• Wed. May 29th, 2024

Canada-Based Jewish Community Center Attacked With Firebomb, Hamas in Canada

Nov 28, 2023

Jewish Community Center in Canada Targeted

Several Jewish Community Centers across the world have come under attack in recent weeks following the Israel-Hamas conflict. A Canada-based center became the latest target on Sunday. It was attacked with a Molotov cocktail.

According to Rabbi Saul Emanuel, who runs the Jewish Community Center, the attack happened a few minutes before midnight, hours after he had hosted about 60 representatives from various institutions to discuss recent firebombings. Local MPs Rachel Bendayan and Anthony Housefather were among the attendees.

Emanuel said he knew the center had been attacked after a fire alarm went off. Luckily, the Canadian Fire Department responded in time and put down the blaze, but it had already caused damage to the building’s glass door.

The Jewish Community Center serves as an intermediary body between the Canadian authorities and the Jewish community in the country. Its services range from offering kosher certification to providing Beit Din (a religious tribunal) and arranging divorces.

Several Leaders Condemn the Latest Antisemitic Attack

While condemning the attack, Emanuel said the intimidation tactics executed by antisemitic people would not stop workers at the center from serving the Jewish community in Canada.

Speaking to the press outside the Jewish Community Center on Monday, Henry Topas, B’nai Brith regional director, said the attack wasn’t random. He argued the attackers had deliberately removed signs like the menorah and Star of David, which show that the center is a Jewish institution.

Borough mayor of Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Gracia Kasoki Katahwa, also visited the Jewish Community Center yesterday. While Gracia acknowledged that Canadians had varying views regarding the ongoing war in the Middle East, she said anyone inciting violence and hate was crossing the line. She added that her administration was willing to offer the Jewish community in Canada any support it needed.

Another Canada-Based Jewish Institution Attacked

The Emanuel-managed Community Center isn’t the first Jewish institution in Canada to have been attacked since the Hamas-Israel war broke out last month. At the start of November, a firebomb was launched against the Beth Tikvah synagogue. While no one was injured, the firebomb left burn marks on the synagogue’s door.

Antisemitism in Canada

  1. Historical Context: Canada, like many countries, has a history of antisemitism that includes various forms of discrimination, exclusion, and violence against Jewish people. This includes restrictive immigration policies against Jews, especially before and during World War II, and instances of anti-Jewish sentiment and actions in different parts of society.
  2. Modern Manifestations: Contemporary antisemitism in Canada can manifest in various forms, including hate speech, vandalism (such as defacing synagogues or Jewish cemeteries), and physical attacks. It can also appear in more subtle forms, such as discrimination in the workplace or in social settings.
  3. Statistics and Reports: Reports from organizations like B’nai Brith Canada have indicated fluctuations in antisemitic incidents over the years. Their annual audit of antisemitic incidents provides a detailed overview of the types and frequency of these occurrences.
  4. Government Response: The Canadian government has taken steps to address antisemitism, including adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, and implementing programs and policies aimed at education and prevention of hate crimes.

Terrorism in Canada

  1. Historical Overview: Canada has experienced various forms of terrorism over the years, including separatist terrorism in Quebec in the 1960s and 1970s, and more recently, threats related to international and domestic extremist groups.
  2. Types of Terrorism: Terrorism in Canada includes both domestic and international dimensions. Domestic terrorism can involve groups or individuals with various ideological motivations, including far-right extremism, while international terrorism concerns often relate to Canadian citizens joining or supporting foreign terrorist groups.
  3. Legislation and Security Measures: Canada has anti-terrorism laws and security measures designed to prevent, detect, and respond to terrorist activities. This includes the Canadian Anti-Terrorism Act and the work of various security agencies like the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
  4. Challenges and Debates: Balancing national security with civil liberties is a key challenge in addressing terrorism. There have been debates over the extent of surveillance, the treatment of terror suspects, and the management of individuals returning from fighting with terrorist groups abroad.
  5. Community Engagement: Efforts to counter terrorism in Canada also involve community engagement and programs aimed at preventing radicalization. This includes working with various communities to address the root causes of extremism and to promote social cohesion.

Both antisemitism and terrorism in Canada are subjects of ongoing concern, research, and policy development, reflecting the country’s commitment to addressing these complex challenges in a manner consistent with its values of multiculturalism and human rights.

Hamas in Canada

The Canadian government’s stance aligns with that of several other countries, including the United States and the European Union, which also classify Hamas as a terrorist organization. The designation implies legal and financial implications, including the freezing of assets and criminalizing support for the group within Canadian jurisdiction.

A government audit of one of Canada’s largest Muslim charities, the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC), raised concerns regarding the organization’s potential involvement in an “apparent Hamas support network.” The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) auditors, who examined MAC’s records from 2012 to 2015, cited these allegations as a reason to consider revoking the charity’s status. However, it’s important to note that these concerns, detailed in a 151-page report, were preliminary and have not been proven. MAC, which remains a registered charity in good standing, has denied any wrongdoing and claims to be a victim of anti-Muslim bias​​.

Additionally, the report mentioned MAC’s alleged connections with IRFAN-Canada, a group that lost its charity status in 2011 and was later designated as a terrorist entity by the Canadian government in 2014 due to its support for Hamas. Despite IRFAN-Canada’s revocation, the CRA claimed that MAC continued to allow the group to fundraise and promote itself at MAC’s events and properties. The auditors identified instances where MAC provided IRFAN-Canada with a platform to promote its message and solicit funds​​​​.

The audit also suggested a close association between MAC and the Muslim Brotherhood, indicating that MAC may have conducted and supported activities advancing the Muslim Brotherhood’s agenda. This connection was highlighted as part of the audit’s findings suggesting links to individuals or groups associated with extremism, violence, and terrorism​