A Note from Michael Levitt, FSWC President and CEO
Enough Is Enough
How the world now seems a different, less hospitable place than it was before October 7. Tomorrow marks exactly six weeks since that dark, fateful day when Hamas invaded southern Israel and slaughtered 1,200 people of all ages, wounded thousands of others and kidnapped 240 babies, children, women and men, including elderly Holocaust survivors. Since then, Jews around the world have faced a barrage of hate, both physical and verbal - from the vandalism and boycott of stores and restaurants to violent acts against synagogues and Jewish schools, from hostile actions on university campuses and city streets to unchecked antisemitism and misinformation running rampant on social media. Last week, we saw a synagogue and Jewish community centre firebombed and Jewish schools hit with bullets in Montreal, and this past week, we saw a Starbucks in a Jewish neighbourhood in Toronto targeted with hateful vandalism and, reported just today, TanenbaumCHAT high school in Toronto received a bomb threat that led to the evacuation of the entire school, filling students, parents and teachers with fear.
The Israel-Hamas war has emboldened those opposing Israel's right to exist to incite hatred and violence against Jews in Canada, threatening the safety and security of our community. We know from history that words carry weight and have the power to fuel violence. Inflammatory rhetoric from some leaders, including our Prime Minister, has made matters worse. That’s why we refuse to accept this "new normal," all the more so when it puts our children and their future at risk. We refuse to be victims as we remain steadfast and resilient, and continue to stand up with the support of our allies, including those in law enforcement, government and education, who have been sounding the alarm on rising antisemitism and working to combat it. Enough is enough.
Amid so much sobering news, it's been heartwarming to see the Jewish people around the world coming together in unity and strength this past week, standing in solidarity for Israel, the release of those held hostage by Hamas in Gaza and against antisemitism. In Paris, we saw more than 100,000 people march against antisemitism, along with smaller rallies elsewhere in France. In Washington, DC, nearly 300,000 people peacefully gathered for the March for Israel. And here in Toronto, thousands came together at Christie Pits Park last Sunday to demand the immediate, unconditional release of the 240 hostages in Gaza while showing solidarity with Israel.
Our community will not be intimidated, silenced or silent. Our voices will continue to be heard loud and clear, and we won't back down in the face of antisemitism. Too much is at stake.
Always and forever, Am Yisrael Chai.