Avi Benlolo Speaks to GTA Police Chiefs: Update on Antisemitic Violence in Toronto
Updated: May 17
Violence and Brawls Erupt in Toronto from Pro-Palestinian rioters
05.16.21: (updated 4.00 pm) Following antisemitic violence at Toronto's City Hall last night, this morning, Avi Benlolo spoke to multiple police authorities including Toronto Police Chief James Ramer.
Chief Ramer advised that Toronto Police is currently reviewing video evidence from last night's rally, which included violent brawls between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protestors. In conversation with Mr. Benlolo, he agreed and assured him that more police presence will be deployed along Jewish neighbourhoods, including on Bathurst Street and that surveillance of Jewish institutions will be increased.
Mr. Benlolo informed Chief Ramer about the antisemitic rhetoric that is emanating from Pro-Palestinian rallies; the violent brawls and reports of groups of Pro-Palestinians threatening Jewish neighbourhoods. Chief Ramer assured Mr. Benlolo that the safety of the Jewish community and all Canadians is of utmost importance.
At the encouragement of Mr. Benlolo in yesterday's release, Toronto's Mayor Tory released the following statement: "Hate, anti-semitism and violence have no place in our city. Any violence against our city's Jewish community or members of any other community in Toronto is absolutely unacceptable".
Halton Police Chief Steve Tanner said: "I am deeply concerned about the increase in antisemitic related violence and about the increase in hate crime overall during the pandemic. There is no place for this type of hatred or for any form of discrimination-systematic or otherwise in our society or anywhere in the world".
Similarly, York Region Police Chief, James MacSween has been updated about community concerns. He advised that YRP is monitoring sensitive Jewish areas and deploying personnel accordingly to ensure the safety and security of the public.
Vaughan Mayor, the Hon. Maurizio Bevilacqua said that his city "is proudly home to one of the largest Jewish communities outside of Israel. The unthinkable violence unfolding is felt here in our neighbourhoods and especially as families come together to mark the beginning of Shavuot. Our city continues to stand up against all forms of discrimination, hatred and anti-Semitism".
"I am also calling on Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford to release a similar statement, denouncing the antisemitic attacks and reaffirming protection of the Jewish community", said Mr. Benlolo.
At the same time, Mr. Benlolo is asking all communities to lower the temperature, hate and animosity. We are all Canadians who are here to build a life of peace and co-existence. We must respect the laws of the land and also be cognizant of hate speech and hate crime laws.
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Avi Abraham Benlolo, BA MA, Doctor of Philosophy (Honoris Causa)
Order of Vaughan, Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal, Race Relations Award
ABOUT: Avi Abraham Benlolo has been described as the nation's most prominent and noted expert in Holocaust studies, in countering Antisemitism and promoting human rights. He has dedicated nearly three decades in executive capacities, was founding President and CEO of a major organization in the Jewish community, has raised over $150 million for charities and is a leading voice in Canada. His academic research, graduate degree, Ph.D. coursework and nearly three decades of professional work has focused on these arenas in addition to peace and security in the Middle East. He has published hundreds of articles in these areas. In recognition of his national and international leadership in this area, he has received numerous awards including an Honorary Doctorate from a prestigious Israeli university for his work in Holocaust studies and combating antisemitism; an Order of Vaughan for his distinguished contribution to anti-racism, equity and diversity; the Queens Diamond Jubilee Award for his contributions to Canada and a race relations award for best practice, based on distinguished service in promoting human rights.
As a supporter of Israel, he is proud to have established "The Avi Benlolo Scholarship Fund in National Security" at Haifa University.