TORONTO — Jewish groups welcomed a decision by Queen’s Park sergeant-at-arms to refuse to issue a permit to the annual Al-Quds Day protest, traditionally held on the grounds outside the Ontario legislature building in Toronto
The legislature’s sergeant-at-arms, Dennis Clark, informed B’nai Brith Canada and the Centre for Jewish and Israel Affairs (CIJA) that this year’s permit was refused for reasons of “public safety.” The rally, marking the annual worldwide protest of Israel’s control of Jerusalem, was to take place on Saturday, Aug. 3.
In 2011, the CIJA videotaped the Al-Quds Day protest held on the legislature’s grounds. Speakers accused Israelis of being “racist,” “inhuman” and “barbarians” who “suck the resources and blood from people all around the world,” statements the CIJA said at the time was “reminiscent of historic anti-Semitism.”
One speaker referred to Israel as a cancer that must be killed. Footage also showed protesters displaying the image of the late Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Khomeini, who created Al-Quds Day in 1979, and the flag of Hezbollah, which is banned in Canada as a terrorist organization.
CIJA provided the video to Clark, and over the past two years, was in regular contact with him to ensure that the legislature’s grounds “are not abused as a venue to showcase such vile rhetoric.”
B’nai B’rith said it had raised the same concerns with Clark and House Speaker Dave Levac earlier this week.
“This rally must be seen for what it truly is,” said Frank Dimant, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada, “an Iranian-sponsored hatefest used for the express purpose of blaming Jews worldwide for problems across the globe.”
Shimon Fogel, CEO of CIJA, also applauded the move but cautioned that organizers of Al-Quds Day may reject the ruling and proceed without authorization.
“In light of this possibility, we ask that the legislature take appropriate measures this weekend to uphold its decision,” he said this week.