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Harper: Anti-Semitism ‘pernicious’

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OTTAWA (JTA) — Canada’s prime minister denounced anti-Semitism as "a pernicious evil" that must be defeated.

Stephen Harper spoke Thursday at a Parliament Hill ceremony organized by Chabad-Lubavitch to honor Jewish victims of last November’s terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

The prime minister, the leader of the Conservative Party, expressed condolences over the murder at Chabad’s Mumbai center of Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka, among six people in the building who were killed during the attacks. Their 2-year-old son and the boy’s nanny escaped.

Harper called the killings "affronts to the values that unite all civilized people." He said anti-Semitism "is a pernicious evil that must be exposed, that must be confronted, that must be repudiated, whenever and wherever it appears. Fueled by lies and paranoia we have learned from history it is an evil so profound, indeed as we saw in Mumbai, that it is ultimately a threat to us all.

"Under our government, Canada will remain an unyielding defender of Jewish religious freedom, a forceful opponent of anti-Semitism in all of its forms and a staunch supporter of a secure and democratic state of Israel," he said to applause.

Harper described the quick installment of a new rabbi at the Chabad center in Mumbai as a signal that the Jewish people will "never bow to violence and hatred."

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