, we must stand to confront it.”

The city provides the space for Astral, which is part of Bell Media, to place “information pillars and advertisements,” Avital Borisovsky, associate director of communications at Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, told JNS.

“The insertion of the poster into the ad case was an act of vandalism by an unknown party,” she said. “Bell Media has made clear it condemns the antisemitic ad. We have expressed concern over how this happened and asked the company to ensure the integrity of these ad cases so that no such illicit ads are placed in the future.”

There has been a longtime push in antisemitic circles and in the BDS movement to associate the now-defunct South African policy of apartheid with Israel and its government.

Toronto has seen its share of antisemitic incidents in recent months, including a group of people who stood in the North York neighborhood—home to a large Jewish community—on a December evening with signs that read “Free Palestine” and “Apartheid Zionist child killers.”

According to data from the Toronto Police Service, Jews were the most-targeted group for hate crimes in 2021, the most recent data available.

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