Toronto police investigating antisemitic graffiti, stolen mezuzah

Toronto police say they are investigating several hate incidents across the city, including antisemitic graffiti and the theft of a mezuzah.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, on Tuesday, police said they had launched a hate crime investigation into two incidents involving a mezuzah, a scroll of parchment inscribed with a prayer affixed to doorposts of Jewish homes.

One incident saw the scroll being stolen from a home, police said. The other involved unknown suspects banging on the door of a house and leaving hateful remarks.

Police did not say where the incidents exactly occurred.

Meanwhile, police said they are also looking into antisemitic graffiti that has been discovered in multiple locations. They did not provide further details on that investigation.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) said the graffiti was spray-painted on walls, garages and garbage bins.

Speaking to CP24 Tuesday evening, Jaime Kirzner-Roberts, the GTA vice-president of CIJA, said the community is very disturbed by these incidents.

“It is absolutely disgusting what is taking place,” she said. “No community in the city should have to face the kind of hate, the kind of harassment and the kind of intimidation that has been targeting the Jewish community over the last few weeks.”

Kirzner-Roberts added that people are entitled to their opinions about the conflict between Israel and Hamas, but no one is allowed to subject anyone to hate.

“This needs to stop,” she said.

Photos sent to CP24 show one graffiti depicting the Star of David smeared in red paint with the words “Free Palestine” above it, while another had “Soaked in Blood” scrawled above the Jewish symbol.

Antisemitic graffiti has been discovered in multiple locations across Toronto, CIJA says. (Supplied)

Last week, Toronto Police Chief Myron Demkiw said hate crimes have spiked since the war between Israel and Hamas. Of the 14 incidents reported during the first three days of the conflict, 12 were related to antisemitism, and two were in connection with anti-Muslim and anti-Islam events.

Over the weekend, during a pro-Palestinian rally, a downtown Jewish café was targeted with demonstrators heard chanting “boycott” in videos posted on social media. The incident prompted politicians, including Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow, to condemn what happened.

“I urge everyone in our city, through all the pain and anger so many are feeling right now, not to lose sight of our common humanity,” Chow said. “People in Toronto should be able to carry out their business, enjoying what our city has to offer without fear or concern.”

On Tuesday morning, Ontario NDP Leader Marit Stiles’ constituency office was vandalized with “Free Palestine” and “blood on your hands” sprawled on the window, as well as an image of her defaced by red paint. The vandalism was discovered just one day after MPP Sarah Jama was ejected from caucus.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) said in a statement that it has, too, seen a rise in hate incidents being reported to them, in which some instances saw Muslim women being spat on the street.

“Sadly, we have also seen that as rhetoric escalates, and communities are made to bear the brunt of the backlash, it has real life consequences for Canadians,” the group said.

“Just this week alone, the number of hate incidents reported to NCCM have increased by over 1000%.”

– with files from Katherine DeClerq

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