Toronto (April 27, 2023) – Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) voiced anger today after viewing disturbing video footage of a young man in Montreal stealing a Jewish school’s Israeli flags and setting them on fire. It was one of a spate of hateful acts by anti-Israel activists yesterday on Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day.
A video posted yesterday by StopAntisemitism, a US-based organization, shows a man walking by Hebrew Foundation School in the Montreal suburb of Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Quebec and removing Israeli flags from the school’s gate, after which he sets the flags on fire.
This incident took place the same day protesters attempted to take down the Israeli flag at Toronto City Hall that was raised in honour of Yom Ha’atzmaut. Meanwhile, in the suburb of Thornhill near Toronto, another group of individuals demonstrated with Palestinian flags at a shopping plaza frequented largely by the Orthodox Jewish community.
“These incidents in Montreal and Toronto are clear examples of when anti-Zionism equates to antisemitism,” said FSWC President and CEO Michael Levitt. “The targeting of Jewish schools and businesses and destroying the Israeli flag send a hateful message to Canada’s Jews, seeking to vilify them for their support of the world’s one and only Jewish State. The attack on the Jewish school is an alarming antisemitic act of property damage and must be investigated by police.”
Montreal police are aware of the incident in Dollard-des-Ormeaux and are now investigating.
UPDATE: We commend Montreal police for their quick arrest of a suspect in connection with the disturbing Israeli flag burning outside a Jewish school. This sends a message that such hateful acts will not be tolerated.