Two protests in Canada feature anti-Semitic elements – only one gets highlighted and condemned. Why?
Canadian supporters of Israel express outrage on social media, claiming a BDS protest in Toronto was ignored while the thousands-strong truckers convoy has been labeled as “fringe, racist”
While all eyes in Canada – if not the world – are focused on the Freedom Convoy truckers’ protest in Ottawa against COVID-19 mandates, a disturbing anti-Israel protest in Toronto slipped under the radar.
B'nai Brith Canada, an organization committed to combating racism and anti-Semitism, posted a video of hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists marching through downtown Toronto on Jan. 29 from Yonge-Dundas Square to the Israeli Consulate. The protesters in the video are heard chanting “Intifada,” which means a violent uprising against the State of Israel.
“Meanwhile in Toronto, a hate-filled protest on Saturday drew no media coverage. Where's the outrage? Protestors called for the destruction of Israel & violent uprisings with chants of "Intifada, intifada, we don't want two states, bring us back to ‘48.” #Antisemitism #genocide,” the organization tweeted.
Meanwhile in Toronto, a hate-filled protest on Saturday drew no media coverage. Where's the outrage? Protestors called for the destruction of Israel & violent uprisings with chants of "Intifada, intifada, we don't want two states, bring us back to ‘48.” #Antisemitism #genocide pic.twitter.com/R5d9s34138— B'nai Brith Canada (@bnaibrithcanada) January 31, 2022
The chant “we don't want two states, bring us back to ‘48” is a call for a destruction of the Jewish state. Footage from the Hands Off Palestine march showed signs calling for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, as well as signs that read, “Free Palestine” and “Hands Off Sheikh Jarrah.”
Sheikh Jarrah is a neighborhood in East Jerusalem that has captured international attention following a controversy over a long-time home ownership dispute between Jewish owners and Palestinian tenants. Two weeks ago, Israeli police and the Jerusalem municipality enforced a court-approved eviction order of a Palestinian family from “illegal buildings built on [public space] designated for a school for children with special needs.”
Canadian supporters of Israel on Twitter pointed out the lack of media coverage of hateful elements in the Toronto protest, as opposed to the extensive focus on hate symbols that appeared in the coverage of the Ottawa trucker’s protest. They tagged Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canadian media outlets asking why is there is no coverage and no condemnation?
One tweet reads: “@JustinTrudeau @CBCNews @CTVNews Want to explain why this true hatred never made it to the news? We are listening…..”
And in another tweet, someone asked, “A more accurate question is why wasn't the media there. Were they informed? Was this publicly planned? I'd so why didn't they cover it. If we don't see it we can't call it out.”
Meanwhile, images shared on social media from the Ottawa demonstrations showed protesters waving flags with swastikas on them, as well as one U.S. confederate flag. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau denounced the “symbols of hatred and division” that were on display during the mass demonstrations in Ottawa against COVID-19 mandates. He did not, however, address the disturbing chants from the Toronto protest calling to annihilate the Jewish state.
B'nai Brith Canada said on Twitter that it was “deeply disturbed by the use of the swastikas” at the protest.
The Freedom Convoy 2022, as it has become known in Ottawa, however, was organized by a Jewish and a native Canadian – Benjamin Dichter and Tamara Lich respectively.
“Far from being a uniformly disgruntled group of white Canadians, not that there is anything wrong with being that, one saw Indo-Canadians, Arab Canadians, Chinese Canadians, Black Canadians and just about every other ethnic Canadian under the sun,” The National Post reported.
The story continues:
“Dichter and Lich say they have no truck, no pun intended, with any racist fringe elements who may have attached themselves to their movement. A few images have been doing the rounds of Confederate and Swastika flags, but as Dichter told me, as he is Jewish and Lich is Metis, the notion that they would endorse such racism is 'hysterical.’”
Supporters of Israel note the discrepancies in media coverage and condemnation of anti-Semitic slurs and symbols that have emerged from the political right, versus when they emanate from the left or from Muslim sources.
For them, the two different protests in Canada are just one example of many.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.