TORONTO, ON (May 18, 2017) – The Spirit of Hope Benefit – which took place on May 18 at the Metro Convention Centre in Toronto – proved to be a major success, bringing together more than 2,000 guests in support of Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center’s (FSWC) mission to combat antisemitism and intolerance.
This year’s Spirit of Hope keynote speaker was former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron, who was in conversation with former Prime Minister of Canada Brian Mulroney. The event was chaired by Canadian Film Producer Robert Lantos.
The evening’s lively discussion centered on issues facing Europe and the Middle East, antisemitism, Brexit, and other current international issues.
When discussing antisemitism in Canada, Europe and abroad, Cameron explained the importance of educating “a new generation about where prejudice can lead” and supporting the State of Israel.
“Attacks on Israel merge into antisemitism,” said Cameron, emphasizing the current situation on university campuses where the antisemitic BDS campaign continues to be present.
Performers included Limore Twena – a trained opera singer who, despite battling cancer, continues to radiate positivity through her music – and Emmanuel Jal, a former child soldier who spreads a message of peace through his music.
This year, FSWC raised more than $3.4 million, surpassing the campaign goal. The event funds award-winning educational initiatives like the Tour for Humanity, recipient of the 2016 "Best Practices" Award of Excellence from the Canadian Race Relations Foundation.
“The Spirit of Hope Benefit is an opportunity to open up dialogue about relevant issues that we face globally, while also learning how to create a more tolerant and inclusive society,” says Avi Benlolo, President and CEO of FSWC. “Considering the situation in Europe – including recent incidents of antisemitism, terrorism, and uncertainty around Brexit – David Cameron was able to provide insight, and optimism, into the current state of affairs and what we can expect moving forward.”
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Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC) is a top Jewish human rights foundation in Canada's organized Jewish community. It directly impacts over 100,000 people each year and 500,000+ peripherally. FSWC is committed to countering racism and antisemitism and to promoting the principles of tolerance, social justice and Canadian democratic values through advocacy and educational programs including workshops, Freedom Day, Spirit of Hope Benefit, Tools for Tolerance and the widely acclaimed Tour for Humanity. FSWC is affiliated with the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international Jewish human rights organization headquartered in Los Angeles which has won two Academy Awards, has built two Museums of Tolerance (with a third being built in Jerusalem) and is an NGO at the United Nations, UNESCO, OAS, OSCE, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament. Visit us at www.fswc.ca.
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