In this op-ed for the Toronto Sun, author and CEO of B'nai B'rith Canada Michael Mostyn writes that the Al Quds Day March should be cancelled due to its highly anti-Semitic speakers and undertones.
Imagine, for a moment, that a 1,000-strong rally took place each year on city property in downtown Toronto.
Imagine that speakers at this rally described people of African descent as “inhuman,” praised the KKK and its leaders, alleged that Canada is “basically owned” by Africans, and called for Africans in formerly white-ruled South Africa to be “shot” if they insisted on remaining in their homeland.
Imagine that, in a show of force, participants in this rally marched up University Ave., disrupting traffic on one of the city’s busiest arteries.
The City of Toronto, you would understandably assume, would take every step possible to prevent this sort of hate rally from continuing.
In reality, a rally just like this – the Al Quds Day march – does take place each year in Toronto. The only difference is that, instead of targeting Africans, it targets Jews and Israelis.
The city’s failure to stop this outrage – and its instance on subsidizing this hate rally at taxpayers’ expense – is an unmitigated municipal embarrassment.
The irony is that the politicians aren’t to blame for this one. Recently, after a year of dithering, city council finally endorsed proposals by Mayor John Tory and Councillor James Pasternak to impose financial penalties on organizers of hate activities on city property.
B’nai Brith Canada, as the grassroots voice of Canadian Jewry, followed up twice with city staff to reveal what the city is doing to implement council’s instructions in advance of the 2019 Al Quds Day rally June 1.
The answer: Apparently nothing.
Judging by the lack of substantive response from city staff, it appears that the Al Quds organizers won’t need to pay for occupying University Ave. without a permit. They won’t need to pay for using sound amplification equipment, again without a permit. They won’t need to pay for the dozens of police officers, at least, who will be required to secure the rally and prevent clashes with counter-protesters.
Instead, taxpayers – including Jewish and Israeli residents of Toronto – will be forced to pay for this outpouring of hate. Organizers of peaceful, lawful public events – such as Ribfest, the Walk with Israel, and the Roncesvalles Polish Festival – all pay their own fees. But hatemongers seemingly get a free pass from the city.
Many, if not most, Al Quds attendees aren’t even residents of Toronto. Last year, organizers hired eight buses to bring participants downtown, mostly coming from mosques in cities such as Brampton, Richmond Hill and Pickering. Only one Toronto pick-up location is listed.
In other words, extremists from across Southern Ontario will gather to spew hate in Toronto – and leave Torontonians footing the bill.
I call on the City of Toronto to put an end to this madness. I call on city staffers to simply do their jobs, and enforce the city’s Hate Activity Policy, which they have inexplicably failed to do for years.
At the end of the day, what I really call for is an end to the hypocrisy. We all know that if any other religious or national group were targeted in this way, the city would have taken decisive action long ago.
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