WATCH: Anti-Semitic violence erupts at Toronto university
Wednesday night at York University in Toronto, members of the group Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) assaulted Jewish students attempting to attend a pro-Israel event at the university.
A group of Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) reservists came to York to speak to students and the public about their experiences in the army. This simple act caused the anti-Israel group on campus to conduct a “no killers on campus” campaign in which they not only disrupted the event but attempted to smear the reputation of multiple IDF soldiers by photoshopping them into violent situations.
Many protestors yelling in the hallways to “Free, Free Palestine” physically attacked ethnically Jewish people despite stating to be only against the Israeli government.
There were also loud chants of “Viva, Viva Intifada,” which is regularly referred to as calls for uprising and violence, notably seen on two occasions Israel in the multiple terror attacks committed by Palestinians against Israelis.
Among the chanting protestors was Holocaust denier Nazih Khatatba, who has in the past glorified the 2014 massacre at the Jerusalem synagogue and considers Judaism a “terrorist religion.” It is not known whether or not Mr. Khatatba was specifically invited or not at this time.
Despite the breakout of violence, police and campus security were on scene to quickly end the assault and send away the violent protests to avoid any serious injury.
Some members and allies of SAIA, including a former NDP candidate in the recent federal election, telegraphed their aggressive actions against the IDF event on Twitter positioning themselves against even the platforming for a reservist for an intellectual discussion.
The SAIA has, in the past, been involved in many controversial events, including a recent talk where they implied that Israelis are involved in actions equivalent to the Holocaust. Connecting the Jewish state specifically to a genocide mainly against the Jewish people.
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)’s definition of anti-Semitism categorizes “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” as meeting the threshold of being considered anti-Semitic.
The Twitter account of the official memorial at the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland is vocally denying Polish complicity in the Holocaust.
The Auschwitz concentration camp was set up by the Nazis during World War II to intern and kill Jews, Romanis, Socialists, Communists, Soviets, Poles, and other “undesirables.”
The camp, located in Poland, was liberated by the Soviet army after their decisive victory in the Battle of Stalingrad.
While the memorial to the camp serves as a chilling reminder to the horridness of Nazi atrocities, it has also begun expunging any mention of Polish complicity in the Holocaust.
While a great number of Poles bravely fought the Nazis and saved countless innocent lives, many were also involved in abetting the Nazis in their genocidal campaign.
In June 2018, the Polish Parliament passed a law that made it illegal to mention, reference, or acknowledge Polish abetment to, and complicity in, the Holocaust.
Twitter user Howard Lovy, who had family killed in the Holocaust, objected to a tweet released by Auschwitz Memorial that put the blame of the Holocaust solely on “German Nazis.”
In response, Auschwitz Memorial’s twitter replied with a denial of the Polish complicity in the act. Lovy rebuked the page by saying that many collaborators helped the Nazis enact their genocidal policies.
Within hours, Lovy received a flurry of antisemitic and hate-messages on Twitter and Facebook.
Ultimately, Lovy blocked the Auschwitz Twitter account.
Howard Lovy responded to The Post Millennial‘s request for comments.
“It’s part of a larger attempt by the nationalist government in Poland to absolve Poland of all responsibility for the Holocaust,” he said. “The social media people at Auschwitz are actually complying with a law in Poland that forbids them from blaming Poland for the Holocaust.”
“They’re going above and beyond that law, though, and actually going after people like me, and leading an army of Twitter trolls to gang up on people who tell the truth about Polish complicity,” he concluded.
Becca Wertman is Managing Editor and Canada Liaison at NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based research institute.
December 10 marks Human Rights Day, a day meant to recognize and reiterate the values enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Adopted by the United Nations in 1948, the Declaration captures the fundamental human rights of equality, life, and freedom, among others, which are supposed to underpin everything the UN does.
However, what I experienced last week at the UN in Geneva was the polar opposite of this promise.
On December–5, 2019, as a party to the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), Israel underwent its regular review by a panel tasked with evaluating State Parties’ adherence to this convention.
