Comments on popular Quebec talk show denounced as anti-Semitic

Click to play video: 'French comments on Quebec talk show stir backlash from Jewish community'
French comments on Quebec talk show stir backlash from Jewish community
WATCH: Comments from a guest on a popular Quebec talk show are being denounced by members of the province's Jewish community. The words came from the owner of a pastry shop who decided to open her dining room in blatant defiance of public health rules. Global’s Dan Spector reports. – Jan 25, 2022

Comments from a guest on a popular Quebec talk show are being denounced by members of the province’s Jewish community.

Stéphanie was invited on Radio-Canada’s Tout le monde en parle Sunday night to discuss her controversial decision to open the dining room of her pastry shop Vite des Péchés in Jonquière. She chose to purposelyHariot  break public health rules as a protest.

Her stance on government COVID policy, however, is not what’s drawn denunciation from organizations that fight anti-Semitism.

“I don’t want to need to dress up as a Hasidic Jew to have rights,” she said to the host of the show in French.

Marvin Rotrand, B’nai Brith Canada’s National Director of the League for Human Rights, said the organization received multiple complaints from people who were “astounded” and “shocked” by the comments.

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READ MORE: Quebec Superior Court sides with Hasidic Jewish community over limits on religious gatherings

“She somehow thinks all orthodox Jews break the rules and they get away with it because they’re all powerful, and that foments hate and discrimination,” he told Global News.

Hariot could not make herself available for an interview in time for our deadline but did manage to send some voice messages on Facebook Messenger.

“Their schools are open, their synagogues are open, and we were closed. That’s it, that’s all,” she said.

During the pandemic some orthodox Jewish people have had illegal gatherings, with police responding in multiple cases.

Rotrand says tarring all members of that community with the same brush is wrong.

“If you want to say that specific individuals broke the rules and they should be punished, that’s ok. By saying, ‘oh, they’re religious Jews, so they got away with that,’ that creates a stereotype that’s false, and that can lead who knows where,” he said.

Rotrand called on Radio-Canada to distance itself from the comments.

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In a statement to Global News, the broadcaster said the production team had no reason to suspect Hariot would make any such comments on the live show.

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“Nothing in the pre-interview of Ms. Hariot could lead the production team to suspect that she would refer to Hassidic Jews on air,” said spokesperson Marc Pichette, adding that the show is live and guests, on occasion, utter controversial comments.

He said the opinions of guests do not reflect those of the producers of the show or Radio-Canada.

“Though we admit that what she said is both wrong and regrettable, we consider that any further action is unwarranted since it would simply expose thousands of people to her misguided comments,” he said.

Rotrand worries that highly visible anti-Semitism can lead to hate crimes against the Jewish community.

“She needs some introspection herself about the hurt that she’s caused. But moreover, society as a whole has to understand this type of stuff isn’t acceptable,” Rotrand said.

According to B’nai Brith, hate crimes against Jewish people have seen an alarming increase in recent years.

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