Jewish Community Won't Be Intimidated by Smear Campaign to Block Former Israeli PM's Entry to Canada

June 1, 2023

News Release

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Toronto (June 1, 2023) - Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) is voicing sharp criticism of an inflammatory action by anti-Israel activists in Canada that defames former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett as a war criminal and seeks to bar him from Canada to speak at an FSWC event this month in Toronto.

This week, several Canadian anti-Israeli organizations filed a legal brief with the federal government in an attempt to have Bennett declared inadmissible to Canada before he speaks at FSWC’s annual State of the Union event in Toronto on June 14. Their complaint, which is rife with false allegations, calls on the government to prohibit the entry of Bennett due to “its legal obligations to exclude… perpetrators of atrocities” and “individuals who have committed or are complicit in crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide.”

“Canada’s Jewish community will not be silenced, nor will we yield to outrageous, defamatory actions by fringe anti-Israel activists,” said FSWC President and CEO Michael Levitt. “This complaint is a baseless smear campaign as part of a larger effort to vilify and delegitimize the State of Israel and intimidate Canadian Jews. This is not the first time that the anti-Israel mob has attempted to subvert the law, misusing Canada's judicial system to advance its agenda and score political points. Like previous efforts, this is destined to fail.

"We won’t back down in the face of this egregious attempt to cancel our event. We’re proud to host a former Israeli prime minister, especially a leader who formed the most diverse government in the country’s history that included an Arab party as part of a governing coalition for the first time.”

The action of those petitioning the government is having the opposite effect of what they probably would have desired. It has already increased interest in the June 14 event at The Symes in Toronto where Heather Reisman, Executive Chair and Founder of Indigo Books and Music, will conduct a Q&A with Naftali Bennett as part of a discussion titled ‘Israel at 75: The Road Ahead.’

Join us on June 14 to send a message that the Jewish community will not be silenced and intimidated.

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