17 January 2011

Synagogues and Jewish Schools Vandalized in Montreal

If any of our readers have a lead on who may have been responsible, please let us know.

Montreal Jews shaken after 5 synagogues, school vandalized

Attacks 'increasing in intensity and frequency,' rabbi says

MONTREAL - Montreal’s Jewish community was reeling Sunday after four synagogues and a Jewish school were targeted by vandals in the early hours of the morning.

And on Monday. Montreal police said a fifth synagogue has been vandalized, although a spokesperson could not say which one as of early Monday afternoon.

 Beth Rambam, Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem and Beth Zion synagogues in Côte St. Luc and Dorshei Emet synagogue in Hampstead were all targeted by vandals who threw rocks at the windows of the buildings, smashing several and causing thousands of dollars in damages, said Rabbi Reuben Poupko.

The Yavné Academy in Côte St. Luc was also hit.

Poupko, who serves as chairman of the Jewish Community Security Co-ordinating Committee, called the crimes “an organized and systematic attack on Jewish institutional life” and promised that the people who use the buildings on a regular basis would not be intimidated by the vandals.

“The reason it’s so troubling is that was not an isolated affair,” he said.

“There have been similar incidents over the past few months that haven’t garnered any attention. It’s increasing in intensity and frequency.”

So far, Poupko said, the vandalism has largely been limited to broken windows, but in one incident last March, the Ahavath Israel synagogue in Outremont was defaced with swastikas.

Montreal police have visited all five locations targeted early Sunday morning, and will be reviewing security tapes provided by the synagogues starting Monday, Poupko said. The cameras were installed over the last few years in response to attacks against Jewish buildings in Montreal and other cities, he explained.

“We felt this was a necessary investment,” he said. “These are not just crimes against a buildings. They’re crimes against a community.”

Montreal police constable Simon Delorme said Monday police believe the incidents may be linked, or that the same suspect or suspects may be involved, because the incidents took place around the same time and with similar results.

Politicians have joined a growing chorus in condemnation of the attacks.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney called the attacks "disturbing" and told radio station CJAD Monday that they are linked to what he called a "new anti-Semitism," often tied to extremist politics emanating from the Middle East.

He said the wave of hatred often inspires the naive or vulnerable to adopt the same anti-Semitic ideology.

"We don't know the reason behind this particular wave of vandalism but we do know that all Canadians must join together in combating all forms of hatred and prejudice particularly the pernicious and durable form of hatred which is anti-Semitism," Kenney said.

Also on Monday, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff put out a statement calling the attacks "hateful and systematic acts" that "represent an attack on an entire religious community."

He said the federal government must do more "to provide adequate safety and security provisions for religious communities, and it must work closely with the RCMP and CSIS so hate crimes in Canada can be eradicated once and for all."

Liberal human rights critic Irwin Cotler noted the timing of the attack Monday, which coincided with Raoul Wallenberg Day in Canada — a day to remember the Swedish diplomat who rescued more than 100,000 Jews during the Holocaust.

On "a day set aside to reflect and act upon the heroism of Canada's first honorary citizen, a man who stood up, confronted and combated the worst of hatred and prevailed — these attacks should act as a call to mobilize against the forces of hatred and anti-Semitism," Cotler said in a statement.

The attacks drew statements of condemnation from the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies in Toronto and B'nai Brith Canada.

The Wiesenthal Center called upon Montreal and Quebec leaders to rally behind the Jewish community.

"The hatred displayed by these actions can be countered by a strong show of support and a determination to prevent the seeds of anti-Semitism from taking root in Quebec," said Avi Benlolo, a prominent Canadian human rights activist and president and CEO of the Wiesenthal Center.

B'nai Brith called for a strong response from police to what it said were not isolated examples of vandalism, urging an investigation into what it said were hate-motivated crimes.

"Following what appears to be an orchestrated campaign of anti-Semitic attacks, there is particular concern about the targeting of a school and daycare," the organization said.

Postmedia News contributed to this report

No use speculating on who did this. It could be boneheads. It could be other extremists. Whoever it is, they need to be dealt with.

1 comment:

Erica said...

Hi!

My name is Erica Adelson and I work for Edelman PR. We are doing pro bono work for The Auschwitz Memorial Foundation. As you may be aware, Holocaust Memorial Day will be taking place on January 27, 2011 marking the 66th anniversary of the liberation of the camps.

Given your focus on activism and recent discrimination of Jewish property (this post is a perfect example of your work!),I thought you might be interested in joining us in spreading the word about a project we are involved with.

We are working with the Auschwitz Memorial Foundation to commemorate the date by creating the “Intervene Now!” campaign, designed to engage people around the world in order to preserve the remains and the memory of the victims and survivors of the German Nazi Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp. After 66 years, the camp and grounds, along with thousands of invaluable historical objects, face accelerated irreversible deterioration and natural erosion.

Your readers might be moved by this story.

We ask that you join us in raising awareness about Holocaust Memorial Day; share the story of Auschwitz and inform your community.

Facebook (Link to Ceremony Info)-http://www.facebook.com/auschwitzmemorial
YouTube - http://www.youtube.com/user/AuschwizMuseum
Website - http://www.auschwitz.org.pl/

For further information, please visit the links below. I have also attached JPEGS of the Intervene Now! logo and the Auschwitz Foundation logo if you decide to blog about this!

IMPORTANT: Please refrain from making your post until Holocaust Memorial Day, January 27th as this is the official release date of Intervene Now!
Your help in spreading the word is much appreciated. In advance, THANK YOU!!!

"There is only one thing worse than Auschwitz itself…
and that is if the world forgets there was such a place"
- Henry Appel, Auschwitz survivor


Sincerely,
Erica


Erica Adelson
Account Executive, Digital
Edelman| 150 Bloor Street West Suite 300| Toronto, ON M5X 2S9
T 416.849.8913| C 416.670.7766 TW @lowflowliving
erica.adelson@edelman.com | www.edelman.ca