Toronto (January 11, 2024) – Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) welcomes the Toronto Police Service’s (TPS) announcement today on its actions this week amid an unprecedented surge in antisemitism in the city.
In a statement issued this morning, TPS said it had arrested a 41-year-old man who it charged with Public Incitement of Hatred after he allegedly marched in a demonstration waving a flag of a listed terrorist group on Jan. 7 in downtown Toronto.
Toronto Police Chief Myron Demkiw also stated the recent series of anti-Israel demonstrations on the Avenue Rd. and Highway 401 overpass next to a predominantly Jewish neighbourhood will no longer be permitted and that “people can expect to be arrested if necessary.” This follows repeated concerns raised by the local community, Jewish and non-Jewish residents alike, over the major disruptions and provocations the nearby neighbourhood of Armour Heights was forced to endure.
“These latest actions taken by the Toronto Police Service come at a critical point, as the Jewish community deals with an extreme surge in antisemitic incidents and acts of intimidation,” said FSWC President and CEO Michael Levitt. “Day after day, Jews in Toronto and across the country have been targeted, harassed and intimidated.”
“We welcome the announcement by the Toronto Police Service and commend Chief Demkiw’s ongoing commitment to working to ensure acts of hate and intimidation are dealt with appropriately and swiftly to the fullest extent of the law,” Levitt added. “We also urge the City of Toronto to reconsider its just-proposed budget cuts to Toronto Police funding to ensure police have the necessary resources to deal with the rapidly evolving challenges facing not just the Jewish community but all Torontonians in the face of heightened tensions in our city.”
According to the TPS statement, antisemitic incidents made up 37 per cent of all hate crimes reported in 2023. Last year, there were 132 antisemitic hate crimes reported, compared to 65 in 2022.