Toronto (August 12, 2020) - Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) met with the commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, Vice-Admiral Art McDonald, today to discuss the organization's concerns with the Navy's previous decision to reinstate a sailor with a long and documented history of neo-Nazi activity. FSWC called on Vice-Admiral McDonald to ensure that Leading Seaman Boris Mihajlovic faces justice for his participation in neo-Nazi terrorist organization Blood and Honour, for his efforts to foment “race war” against Jews and others, and for his attempts to offer for sale military-grade weaponry to other white supremacists.
The meeting today came after weeks of active advocacy efforts by FSWC following shocking revelations that the Navy investigation into the activities of Mihajlovic had concluded and that the sailor had returned to work without facing any known consequences for his hateful activities and actions. In a video leaked several weeks ago by an anonymous source, Mihajlovic’s Commanding Officer Joseph Banke told his sailors that this decision had been based on the belief in “rehabilitation over retribution,” but failed to give even one example of any rehabilitation process that Mihajlovic had gone through. After outcry from FSWC as well as from many active members of the armed forces, the Navy confirmed last week that Vice-Admiral McDonald would undertake a “command-level review” of the investigation against Mihajlovic and the decision to reinstate the Seaman.
Vice-Admiral McDonald emphasized to FSWC today that the Navy is committed to combating discrimination, racism and antisemitism within its ranks and to reflecting the values of Canadians by promoting diversity and tolerance. He also recognized the importance of input from the Jewish community, as a primary group targeted by neo-Nazi activities, to this case and noted that he was committed to ongoing dialogue with FSWC as his review progresses.
“We are very grateful to Vice-Admiral McDonald for such a full and sympathetic hearing today and for reiterating to us his commitment to both combating antisemitism and listening to the Jewish community when it comes to issues of antisemitic hate,” said Jaime Kirzner-Roberts, FSWC Director of the Campaign Against Antisemitism. “By participating in violent antisemitic and neo-Nazi groups as a member of Canada’s Navy, Seaman Mihajlovic brought shame on Canada’s military, he betrayed our veterans and all citizens of Canada. We are very much looking forward to seeing a re-consideration of the previous investigation and decisions made with respect to this Seaman and for the review led by the Vice-Admiral to send a message loud and clear that neo-Nazis and white supremacists are not tolerated in the Canadian military. Not now or ever.”