Avi Lewis

Is Canada becoming unsafe for Jews?

Canadian and Israeli flags with a question mark
AI generated image in Adobe Firefly by Avi Lewis
Canadian and Israeli flags with a question mark. AI generated image in Adobe Firefly by Avi Lewis

I’ve always regarded Canada highly as one of the freest, most liberal and tolerant countries in the world

Being married to a Canadian I spend every summer in Toronto, enjoying the quiet, relaxing pace, the polite people and marveling at the multicultural melting pot of coexistence

In many ways I thought of Canada like my country of birth Australia: a “golden medina” [Yiddish for golden country]

A place of refuge and stability for the lucky few that managed to arrive at her shores, unperturbed by wars and existential threats, where people feel safe to dream and innovate and wear their identity and culture on their sleeve

As a democratic Western nation, Canada naturally aligned with Israel

But since Hamas’ barbaric attack against the Jewish state on Oct 7th all that has changed

Here is a short, non-exhaustive list of antisemitic attacks from the last 4 months:

– A Jewish school in Montreal was shot at twice by unknown gunmen

– “Anti-Zionist”, pro-Palestinian protesting outside of synagogues in Thornhill and Montreal. Of course they claim to not be antisemitic

– Pro-Palestinian protestors shouting “Itbach Al Yahud” [“slaughter the Jews” in Arabic] and performing Nazi salutes outside the Montreal Holocaust Museum

– Masked pro-Palestinian motorcycle gangs intimidating Jewish passersby in North York, Ontario

– A female, Jewish endurance sportswoman getting disinvited from a speaking engagement due to pressure from pro-Palestinian groups

– A Jewish-owned bookstore, Indigo, vandalized in Toronto for “being complicit in genocide”

– A Montreal imam that publicly called for Zionists to be exterminated at a pro-Palestinian rally

– The head of the Sexual Assault Centre at the University of Alberta signed an open letter denying allegations of mass rape by Hamas terrorists against Israeli women, even though she was previously recorded as saying that she “believes all women” that claim to be victims of sexual assault

Now the Canadian government is pushing through with new rules that would effectively end Kosher slaughter in Canada by making it uneconomical. It should be noted that Islamic slaughter under Hallal rules is unaffected by these new guidelines

This is in addition to fact that Canada’s foreign minister announced a suspension of arms sales to Israel

Earlier, Canada backed a UN General Assembly resolution for a premature ceasefire in Gaza, that would effectively grant Hamas a victory

Canada has a dark past when it comes it the Jews: the country had flourishing Fascist political parties in the 1930s and did it’s utmost to prevent entry to Jews desperate to escape the Holocaust

Now within living memory of the Holocaust, Jews once again feel unsafe

I’ve always argued that antisemitism is ultimately a non-Jewish problem and usually signals the first sign of societal decay

As a big fan of what Canada used to be, it’s sad for me to see where it’s headed

I hope it will change course soon

About the Author
Avi was formerly a news writer at the Times of Israel. Originally from Australia, he served in the IDF and today works in Israel's thriving Hi Tech sector in Tel Aviv. He lives near Modi'in with wife and 3 kids