Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

In Toronto, Thousands Arrive to Rally Against anti-Semitism

Over 4,000 showed up at a community march to demonstrate that "we will not be silent" in the wake of rising global anti-Semitism

By: Daniel Koren

Published: August 21st, 2014 in News » World

In the wake of the ongoing conflict between Hamas terrorists and the Israel Defense Forces, all over the world anti-Semitic incidents have reached figures unprecedented since the Nazi era.

In the U.K., a local charity has reported that anti-Semitism in the area has been up a staggering 500% since the outset of Operation Protective Edge; in Sweden, a mother of four was beaten and harassed for simply wearing her Star of David pendant; in South Africa, politicians have condemned the State of Israel by comparing it to Nazi Germany; in Ireland, protesters have taken to supermarkets to expel its Israeli products, wearing pro-Palestinian shirts; yesterday, in Philadephia, a Jewish student was physically and verbally attacked by members of the Students for Justice in Palestine, simply for trying to hold a peaceful conversation with them.

Sadly, this list can go on and on.

A recent study by the Anti-Defamation League has confirmed a “dramatic surge” in global anti-Semitism, saying violence against Jews and Jewish institutions has “metastasized” during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in July and early August. Some European and Israeli leaders fear that this could be the start of a “new” Holocaust.

Many Jews, particularly in Europe, have chosen to remain in their homes as the war rages on, hoping that normality will ensue once a permanent ceasefire is reached.

But in Toronto, home to a large and incredibly diverse community, residents both Jewish and non-Jewish have proven that they “will not be silent.”

Last night (Wednesday) at an event organized by UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, over 4,000 Torontonians arrived to declare their solidarity with the people of Israel, and to demonstrate that in the wake of rising anti-Semitism, we will not be silent.

Nor will we will not allow global anti-Zionism or anti-Semitism to intimidate or harass us.

Showing up at the Holy Blossom Temple (near the corner of Bathurst and Eglinton), the residents of Toronto showed their unwavering support for Israel: we arrived dressed in blue and white, proudly waving Israeli and Canadian flags, as we took to the street. We sang Hebrew folk songs, we marched peacefully in unison (as cars drove by and honked in support) and arrived at our destination: Bialik Hebrew Day School, where we were addressed by Israel’s Consul General to Toronto, DJ Schneeweiss, Holocaust survivor Bill Glied, Diller graduate Leora Nash, and internationally renowned journalist Martin Himel.

The event’s Master of Ceremonies was one Shael Rosenbaum, Vice Chair of UJA’s Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre.

The objective of the evening was clear: to educate the residents of Toronto of how this international surge of anti-Israel behavior stems from anti-Semitism, and that the parallels of the Holocaust to the demonization of Israel that is currently taking place around the world do indeed exist.

“I see the placards that spew blatant anti-Semitism in Berlin, Paris and London,” said an impassioned Glied. “This, after the Shoah, after six million [lost their lives]. ‘Hamas, Hamas Jews to the Gas’ sounds ominously like the ‘Juden-raus‘ [“Jews Out”] I heard in 1939. This is not anti-Israel: this is crass Jew hatred. And when George Galloway, the Member of Parliament for the English city of Bradford, says ‘Bradford is an Israel free zone’, it sounds very much like the ‘Juden-rein‘ [“Clean of Jews”] cities of Nazi Germany.”

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