Community Intelligence Brief: October 25, 2023

October 25, 2023


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Latest News

FSWC Horrified by Spike in Antisemitic Incidents in Toronto

FSWC is deeply disturbed by the recent surge in antisemitic incidents in Toronto, including a slew of new hate crimes targeting Jews that police are now investigating. Yesterday, the Toronto Police Service notified the public of two incidents that are under investigation, one involving a stolen mezuzah and another consisting of hateful remarks. Other incidents across the city involved graffiti depicting the Star of David smeared with red paint to symbolize blood and words such as “Free Palestine” and “Soaked in Blood” above the symbol.

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Toronto Police Say Over 130% Rise in Hate-Related Calls Since Israel-Gaza War

“We have been clear and we remain resolute, the Toronto Police Service will not tolerate acts of violence, intimidation or hate toward any community,” said Toronto Police Chief Myron Demkiw during a Toronto Police Service Board meeting last week. There has been a reported 132 per cent increase in hate-related calls to Toronto police since October 7, and of the 14 hate crimes reported over the span of less than two weeks, 12 of them were antisemitic.

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Ontario MPP Sarah Jama Censured and Removed from NDP Caucus Over Israel-Gaza Comments

The Ontario NDP ejected Hamilton-Centre MPP Sarah Jama, after which she was also censured by the Doug Ford government over her comments about the Israel-Gaza war. FSWC welcomed the removal of Jama from caucus, with FSWC President and CEO Michael Levitt telling CTV News, "The type of rhetoric that's been applied by Sarah Jama certainly, in broad terms, has thrown fuel on the fire, and I'm hoping this move will calm some of those tensions."

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TMU Students Face Criticism Over Open Letter on Israel-Hamas War

Toronto Metropolitan University and its Lincoln Alexander School of Law issued statements denouncing a recent letter from law students that endorsed "all forms of Palestinian resistance," demonized Israel and denied its existence. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Universities and Colleges said that it expects “that TMU will adopt appropriate measures to address this incident, as well as any incidents of hate, racism, and discrimination at their institutions.”

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York University Threatens Recognition of 3 Student Unions Following Statement on Israel-Hamas War

York University issued a notice last Friday to three student unions following their joint statement on the Israel-Hamas war that FSWC called "incendiary" and an attempt to glorify Hamas. York has called on the unions to take a series of actions - including retracting the statement, issuing a statement saying they don't "endorse or support antisemitism or any form of discrimination or violence" and that they acknowledge the harm caused, and having all student union executives resign - or undergo a hearing instead, which may result in sanctions if found guilty of breaching university policies.

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Hamas ‘Has to Be Eliminated,’ Canada’s Defence Minister Says

On his way into the weekly cabinet meeting yesterday, Canadian Minister of National Defence Bill Blair said the Government of Canada stands by Israel's right to defend itself, adding, "Hamas has to be eliminated as a threat not just to Israel but to the world. They are a terrorist organization."

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Holocaust Education Bus Tours Schools in Waterloo Region

FSWC's Tour for Humanity mobile education centre is in Waterloo Region this week, delivering Holocaust education to students in Waterloo, Kitchener and Cambridge, Ont. Since its launch in 2013, the Tour for Humanity has visited more than 1,000 schools across Canada.

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‘I Went Through Hell:’ Released Hamas Hostage Describes Being Kidnapped and Taken into Tunnel System

Yocheved Lifshitz, a frail 85-year-old grandmother who was one of two hostages released by Hamas on Monday, recounted the moment that terrorists kidnapped her from her home in Israel and drove her to Gaza, saying she "went through hell."

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European Cities See Vigils to Oppose Antisemitism and Rallies Seeking Relief for Gaza

Thousands of people joined vigils in Berlin and London on Sunday to oppose antisemitism and support Israel, while in Paris and other cities, thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators demanded a ceasefire.

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Israel's Holocaust Survivors Struggle with Gaza War as Trauma Deepens

Tens of thousands of elderly survivors of the Holocaust who live in Israel are once again facing up to the reality of war, with more than 220 Israelis taken hostage in Gaza. "This all reminds me of what we went through during the Holocaust and how much we suffered," said Sarina Blumenfeld, who lives in the city of Ashdod.

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Adam Sandler, Amy Schumer and Long List of Celebs Ask Biden to Keep Pushing for Release of Israeli Hostages

A strikingly long list of celebrities launched a campaign called #NoHostageLeftBehind on Monday, aimed at pressuring President Joe Biden to continue to work to secure the release of the more than 200 hostages taken captive by Hamas on Oct. 7.

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Report Antisemitism and News of Concern to FSWC

If you would like to report antisemitism or news of concern to Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, please email

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