The headline says: “Man charged in anti-Semitic incident.” It takes nine paragraphs for them to tell you what the man’s name is. And of course there is no mention of the possibility that his anti-Semitism was part of the larger epidemic of Muslim anti-Semitism. By covering each incident like this as a one-of-a-kind aberration, the media misleads the public and keeps it unaware of a massive and growing problem. (Thanks to “Allah.”)
As Toronto police announced the first arrest yesterday in connection with a recent spate of anti-Semitic crimes, political leaders of all stripes united to issue strong condemnations of the “deplorable” vandalism of the past week.
“It can be tempting to remain silent in the hope that that would make the ugliness go away,” Premier Dalton McGuinty said, “but to remain silent would be wrong.”
At Queen’s Park, all three parties unanimously agreed to take a stand against the anti-Semitic acts with a resolution reading, “As representatives of the people of Ontario, the Legislative Assembly condemns the recent acts of anti-Semitism and expresses its continuing support for the government of Ontario’s long-standing zero-tolerance policy towards hate crimes.”
Offering his sympathies to members of the Jewish community, Mayor David Miller added that Toronto will “stand together in our condemnation of all hate-motivated crimes.”
The condemnations — voiced yesterday everywhere from Toronto City Hall to the House of Commons — came after a week in which numerous houses, cars and gravestones were damaged or defaced with painted swastikas and other messages of hate.
In the most recent incident, police say they caught a man early yesterday morning as he painted anti-Semitic graffiti on the hoarding surrounding a construction site on Bloor Street West near High Park.
He had painted three identical drawings with an equal sign between a Star of David and a swastika, police said.
“It’s not the first time this has happened,” said Lewis Poplak, director of planning for Context Development Inc., the company building a condominium on the site. Police records indicate identical graffiti have appeared at the site several times during the past three to four months.
Reza Safaei, a 46-year-old from Toronto, has been charged with three counts of mischief under $5,000. The company has numerous Jewish employees, including both its president and chairman, Mr. Poplak said, and he believes the vandalism to be a “hate-based crime.” He added he has spoken to the Toronto police hate-crimes unit about bringing his concerns before the courts for consideration at sentencing if the man is convicted on any of the three counts.
Toronto police Staff Inspector Brody Smollet said yesterday that he did not believe the suspect belongs to any racist organizations and that there was no initial indication the vandalism near High Park was connected to the other incidents in Thornhill, north of Toronto.
“I’d like to think the Jewish community can take some solace in the fact that we have made an arrest,” he said.
“[But] this is only one individual and one set of charges that have been laid.”
The board of directors of Toronto’s Crime Stoppers program offered a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of people responsible for the recent vandalism.
The Canadian Jewish Congress has also organized a rally for tomorrow night.
Ed Morgan, Ontario chairman of the congress and a law professor at the University of Toronto, said he thinks it’s very important for community leaders to quickly denounce the vandalism.
“I think statements by elected officials and police officials are incredibly important at this stage, as are statements by school officials and school boards, as well as redoubling anti-racism efforts in the classroom,” he said yesterday.
“If there is no atmosphere in Canada that says this is at all tolerated or admired,” he added, “it will eventually subside.”
Indeed. But there is such an atmosphere in Canada, created by an unwillingness to do anything that might remotely offend Muslims.