Why won’t Canadian politicians give strong response on anti-Semitism?

No level of government is adequately responding to widespread anti-Semitism in Canada

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Another week of rampant, vile anti-Semitism in Canada and we still aren’t seeing the denunciations we need from our political leaders. It’s as if politicians at all levels have decided it’s not worth the effort to denounce what has been happening since Hamas launched its terrorist attacks against Israel 30 days ago.

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We’ve seen university professors, including those who are teaching the next generation of lawyers, defend what Hamas did in the name of “settler colonialism” and “resistance.” We’ve seen student union groups and a collective of law students issue open letters praising the attacks and no one has been held to account.

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This weekend, as happened two weeks earlier, a Jewish-owned business saw a massive and raucous crowd standing outside waving Palestinian flags, holding anti-Israeli signs and chanting they wanted a boycott of Aroma Espresso Bar.

“Boycott Aroma,” they chanted as if it were Berlin in the 1930s.

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Just like the targeting of Café Landwer two weeks ago, targeting Aroma has nothing to do with the war Hamas launched against Israel and those marching know that. But just like with their chants of “From the river to the sea,” and “Only one solution, Intifada revolution,” those marching are calling for violence against Jews everywhere to solve their political problems.

If these businesses being targeted were owned by Muslim, Black, Chinese or South Asian people, the condemnation from all levels of our political class would be fast and focused. That this is against Jewish-owned businesses means that these disgusting actions by thousands of people get a pass.

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It’s not that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Premier Doug Ford or Mayor Olivia Chow are afraid the mob will attack them, they are afraid they won’t vote for them in the next election if they speak up.

We’ve seen stories of Jewish students at campuses across the country say they are afraid to go to school. There have been stories of angry men going up to homes in Jewish neighbourhoods in Toronto demanding to know if Jews live there.

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Some friends have said they have taken the mezuzah off their doors. With other friends, it is a matter of concern and a fight among spouses as worries about safety become real rather than hypothetical.

In Orillia last week, a family woke up to “Jews die” spray-painted on their garage. That type of incident against any other group would see immediate condemnations, but this one, well, how many times can you condemn the never-ending anti-Semitism, am I right?

When a sign with a swastika on it showed up at a protest on Parliament Hill over the weekend, Trudeau finally broke his silence on the vile anti-Semitism spreading across Canada.


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“When we see or hear hateful language and imagery, we must condemn it. The display of a swastika by an individual on Parliament Hill is unacceptable. Canadians have the right to assemble peacefully – but we cannot tolerate anti-Semitism, Islamophobia or hate of any kind,” Trudeau said in a social-media post.

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A request for a comment from Ford ended up with a statement from his nephew Michael Ford, the minister responsible for citizenship and multiculturalism.

“We are deeply concerned about the recent rise in hatred since Hamas’ deadly attack. The targeting of Jewish-owned businesses is completely unacceptable and this hate has no place in Ontario,” Michael Ford said.

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The Doug Ford government has generally been strong in its support of Israel, but it needs to be stronger in denouncing the rampant acts of anti-Semitism in Ontario. If they won’t speak up, they are complicit with their silence.

Speaking of silence, Mayor Olivia Chow was asked for a comment multiple times on Sunday and had no response. The last time a Jewish business was targeted, it took her office days to offer the weakest of responses.

Perhaps she or those who work for her are fine with what we are seeing. They shouldn’t be.

Every single one of these leaders needs to start speaking up loudly against what is happening. If not, their silence will tell us all we need to know.

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