The decision is “disturbing” and “reminiscent of a much different and darker period in our history”
City Hall Will Not Display a Menorah
The decision by Moncton, New Brunswick, to discontinue its tradition of displaying a menorah has sparked considerable controversy. Critics, including notable figures, have linked this move to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, expressing concerns over the implications of such a decision.
Supreme Court Ruling?
Francis Weil from the Jewish community of Moncton says that the municipality cited a 2015 Supreme Court ruling prohibiting religious symbols in the city council building. This year, the menorah will not be displayed outside the Moncton City Hall building during Hanukkah – for the first time since the tradition began 20 years ago – says a leader of the Jewish community in the capital of New Brunswick in a press release.
Weil argues there is unfairness since while the display of a Jewish menorah is prohibited, Christmas trees and angels are allowed to be displayed on the city hall building.
“”We have absolutely nothing against the Christmas tree. We feel it is beautiful to have the Christmas tree, and we have nothing against the angels. But how can you justify having religious symbol from one religion and banning something from another religion?” said the president.
He also claimed that the municipality succumbed to demonstrations by Hamas supporters in front of the city hall building and yielded to their demands.
Conservative MP Melissa Lantsman said the decision is “disturbing” and “reminiscent of a much different and darker period in our history”.”
Recent Antisemitic Attacks in Canada
Recent antisemitism attacks in Canada have been a cause for significant concern among officials and the public.
- Firebomb Attacks in Montreal: Two Jewish institutions in Montreal were targeted with firebombs, causing minor damage but no injuries. The incidents at the Congregation Beth Tikvah synagogue and an office of the Jewish advocacy organization Federation CJA in Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Quebec, have not led to any arrests yet, and the police are investigating whether these constitute hate crimes. These attacks have been widely condemned as expressions of antisemitism.
- National Response: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau referred to these incidents as part of a “terrifying” increase in antisemitism in Canada. He mentioned the targeting of synagogues, Jewish businesses, and daycares with hate and violence, stressing the need for these acts to cease and stating they do not represent Canadian values
- Antisemitic Graffiti in Winnipeg: Instances of antisemitic graffiti, including swastikas and threats against Jewish individuals, have been reported in Winnipeg. This rise in antisemitic sentiments has led some Jewish families to remove mezuzahs (religious symbols identifying Jewish homes) from their doors due to fear.
These events occur amidst global tensions related to the Israel-Hamas conflict, which have also prompted demonstrations supporting both Israel and Hamas throughout Canada. This situation reflects a broader, troubling rise in antisemitism and highlights the need for increased vigilance and action against hate crimes and intolerance.