June 2, 2019
TORONTO – A sign alluding to a historical massacre of Jews was carried openly at the annual al-Quds Day hatefest in downtown Toronto on Saturday afternoon.
The sign depicts the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and warns that, “The last Khayber is ready,” an allusion to an ancient battle in which a Muslim army defeated and slaughtered Jews in the Arabian Peninsula. It also predicts the coming of “the last Hayder,” a nickname for Ali, the leading figure in Shi’a Islam.
Shi’a clerics are among the speakers and organizers of the Toronto al-Quds rally, and many attendees are brought by buses from Shi’a mosques across the Greater Toronto Area.
In 2017, the use of a related slogan at a Mississauga, Ont., protest sparked an online furor and a temporary ban on anti-Israel rallies at the city’s Celebration Square.
Rally organizers admitted that they did not have a permit to block city streets. On May 14, Toronto City Council voted unanimously to crack down on “hate activity” taking place on city property without a permit.
“The continued appearance of threatening and antisemitic slogans at the Toronto al-Quds Day rally is a shame upon our city,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “City officials must act to enforce the word of City Council and make the organizers pay for the hatred and disruption that they repeatedly cause.
“We are already seeing signs that political pressure is reducing the pull of al-Quds Day – but we cannot afford to leave the job half-done.”
Attendance at this year’s al-Quds Day rally was noticeably lower than last year. Moreover, for the first time since the hatefest began in Toronto, attendees did not approach Queen’s Park, the seat of Ontario’s government. Instead, they had to content themselves with circling the U.S. Consulate, while approximately one hundred Toronto Police officers stood by to keep the peace.
Year after year, speakers at the Toronto al-Quds Day rally have praised terrorists and incited hatred against Jews and Israelis. Last year, a featured speakersaid he was praying for the “eradication” of Israelis. In 2013 and 2016, speakers called for Israelis to be shot, and in 2014, a Muslim cleric called for “Yahoodi” (Arabic for “Jewish”) to be “dismantled.”
B’nai Brith is in the process of filing a complaint with Toronto Police over this latest display of hatred. The Toronto al-Quds Organizing Committee has previously claimed that it is not responsible for flags or banners brought by attendees.