There was some hope that this would not be a standard UN attack against Israel. This was the same UN CERD Committee that in August reviewed the Palestinians, and took them to task for the deplorable presence of incitement and antisemitism in Palestinian textbooks. Perhaps the review of Israel would be fair; criticisms, which are unavoidable, would at least be based on fact.
Unfortunately, my speck of optimism was misplaced.
The Committee members’ evaluation of Israel was informed in large part by a group of organizations that seek to delegitimize the Jewish State. These non-governmental organizations (NGOs), which falsely claim to champion human rights and fight discrimination, utilized the review of Israel to promote racism and deny universal rights to Jews.
Their vitriol was in full effect during an informal briefing between NGOs and Committee members, where NGOs could provide the Committee with information they could use in their evaluation and answer questions. Other than me, the Managing Editor of NGO Monitor and someone who believes that the Jewish people deserve a sovereign state of our own, the NGO representatives were all virulently hostile to Israel.
What ensued in the hour-long meeting was a well-coordinated tirade against the only Jewish State, its right to exist, its right to defend its population, and the latter’s right to life. Very few comments made were actually based on fact. Most were based on pure hatred.
One familiar theme was the false canard of “apartheid”. An NGO official claimed that “there is an arbitrary categorization of Palestinians under different names imposed on Palestinians by Israel… Muslims, Christians, Druze… in order to deny Palestinian identity.” Needless to say, there was much consternation when I pointed out that many Druze, at least the ones I know, do not identify as Palestinian, but as Druze, and more importantly, it is not their role or mine to determine how anyone should self-identify.
Nor were they pleased when it was finally my turn to speak. I told the Committee that allegations that Israel has a “shoot to kill” policy are false, and that Israel faces real security concerns, including rockets regularly fired from Gaza and terror attacks throughout the country–such as the one I was in at Sarona Market in June 2016.
What made them most enraged was when I highlighted the widely endorsed International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism (adopted by the Canadian government in June 2019). I encouraged Committee members to use the definition as a tool to distinguish between legitimate criticism of Israel and antisemitism. As the NGO activists fully understood, this definition renders most of their attacks as antisemitic, in particular claims that Israel’s “raison d’état” is racist.
Unfortunately, the NGO rhetoric was parroted by members of the Committee in their review of Israel. As mentioned in an official UN press release about the proceedings, Israel’s Permanent Representative to the UN took note that “some of the non-governmental organizations that submitted reports to the Committee were exploiting this opportunity to present false facts that were later reflected in the questions raised by some Committee Experts.”
The UN ought to uphold the values of universality and not deny rights to select groups–especially at the time of year surrounding Human Rights Day. It is my sincere hope that in their forthcoming report, the Committee members will understand the absurdity of the NGO claim that every Israeli policy–from its security concerns to its very existence–is only in place to discriminate against the Palestinians. Such NGO statements are not only false, but are also antisemitic and contrary to universal human rights.
Unpredictable weather is in store for Ontarians this week. There will be a little bit of everything coming down the line, snow, rain, freezing rain and a couple mild days as well.
This snow is rapidly melting throughout Toronto and southern parts of Ontario have anywhere between 5-15 millimetres of rain en route for Monday.
That won’t last long however according to the Weather Network. Tuesday will see snow hitting The Big Smoke and the temperature will drop below freezing in the days following.
Wednesday will feel like -10 C in Toronto, as opposed to today’s feels like 7 C.
Northern Ontario has a freezing rain warning issued Environment Canada. North Eastern Ontario is expecting 5 to 20 centimetres of snow throughout Monday.
It’s also supposed to rain again on Saturday in Toronto so the falling snow is bound to melt. Snow squalls will be travelling from the north down to Southern Ontario over Tuesday and Wednesday.
What’s more surprising still is that trend of freezing rain and snow is supposed to continue for about the next three months, making for one slushy season.
December 6 marked the two-year anniversary of a proclamation made by United States President Donald Trump, stating that the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and instructed for the American embassy in Tel Aviv to be relocated to Jerusalem.
To the worldwide Jewish community, prayer is always pointed towards Jerusalem. The concept of Zionism comes from the yearning for a return for Zion, a hill in the city limits of Jerusalem, and the idea to ensure that there is a Jewish state that has the right to exist.
