Anti-Israel event banned in Toronto

TORONTO (JTA) — Ontario’s Legislature won praise from Jewish groups for its refusal to permit the annual Al-Quds Day protest, traditionally held on the grounds outside the Legislature building in Toronto.

The rally, marking the annual worldwide protest of Israel’s control of Jerusalem, was to take place this Saturday.

The Legislature’s sergeant-at-arms, Dennis Clark, informed B’nai Brith Canada and the Centre for Jewish and Israel Affairs that this year’s permit was refused for reasons of “public safety.”

In 2011, the Centre for Jewish and Israel Affairs videotaped the Al-Quds Day protest held on the legislature’s grounds. Speakers accused Israelis of being “racist,” “inhuman” and “barbarians” who “suck the resources and blood from people all around the world.” At the time, the center called the statements “reminiscent of historic antisemitism.”

One speaker referred to Israel as a cancer that must be killed. Footage also showed protesters displaying the image of the Ayatollah Khomeini, the Iranian leader who created Al-Quds Day in 1979, and the flag of Hezbollah, which is banned in Canada as a terrorist organization.

The Centre for Jewish and Israel Affairs provided the video to Clark, and over the past two years has been in regular contact with him. B’nai Brith said it had raised the same concerns with Clark and House Speaker Dave Levac earlier this week.

“This rally must be seen for what it truly is,” said Frank Dimant, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada, “an Iranian-sponsored hate-fest used for the express purpose of blaming Jews worldwide for problems across the globe.”

Shimon Fogel, CEO of the Centre for Jewish and Israel Affairs, also applauded the move but cautioned that organizers of Al-Quds Day may reject the ruling and proceed without authorization.

“In light of this possibility, we ask that the Legislature take appropriate measures this weekend to uphold its decision,” he said.

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