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  • Writer's pictureAvi Abraham Benlolo

Update: Person of Interest Identified in 'Hate Motivated' Assault

03/16/21: The Hate Crimes Unit of Toronto's Police Force is to be commended for quickly identifying a suspect of a violent assault that occurred on Friday, March 12th 2021.

A Toronto Police press release stated: "Toronto Police 53 Division immediately launched an investigation and have identified a person of interest. After consultation with the Service's specialized Hate Crime Unit, the assault is being treated as a suspected Hate Crime".

In providing safety assurances to the Jewish community, the police said, "this is an active investigation and divisional officers will continue to patrol the area as part of their daily duties".

The victims of this assault have been traumatized by this incident. While we have seen antisemitism on our city streets, violent antisemitism, when it occurs brings the reality to an entirely different level. I will continue working with both police and the victims to bring this matter to its rightful conclusion.

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03/15/21: On Saturday night, I issued a community wide alert regarding a violent antisemitic incident which occurred at a bakery in the Avenue Rd. and Eglinton Ave. area in Toronto.

Jewish patrons were verbally attacked by another patron with disturbing antisemitic epithets and swear words. One Jewish patron who confronted the perpetrator was punched. A fight ensued outside. I have been in touch with the victims to help them through the process.

The assailant is described by witnesses as male 55-60 yrs old and approximately 6'2". He fled the scene before police arrived. Subsequently, I received information that a similar attack happened at the same location in November. That information has been provided to police including a photograph of a license plate.

Further to my initial communication over the weekend, the Toronto Police Hate Crimes Unit updated me about the active investigation underway. Detail will be provided shortly. For the time being, no other information will be released until the police investigation has been updated or concluded.

Recommendations for the public: If you are involved in or are witness to an incident, please contact police immediately. Please do not get into a physical altercation. I am always happy to help and can be contacted at . For urgent community updates, you can subscribe to my website at

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Media Inquiries:

Contact Avi Benlolo at

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. His academic research, graduate degree 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.

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