A rally on May 13, 2017 in solidarity with Palestinian terrorists staging a hunger strike in Israeli prisons was endorsed by the York Federation of Students (YFS) and the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU), B’nai Brith Canada has learned.
Hammam Farah, one of the organizers of the rally, described its purpose as “supporting the demands of our heroic prisoners.” Chief among those prisoners is Marwan al-Barghouti, who was convicted of five counts of murder in 2004, along with dozens of other murderers linked to Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, all of which are deemed terrorist groups by the Government of Canada.
TORONTO – The year 2016 was a record-setting year for antisemitism in Canada, B’nai Brith Canada’s Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents has found. Now in its 35th year, the Audit is the definitive and authoritative resource on antisemitism in Canada, cited regularly by law-enforcement agencies, government bodies, and human rights organizations around the world.
According to the Audit, which tracks and analyzes trends in hatred directed toward members of Canada’s Jewish community, 2016 saw a 26 per cent increase in antisemitic incidents over the previous year, and a six per cent increase over the previous high in 2014.
MONTREAL – B’nai Brith Canada has reported an incident involving yet another Montreal imam to the Hate Crimes Unit of the Montreal Police Service. As CIJNews reports, the imam was recorded delivering an antisemitic sermon and inciting violence against Jewish people.
In a speech delivered on Dec. 23, 2016 at the Dar al-Arkam mosque, Muhammad bin Musa al Nasr describes Jews as “the most evil of mankind” and as “human demons,” before quoting from the Quran: at “the end of time… the stone and the tree will say: ‘Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me – come and kill him!’”
Ayman Elkasrawy, a teaching assistant at Ryerson University who in a sermon preached “purify the al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews,” has been dismissed by the university.
In a letter to B’nai Brith Canada, Ryerson President Mohamed Lachemi noted that Elkasrawy was “no longer employed by the university,” and added that “we remain actively engaged in addressing antisemitism in our community.” B’nai Brith had sent a letter demanding that Elkasrawy be fired on Feb. 21.
Elkasrawy, who worked within Ryerson’s Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science, delivered his inflammatory supplications at the Masjid Toronto in June of 2016. The mosque later issued an apology for his remarks.
“We are relieved to finally hear that Mr. Elkasrawy has been dismissed,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “There is no place for someone who believes that Jews are ‚Äòfilth’ to deliver lectures or grade assignments at a Canadian university.
Igor Sadikov, the McGill student politician whose tweet calling to “punch a Zionist today” was first exposed by B’nai Brith Canada, has resigned from his post as a director of the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU).
Sadikov remains a member of the SSMU’s Legislative Council, but faces an impeachment vote from that body on March 9, 2017.
The British Columbia Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from Arthur Topham, who was convicted of promoting hatred against Jewish people in November, 2015.
Through his website, RadicalPress.com, Topham has called for Jews to be forcibly sterilized, claimed that Canada is “controlled by the Zionist Jew lobby,” and described Jewish places of worship as “synagogues of Satan.”
The decision of Justice G. Bruce Butler in B.C. comes as part of a long legal saga spearheaded by Harry Abrams, a B’nai Brith Canada member who first reported Topham’s antisemitic screeds to the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and then later to the B.C. Hate Crimes Unit.
“I’m pleased with the court’s verdict,” Abrams said. “Calling to sterilize an entire ethnic or religious group is not free speech – it’s a crime in Canada, and rightfully so.”
The time has come for Canada to finally get serious about addressing antisemitism and hatred against its Jewish community.
Over the last few years, several clear instances of antisemitic hate crimes have occurred throughout the country, though appropriate charges were never laid. B’nai Brith Canada has been diligent in reporting these hate crimes and demanding that the perpetrators be brought to justice. However, lawmakers have been silent when it comes to prosecuting these promoters of hatred and antisemitism.
German-Canadian Holocaust denier Alfred Schaefer has been charged with criminal incitement in Germany, after B’nai Brith Canada reported his activities to German officials.
Schaefer is the brother of disgraced former Green Party of Canada candidate Monika Schaefer, who was denounced by the party after B’nai Brith exposed her Holocaust denial video in June, 2016.
