Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday cited a marked rise in antisemitism in Canada following Palestinian Islamist group Hamas’ attack on Israel and Israel’s subsequent deadly air strikes in Gaza.
“Since this conflict broke out, there has been a very scary rise of antisemitism here at home,” Trudeau said at a conference on fighting antisemitism. Even prior to the ongoing conflict, he said, there had been a “steady rise” in antisemitism.
Trudeau listed reports of a possible hate crime at a Jewish high school in Toronto last week, fears among some of visiting synagogues due to a possibility of being attacked, and heated online rhetoric, as examples of the rising antisemitism in Canada.
Police in Toronto, Canada’s largest city, said they arrested three men on Thursday after they made threats at the Community Hebrew Academy. Police have increased patrols in Jewish cultural centers and synagogues as well as Muslim mosques and other places of worship.
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The Canadian prime minister also condemned Hamas and said he supported Israel’s right to self-defense, while drawing a strong line between Hamas and pro-Palestinian voices.
“Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people, nor their legitimate aspirations. They do not speak for Muslim or Arab communities, and they do not represent the better futures that Palestinians or their children deserve,” Trudeau said.
A Hamas Oct. 7 rampage on southern Israeli communities left 1,300 people dead, and around 200 were taken into Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip as hostages.
Since then, Israel has bombarded Gaza where health authorities said at least 3,000 people have been killed. A hospital attack on Tuesday killed 500 Palestinians, with Israeli and Palestinian officials blaming each other.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; Editing by Leslie Adler)