On May 13, 2019 Michael Levitt, Liberal MP for York Centre, Roman Baber, Conservative MPP for York Centre and Toronto Councillor James Pasternak (Ward 6) issued a joint statement:
York Centre elected representatives condemn planned harassment and anti-Semitic counter-rally at Walk with Israel
We are aware of an anti-Israel rally in our York Centre constituency that is planned to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the annual UJA Walk with Israel next Monday, May 20. The social media for this rally includes an anti-Semitic video filmed outside a local synagogue that delegitimizes Israel’s right to exist.
Denying Jewish people their right to self-determination, such as through denying Israel’s right to exist, is anti-Semitic.
That the rally organisers chose to film this deplorable video outside a synagogue is deeply troubling. particularly at a time when houses of worship of all faiths are being targeted for acts of violence and hate.
We were in immediate contact with UJA Federation of Greater Toronto and the Centre for Israel Affairs (CIJA). who are actively coordinating security with Toronto Police Service, to ensure that the local community and all Walk with Israel participants will be safe and free from anti-Semitic intimidation and harassment during the Walk. We are reassured that Toronto Police Service will have considerable resources available to ensure the peace is kept.
We will also be asking TPS to document any instances of hate speech or incitement during the rally, so that this information can be passed to the Attorney General of Ontario. As the elected representatives for York Centre from all three orders of government, we:
1. Condemn the video and rally, and reiterate that anti-Semitism and all other forms of racism and xenophobia have no place in our society.
2. Reassure that the safety of our community is our number one priority and all levels of government will work together to ensure public safety, now and in the future.
3. Advocate that the best way to stand against hate is to celebrate and support the Canadian values of tolerance and diversity. We encourage community members to join us at the Walk. where we will fill the streets of Toronto with blue and white, and raise our voices in support of the State of Israel.
“This kind of anti-Semitic harassment in our community during a time of celebration is unconscionable. The increasingly dangerous atmosphere of anti-Semitism and xenophobia cannot be ignored. We will not be intimidated or silenced from celebrating our heritage. As we celebrate 70 years of Canada-Israel relations, Canada continues to be a steadfast friend and ally of Israel. The anti-Semitism and anti-Israel rhetoric on display only strengthens our resolve to stand In solidarity with the State of Israel and the Israeli people.”
Michael Levitt, M.P. York Centre
“The so called ‘counter rally amounts to a clear example of frightening and vile anti-Semitism within our community. It follows an alarming trend both in Toronto and around the world. Ontario’s Government is committed to ensuring the dignity and safety of the Jewish Community all around the Province. We are working closely with our municipal partner the City of Toronto to preserve the safety and well-being being of all affected.”
Roman Baber, M.P.P. York Centre
“The City of Toronto will do everything in its power to protect the right of peaceful assembly for the Jewish community. Walk with Israel should be free of harassment, intimidation and anti-Semitism. Police services have been alerted and they must do what is necessary to uphold the Charter and document hate activities so the Attorney General of Ontario can press charges.”
Councillor James Pasternak. Ward 6
For more information: Office of Michael Levitt. M.P. 416-638-3700 [email protected] Office of Roman Baber, M.P.P. 416-326-7114 [email protected] Office of Councillor James Pastemak, Ward 6 416-392-1371 [email protected]