Alfred Schaefer is himself a regular creator of antisemitic YouTube videos, in which he glorifies Adolf Hitler, describes Jewish people as “parasites,” and accuses them of conspiring to eliminate “the European race.” Schaefer most recently addressed a neo-Nazi rally held in the German city of Dresden, and is also linked to suspended University of Lethbridge professor Anthony Hall, a promoter of anti-Israel conspiracy theories.
Rogers TV, which runs community programming throughout Canada, has pulled the plug on an Arabic-language show called AskMirna after B’nai Brith Canada drew its attention to antisemitic messages promoted in the program.
AskMirna, which describes itself as “presenting an accurate, positive, inspiring and entertaining image of the Arab-Canadian community,” dedicated an entire episode to “Nakba Day,” in which Palestinians annually mourn the establishment of the State of Israel and call for its destruction. This included an interview with Nazih Khatatba, who described Jewish suffering as “fairy tales” and engaged in Holocaust denial.
The Winnipeg Police Department and its Hate Crimes Coordinator are investigating an ugly antisemitic incident that occurred in a residential neighbourhood near downtown Winnipeg on New Year’s Eve after the victims, who have asked to remain anonymous, called B’nai Brith Canada’s 24-7 Anti-Hate Hotline.
“This is very unusual for Winnipeg,” Constable Rob Carver, Public Information Officer for Winnipeg Police, told B’nai Brith on Wednesday. “I can count on one hand in the 24 years I’ve been in this position the number of incidents that were as egregious and as threatening as this. We are very concerned about this and taking it very seriously.”
As part of B’nai Brith Canada’s week long series to commemorate the nearly 1-million Jews who fled their homes across Arab countries and Iran, we spoke to Joseph Esses and Olga Abadi Esses z"l from Syria.
As part of B’nai Brith Canada’s week-long series to commemorate the nearly 1-million Jews who fled their homes across Arab countries and Iran, we spoke to Asad Muallim from Iraq.
Although Asad left Iraq illegally in the early 1960s, his family that stayed endured many hardships, including arrests and property seizures due to their Jewish heritage. Many, Asad says, were hung and tortured by the government.
As part of B’nai Brith Canada’s week-long series to commemorate the nearly 1-million Jews who fled their homes across Arab countries and Iran, we spoke to Ronit Eskenasi from Lebanon.
Ronit’s grandfather was successful in smuggling several Jews out of Lebanon, wearing only the clothes on their backs, in the wake of rising antisemitism. Her mother, who also managed to escape, left her entire family behind. “The Jews didn’t want to take a chance to wait around,” she says.
As part of B’nai Brith Canada’s week-long series to commemorate the nearly 1-million Jews who fled their homes across Arab countries and Iran, we spoke to Noemi Lieberman, originally from Tripoli, Libya.
In 1947, wearing only the clothes on their backs, she and her family were forced to flee Libya, leaving all their possessions behind. To this day, neither she nor any of her family members have been given reparations of any kind.
Libya’s once-thriving Jewish community, which dates back to the third century BCE, once boasted a community of some 60,000 Jews. In 1939, Italy’s fascist regime under Benito Mussolini began to pass antisemitic laws in Libya. Jews were fired from their jobs, dismissed from government schools, and had their passports marked with the words “Jewish race.” In 1942, over 2,000 Jews were deported and sent to work in labour camps. More than one-fifth of them were murdered.
From the 1940s until the 1970s, and heightening with the founding of Israel in 1948, nearly 1-million Jews were expelled from their homes across Arab countries such as Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Algeria and Iran.
In Egypt, the government arrested and charged Jews with being part of Zionist or Communist plots. They seized Jewish assets, businesses and property valued at $2.5 billion (U.S.) and set fire to the Jewish quarters in Cairo and Alexandria. In Syria, the Jewish community (which also dates back to Biblical times) was subjected to abuse and draconian laws. According to historian Martin Gilbert, Jews were “ forbidden to own radios or telephones, or to maintain postal contact with the outside world” and all Jewish properties were “confiscated by the state when the owners died.”
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