An incident at anti-Israel rally over the weekend in Mississauga is the subject of a hate-crimes complaint under investigation by Peel Regional Police.
Video from the rally appears to show a protester chanting an anti-Semitic slogan in Arabic, “Palestine is our country and the Jews are our dogs,” and others could be heard repeating it back.
Sauga for Palestine, the group that organized the rally at Celebration Square, describes itself on Facebook as a group of “students passionate about Palestine … who want to make a statement against Israel and its illegal practices.”
“It was to condemn a potential extension of sovereignty in Israel. Unfortunately, racist and anti-Semitic shouting came from the crowd,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada, who is seeking a full investigation by police.
Sauga for Palestine sent Global News a statement stating, “Despite our clear message to the attendees, one protestor who was not part of the ‘SaugaForPalestine’ team chanted unacceptable phrases in Arabic which was immediately shut down and the person was asked to stop.”
Noah Shack, a spokesperson for the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said, ” I didn’t see that happen here.”
“I heard people chanting along with it … it’s absolutely outrageous that people would be using that kind of dehumanizing language here in the GTA in 2020,” he said.
“It’s important that no matter what the intention of the organizers that those who joined with this hateful speech are held to account.”
Meanwhile, B’nai Brith Canada claimed to have been in touch with the high school that the youth attend, offering to visit and educate students about the danger of this type of speech.
“I think is the most disturbing part of this … that there could be so many high school students in Ontario yelling and screaming that the ‘Jews are our dogs,’ proudly marching down the streets … That’s just completely unacceptable and something has to be done about this,” said Mostyn.
Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie came out publicly on Twitter, and in a statement to Global News, said she stands with the “Jewish community in strongly condemning these hateful and disturbing anti-Semitic comments.”
“I respect people’s right to protest peacefully but it must be respectful and not promote hatred against individuals or groups in or community,” Crombie added.
“We have referred this matter to Peel police who are investigating this as hate speech.”