Unknown suspects bang on doors of Jewish home, make hateful remarks: Toronto police

Toronto police are investigating several hate-motivated incidents, including unknown suspects allegedly banging on the door of a Jewish home and making hateful remarks.

Police would not say where it occurred and did not provide further details about the incident.

TPS is investigating two hate-motivated incidents involving mezuzahs. In one incident a mezuzah was stolen, in the second, hateful remarks were made. Call 4168082222 if you experience any intimidation, harassment, or hateful behaviour.

— Toronto Police (@TorontoPolice)
October 24, 2023

They are also investigating after a mezuzah, a scroll of parchment inscribed with a prayer affixed to doorposts of Jewish homes, was stolen. Police also did not disclose where the incident happened.

Meanwhile, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) said antisemitic graffiti was found spray-painted on walls, garages and garbage bins in several locations in Toronto. 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.

When asked about the photos, police would only tell CP24 that they received reports about graffiti with the exact wording and are investigating.

A similar graffiti was also discovered after school hours at Danforth Collegiate on Monday. The TDSB confirmed the incident to CP24 and said it was painted over this morning.

The school board added that it had notified Toronto police.

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.

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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