06/08/21: While we are all in shock and grieving about the horrific murder of the family in London Ontario this week, a statement made at tonight's vigil is gaining criticism.
In his concluding remarks, the speaker said: "Whatever is happening in Jerusalem and Gaza is related to what is happening in London, Ontario".
Over the last 24 hours, I have strongly condemned the vicious attack on the Muslim family murdered in a hate motivated crime (see link below). After releasing a public statement saying that the Jewish community stands with its Muslim brothers and sisters, I also repeated these same words on Global News today.
I also reached out to the Imam and clergy of the Mosque to offer my condolences and as a show of support from the Jewish community.
I am saddened that tonight's vigil seemed to politicize this tragedy by asserting there is a direct link between between Jerusalem and Gaza to the murder in London Ontario. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, preliminary media reports indicate that the killer was not Jewish.
This assertion is inflammatory and could lead to further antisemitism - particularly during a time when the Jewish community itself is still reeling from the violent assaults of the rallies held against Israel several weeks ago.
This is a time when all Canadians should stand together against hate and intolerance. I remain committed to decrying this vicious hate crime. At the same time, I call on my friends in the Muslim community and the political leaders who participated to make every effort to correct the statement made tonight.
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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.