Authorities must articulate clearly that arrests will be made and charges laid for racist breaches of the Criminal Code

Liberal MP Marco Mendicino famously called in the police to make arrests, freeze bank accounts and break up the Ottawa trucker protests in 2022 for obstructing traffic and blowing their horns. Why, then, is his Liberal government not taking similar action when Jewish homes, synagogues and businesses are being firebombed, shot at, and otherwise terrorized? When even CNN is talking about the wave of violence targeting the Canadian Jewish community, we have passed an obvious tipping point.

Let there be no doubt that these are not peaceful protests in support of Palestinian rights. If they started that way for some, the movement morphed quickly into overt antisemitism.

These rallies all call for the extermination of Jews (not Arabs) in Israel through the chant “From the River to the Sea” — deemed hate speech by many European governments. In some cases, the invective is even worse, with swastikas included in their signage.

Posters on social media called upon McGill students to participate in a “National Day of Shutdown” in support of a “rally for Gaza.” They selected the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Nazi night of broken glass, the official start of the Nazi campaign to exterminate the Jews of Europe in which violent German mobs smashed the windows of synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses. To ensure that no one missed the point, the McGill poster featured an image of a group of individuals kicking and breaking glass windows. Even the principal of McGill was forced to denounce it as anti-Semitic.

Fire bombings in Montreal. A Jewish delicatessen in Toronto set on fire with its windows broken and the words “Free Palestine” scrawled outside. More recently, vandalism at the popular Gryfe’s bagels bakery. No association with Israel — just with Jews.

But if anyone doubted the substance of what is going on, look at the constant hate rallies at the Wilson and Avenue Road overpass in the middle of the largest Jewish neighbourhood in Toronto. Why was that location chosen, rather than a public square, say, outside City Hall?

There are nine synagogues within a kilometre or two of that overpass, in an otherwise entirely residential neighbourhood with a large Jewish population, including numerous Holocaust survivors, to terrify and intimidate. And it has succeeded, with many removing their homes’ identifying mezuzahs and staying indoors.

Our prime minister, assiduously cultivating the large Muslim vote, reflexively references Islamaophobia every time there is an instance of vicious antisemitism, but has been shamefully silent on South Africa’s application to cite Israel for genocide.

He has been beyond a disappointment from the outset, saying nothing until recently about the escalating violence against Jews, accepting Hamas’s false statement that Israel had committed a war crime by bombing a hospital in Gaza rather than waiting for evidence, as others did, continuing to throw money at UNWRA despite proof that many of its managers and members are employees of Hamas, all of this culminating in Hamas’s thank you message to Canada for supporting it in the UN ceasefire resolution.

I might add that Trudeau has nothing on his caucus mate, Liberal MP Salma Zahid, who asked the Canadian government to actually support South Africa’s genocide application. And this after Trudeau ingloriously abandoned Canada’s historic allyship with the only democracy in the Middle East, abstaining from the recent resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire knowing full well that, absent any agreement, a full ceasefire would inexorably lead to Hamas rearming and conducting further attacks against the Jewish state as it has repeatedly promised since Oct. 7.

With members of the NDP like MP Moe Jaberi speaking at hate rallies on the topic, there is little hope from that party, joined at the hip with the Liberals as it is.

But the biggest question is this. Why have the police done nothing in response to the co-ordinated, well-funded campaign of disruptions, blockades and “cancelling Christmas” demonstrations? The apotheosis being their delivery of coffee to the antisemitic protesters blockading the overpass near Avenue Road and Wilson (Protesters who referred to the police, in turn, as “our little messengers.”) When, in front of the police, a protester at the Eaton Centre in December had threatened to put one citizen “six feet deep,” and no charges were laid, most were astounded. The police explanation that they laid no charges because the threat was not to a police officer but to a member of the public left collective heads shaking. Isn’t it the public they are sworn to protect?

If these same attacks were being made against Blacks, Indigenous people, Muslims or any other minority, can anyone doubt that resolute action would have been taken earlier and that the loudest voices demanding that action would have come from these same protesters?

It is not as if they can’t.

Blocking roadways is prohibited by the Criminal Code. These demonstrators could be charged with trespass when they attend privately owned premises such as malls. There is a Criminal Code prohibition against “uttering threats” which have been manifold, as such a  threat can either be to private property or bodily harm. Incitement of hate, with which these rallies are replete, is another criminal offence. Finally, there is the charge of criminal mischief. All of these would apply to what has already occurred.

There are two notable exceptions. The group the Toronto Star has dubbed “the Indigo 11,” who sprayed red paint, signifying blood, and plastered posters attacking Jewish founder Heather Reisman on an Indigo store, are now facing charges of criminal harassment with potential penalties of 10 years incarceration. They are mostly professors, teachers and university students, not a surprise since most of the intellectual rot started in academia.
The other is that, after the public outcry about the police being handmaids in delivering coffee, the Avenue Road overpass protests have finally been banned.

But the Indigo charges must immediately cease to be an exception and Toronto Police Chief Myron Demkiw, who is coming around, and other police forces must articulate clearly that arrests will be made and serious charges laid for obstruction, intimidation and all other racist breaches of the Criminal Code. And, for those that don’t, we should demand their immediate replacement. Canada cannot be permitted to degenerate into lawlessness by those with the loudest voices and most intimidating demeanours. The criminals must be prosecuted. When that starts routinely occurring, the criminality will decline or end. That is how justice works.