FSWC Calls on City Leaders to Take a Stand Against Hateful Anti-Israel Rallies in Toronto

May 17, 2023

News Release

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Video screenshot of Nakba Day rally in Toronto (May 13, 2023)

Toronto (May 17, 2023) – Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) is calling on the Toronto deputy mayor, city councillors and mayoral candidates to publicly speak out against recent anti-Israel rallies that featured hateful rhetoric and stoked antisemitism and violence.

The most recent rally took place Saturday in downtown Toronto, where demonstrators commemorated Nakba Day by chanting “Free Palestine, from the river to the sea, from every single Zionist,” “Glory to our united armed resistance,” “We will go back to 1948: one state, one Palestinian state” and “There is only one solution, intifada revolution,” among other chants that promoted armed violence against Israelis and the erasure of the Jewish state of Israel.

Prior to the Nakba Day rally, an Al-Quds Day rally in Toronto also called for violence against Israelis as well as featured posters equating the Star of David to the swastika and distorting Holocaust memory. Meanwhile, Jewish businesses and city property continue to be targeted by activists with demonstrations and vandalism.

“These inflammatory statements go far beyond advocating for Palestinian rights – they constitute open incitement to violence and hate,” said FSWC President and CEO Michael Levitt in letters to Toronto Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie, city councillors and Toronto mayoral candidates. “What is so concerning about these toxic calls is that they can easily lead to violence, not just in the Middle East but also against Jews here in Toronto.”

“In recent weeks, we have heard from many members of the Jewish community of Toronto who’ve told us these incidents are making them feel unsafe and unwelcome in the city they call home,” Levitt continued, stating the importance of the leaders taking the situation seriously, publicly denouncing the hateful rallies and assuring the Jewish community it has the city’s support “before it becomes a question of physical safety.”