Historical and political evidence overwhelmingly proves that Jerusalem is the rightful capital of Israel.
Jerusalem is the holiest city in Judaism, it is the location of the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism. The holiest site that Jews can pray at, the Western Wall, is in the Old City of Jerusalem. It was in Jerusalem where the sacrificial binding of Isaac took place.
Jerusalem has always been the eternal capital of Israel for over 3000 years, well into the time of King David. There simply is a double standard set by the world at large that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.
On May 14, 2018, the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the state of Israel, Trump’s embassy promise was realized upon the opening of the American embassy in Jerusalem. An important proclamation was quickly delivered to Israel and to the Jewish people around the world.
Unfortunately, Canada has not followed the lead of the United States. It still does not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, even though its parliament, supreme court and residences of both the President and Prime Minister are located in the city.
Instead, Canada houses its embassy in Tel Aviv, where the majority of the world also houses their embassies.
For the most part, in the past decade, Canada has had a very good record of supporting Israel (besides a very disappointing anti-Israel vote last month), has a vibrant pro-Israel community in the country and even hosted the President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin this past spring.
The world knows that after the United States, it usually Canada that comes to mind of being the strongest ally to Israel. Furthermore, the important alliance that Canada and Israel share is well known and documented, from coast to coast to coast.
The Jewish community is united regarding this very issue and has frequently called on the federal government to finally follow on the lead President Trump has set, and move the embassy to Jerusalem.
At last year’s Conservative Party of Canada convention, the membership voted to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. During the election, the Tories promoted that they would recognize Jerusalem.
Yet the federal government, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has failed to recognize Jerusalem or move the embassy from Tel Aviv. Refusing to do this action will continue to leave a stain on Trudeau’s legacy in dealing with Israel and the Jewish community at large.
Trudeau continuously portrays the image of Canada and Israel being such strong allies, even though he and his government do not recognize the capital of their closest ally in one of the most hostile regions in the world.
The longer the Canadian embassy is in Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem is not recognized, the longer a continued strain grows. In a time when anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are on the rise, the federal government must realize that now is the time act on a foreign policy matter that is long overdue that would be celebrated around the world.
As the United States and Guatemala have done, Canada does not need to move the embassy into East Jerusalem, rather into West Jerusalem, an urban area within the city limits of Jerusalem.
At this point, a good start would be the opening of diplomatic offices in Jerusalem as many other countries, such as Brazil and Hungary have done. Opening a diplomatic office, such as a trade office would provide concrete evidence of the federal government taking an active role in further recognizing that Jerusalem is the de facto capital of Israel.
Canada is far behind the United States in real initiatives that have supported Israel. Moving the embassy is indeed a major initiative that needs to be carried out, and there are still other matters in which Canada lacks the United States with regards to support for Israel.
Canada has not frozen any funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), an organization that in part, funds terrorism and promotes anti-Semitism. The federal government has neither recognized the Golan Heights as sovereign Israeli territory or stated that the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria (commonly known as the West Bank) are legal.
Under Stephen Harper, Canada froze funds to UNRWA and after Trump’s lead, the recognition of Jerusalem would have been proclaimed and plans certainly would have been underway to move the embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
In an interview with Israel’s largest newspaper, Israel Hayom, Harper said that “now that the U.S. has done it, there is really every reason for the government of Canada to do it, and certainly my successor as leader of the Canadian parliament.”
Joe Clark, the short-lived Prime Minister of Canada from 1979-1980 had also promised to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, however, due to security risks, the plan did not go through.
Jerusalem is the heart and soul of the Jewish people and of the world’s only Jewish state, Israel. Ensuring that this special city, which is also heavily documented capital of the Holy Land, must finally be recognized.
Trudeau and his Liberal government need to finally act on what is right and ultimately, recognize Jerusalem and commence plans to move the Canadian embassy to the eternal capital of Israel.
It may not be a decision that the international community may condemn, but to Jewish Canadians, and the worldwide Jewish community, this is a moment that is worth rejoicing over.
The time is now for Canada to rightfully proclaim that Jerusalem, the golden jewel of the Middle East, is the true capital of Canada’s closest friend in the region, Israel.