FSWC Condemns Antisemitic Attack on Canadian Politician

September 18, 2019

Media Statement

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Toronto (September 18, 2019) – Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) condemns, in the strongest possible terms, an antisemitic Facebook attack on Liberal Candidate Michael Levitt posted by the group "Canadian Defenders for Human Rights" (CD4HR).

On CD4HR’s Facebook page called “Boycott Israeli interests/products in Canada,” the group wrote that Levitt is an, “intolerant Zionist politician that clearly is working for the Israeli regime’s interests…he will never criticize the Israeli regime that he represents in Canada.” The group goes on to warn the public to “Be aware and make sure that such politicians that are working for other interests then Canada’s are not welcome in parliamentary positions representing real loyal loving Canadians.” The statement is accompanied by a photo of Levitt with the caption “The intolerant voice of Israel in Canada.”

The antisemitism levelled at Levitt comes on the heels of reports from five different federal candidates across the country that their campaign materials were defaced with swastikas within the last week. These candidates include an NDP candidate in Vancouver Island, one Liberal and two PC candidates in Montreal, as well as a Liberal candidate in New Brunswick.

“In my 27 years in this field on behalf of the Jewish community, I have never seen a spate of sickening antisemitism during elections,” said FSWC president and CEO Avi Benlolo. “The antisemitism we are seeing is linked to old Nazi-styled antisemitism coupled with new politicized antisemitism targeting Israel and Jewish leaders. This is not a partisan issue. It must be condemned with one voice by all parties."

In 2015, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) endorsed a detailed definition of antisemitism, which was officially adopted by the Canadian government in June 2019. According to the IHRA, accusations that Jewish citizens are “more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations” are by definition antisemitic.