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“Jews are under siege and sticking our heads in the sand won’t make it go away”

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Meir Weinstein of JDL protesting outside the Foodbenders store on July 5, 2020 | Photo: Canada Israel Friendship

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Over the past few years, as I stood at hateful Al Quds rallies, reported on various efforts to boycott Israel products by the BDS movement, and covered the increased indoctrination of university and college students against the Jewish state, I wondered when Canada’s Jewish community would wake up.

To use current social justice parlance, I have watched as many of my fellow Jews have been “woke” about every racist cause, except the disturbing rise in antisemitism.

However in the past two weeks, the case of Kimberly Hawkins has galvanized the Toronto Jewish community – and Jews outside of Canada’s largest city – more than I’ve seen in years.

Most of the Jewish advocacy groups were quick to condemn the anti-Semitic postings of the Foodbenders owner, postings dressed in the guise of being anti-Zionist and concerned for the plight of Palestinians.

Those postings, mostly on Instagram, included anti-Semitic tropes like Zionists (that is Jews) are “greedy and entitled”, that they’re “Nazis” and “racist”, that they control the media and that Israel is a “terrorist state which kills little Palestinian babies.”

The comment that really incited what I’m calling an unprecedented reaction from the Jewish community was the posting, “Zionists not welcome” in the Foodbenders store –one reminiscent of the signage one would see in Ontario cottage country and some beaches well into the 1950s, “No Dogs or Jews Allowed.”

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Within days, after considerable pressure from Jewish advocacy groups and members of the Jewish community –on Facebook, on Instagram and through e-mails – Uber Eats, Ritual, DoorDash and Square severed their ties with Foodbenders. At least two stores/eateries stated publicly they would no longer order from her.

Within a week, Hawkins was de-platformed from the various social media pages she used to foment her hate, and two GoFundMe pages set up by some of her hateful supporters were deactivated before much money could be raised.

The pressure was swift, it was organized and it was tenacious.

In other words, it was “woke.” A woman who’d called for the boycott of Israeli goods suddenly had the tables turned on her.

Still, there were far too many Jews who remained silent, or wanted to keep quiet about her outrageous postings. When I first wrote about visiting Hawkins’ store, I heard from some who felt exposing her would just enable her. My response was that we’ve been silent for far too long, and not exposing her would enable those like her to continue to foment Jew hatred.

“Zionists not welcome” in the Foodbenders store –one reminiscent of the signage one would see in Ontario cottage country and some beaches well into the 1950s, “No Dogs or Jews Allowed.”

Our politicians at all levels – Toronto Mayor John Tory, Premier Doug Ford and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau—all tweeted weak, almost canned responses, and said nothing publicly. If the hate had been directed at blacks or at Muslims, they would have been tripping over each other to call it out, and very publicly. Tory and Trudeau took days to respond, as if they had to be pushed.

Toronto’s left-wing media – which have been quick to call out even a whiff of anti-black racism or the ridiculous term they use called Islamophobia – ignored the story. I was the only member of the mainstream media to break the story, and keep on it.

Clearly, we are on our own.

But the Jewish community and most of our advocacy groups have enabled this to happen.

We repeatedly allow protests to occur against the Jewish state, without saying a word. We don’t withdraw our donations from universities where Jewish students are targeted, and faculty indoctrinates uninformed students with anti-Israel propaganda.

We don’t use the same tactics as the haters.

I’m not talking about blocking the corner of Yonge and Bloor like the usual anti-Israel mob did a week ago, screaming lies and hate about the Jewish state. I’m talking about recognizing that, like it or not, Jews are under siege and sticking our heads in the sand won’t make it go away.

I don’t need to be convinced. But when a shopowner and her friends tell you, as Hawkins did nearly two weeks ago, that I’m a “hateful f—” and I need to “get the f—” out of her “private” store, off the sidewalk and out of the neighbourhood, I harbour no illusions that people like her love Jews.

Sue-Ann Levy is a veteran journalist, a columnist for Toronto Sun, and a columnist for TheJ.ca

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

cOMING SOON…….

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