Antisemitism Makes a Disturbing Appearance in Toronto During Passover

April 1, 2021

Statement

Amid Passover celebrations, Toronto's Jewish community has been sadly once again the target of antisemites looking to spread falsehoods and promote their antisemitic views.

On Sunday night, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) immediately filed a report with the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) after a poster claiming Israel was "killing children again," evoking the blood libel that Jews murder non-Jewish children to use their blood for rituals such as baking matzah, was seen plastered on a bus shelter in the area of Keele Street and Sheppard Avenue West on the eve of Passover.

After filing a report, FSWC President and CEO Michael Levitt was at the scene as police investigated and saw the poster already partially removed. According to a Canadian Jewish News article regarding the incident, a City of Toronto contractor responded and "crews immediately worked to have the rest removed from the shelter.”

“This is vandalism that perpetuates hate, which is illegal and entirely unacceptable in our city,” City of Toronto spokesperson Andrea Gonsalves told The CJN, adding that if residents observe vandalism that includes messages of hate in Toronto, including to city property, they are encouraged to first contact police.

Just a few days later, more vandalism was discovered not too far from the first incident. The words "Anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism! Oppose IHRA!" were graffitied on the wall of a TTC entrance in the Yonge Street and Finch Avenue area, along with the hashtag #NoIHRA and a hammer and sickle with the letters RSM - which stands for Revolutionary Student Movement, a group that calls itself a "Canada-wide revolutionary, combative, militant, and anti-capitalist student movement" and is active at numerous Canadian universities.

IHRA stands for International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, whose working definition of antisemitism has been adopted by countries, cities and institutions around the world. Opposition to the adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism is opposition to fighting antisemitism.

Upon learning of the graffiti yesterday, FSWC immediately reported it to the TTC.

These incidents are extremely disturbing and a clear indication of the ongoing need for education; the importance of the Jewish community remaining strong and vigilant; and the necessity of the IHRA definition of antisemitism and its adoption by governments and institutions in the fight against anti-Jewish hatred.

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