Open Letter: Denounce "Al Quds Day" in Toronto
Mayor John Tory
City of Toronto
Office of the Mayor
City Hall, 2nd Floor
100 Queen St. W.
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2
May 5, 2021
Dear Mayor Tory;
You have been a staunch supporter in the fight against antisemitism. Over the years, you have joined me in out front advocacy against this pernicious hatred. Thank you!
Sadly this egregious form of discrimination continues to tear Toronto's peaceful co-existence apart under the cover of this terrible pandemic.
As you may have heard by now, a group calling itself the "Al-Quds Committee Toronto" is once again organizing what has become an annual hateful event in our city and province - called Al-Quds Day. The group is planning what appears to be a virtual event to be held this Saturday May 8th, with at least 9 speakers headlining.
The event was originally created by Iran and sponsored internationally to attack the legitimacy of the State of Israel, outrageously calling for the liberation of Jerusalem. Over the years, there have been recorded incidents of promotion of incitement to violence and indoctrination of children in our city and province. Open manifestation of antisemitism, hate and intolerance has been par for the course.
Sadly, this fuelling of antisemitism is continuing in our own city even while the situation is rapidly changing in the Middle East. As you are aware, the Abraham Accords have ignited a wave of optimism and renewed energy to wash away these ancient hatreds. All across the world, Jewish communities are celebrating Iftar with Muslim friends at the end of Ramadan.
In Toronto however, Ramadan is ending with this hateful event. As Mayor of this beautiful and vibrant city that is home to many wonderful ethnic communities, I call on you to denounce this shameful event once more. Additionally, given past manifestation of hate, should this event go forward, please task our city's police hate crimes unit to monitor the program for hate speech.
It's time for our city and province to take action to shut down Al Quds Day and events which foster hate and discrimination against the Jewish community and beyond. Once again Mr. Mayor, thank you for speaking out against antisemitism - and in advance, for condemning this hateful event.
Avi Abraham Benlolo
cc: Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau; Premiere Doug Ford;
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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.