Toronto’s Mayor on Sunday underlined a zero tolerance attitude toward antisemitism, following a pro-Palestinian demonstration on Saturday in the city’s downtown neighborhood at which some Jewish counter-protestors were “brutally assaulted,” according to some eyewitness reports.
“Hate, antisemitism and violence have no place in our city,” Toronto Mayor John Tory tweeted on Sunday. “Any violence against our city’s Jewish community or members of any other community in Toronto is absolutely unacceptable.”
Tory said that he had asked Toronto Police Chief James Ramer to investigate a “video of a particularly disturbing incident that was sent to me.”
A video of one incident at the Toronto demonstration that was shared on social media showed young pro-Palestinian demonstrators, their faces wrapped in keffiyeh scarves, savagely beating a lone middle-aged Jewish man as he attempted desperately to flee the blows.
Another victim of the same attack said she had been sexually molested during her ordeal.
The pro-Palestinian assailants “threw rocks, water bottles and glass bottles at us,” the unnamed victim was quoted as saying. She explained that the police had been “escorting us to the parking lot where our car was.”
“At the parking lot I saw an elderly Jewish guy getting jumped,” she said. “They pulled his hair and as he turned around they jumped. They beat him with sticks.”
She continued: “Then I yelled at them and one of them kicked me while another grabbed my breasts and made kissy noises. Then he ran off.”
Toronto police separately confirmed that they had charged three demonstrators for violent and disorderly behavior at Saturday’s rally.
The three were named as Tarik Khaled Elzaabalawi, 24, of Mississauga, Hamza Alkiswany, 22, of Thornhill, and Connor Campbell, 29, of Toronto.
In a joint statement, four Canadian Jewish organizations condemned the fact that Jewish counter-protestors had been “brutal assaulted” by antisemitic, pro-Palestinian thugs.
“We condemn in the strongest terms these brazen acts of assault, intimidation, and hate targeting members of Toronto’s Jewish community and supporters of Israel,” the statement declared. “There is absolutely no justification for political violence in the streets of Toronto, whatever one’s cause may be. To put it bluntly: Those who hate Israel so much that it inspires them to egg and assault their fellow Canadians aren’t just a threat to Jews. They threaten the very fabric of Canadian society.”