Drawing a Clear Line Against Hateful Protests

In recent days, anti-Israel, Jew-hating activists have sunk to new lows.

At the Art Gallery of Ontario, they shut down an event featuring the prime ministers of Canada and Italy.

In Thornhill, they gathered to shout their vitriol outside a synagogue and residence for community members living with developmental disabilities.

And in Montreal, they blocked access to core Jewish community institutions—including the home of Federation CJA and the Montreal Holocaust Museum.

These are just the latest examples of anti-Israel protestors intimidating our community. And it must end now. 

The brazen targeting of Jewish life in Canada should make it clear to all that anti-Zionism is simply Jew hatred. 

But it’s not enough to be upset. It’s time to channel that outrage and concern into meaningful action.

Hateful protestors have announced their intention to target a Thornhill synagogue in the coming days. While we are in touch with the synagogue to offer our support, we wanted to update our community on what we’re doing—and what you can do—about this serious issue.

Our first priority as a community must be to turn to those responsible for public safety: our partners in law enforcement. Since October, UJA Community Security has been communicating with police about the dangers posed by anti-Israel protests. We have asked police to be vigilant in enforcing the law, including by monitoring and arresting those who cross the line into criminal hate speech. 

This remains our message concerning this week’s protests in Thornhill. We are emphasizing the need for York Regional Police to have a strong presence and take measures to protect our community and public safety. As we continue to monitor this issue, we will issue security alerts as needed to keep our community informed.

Our second priority must be to call on government to take urgent action, because the ongoing targeting of Jewish institutions must be stopped. Families entering a synagogue or JCC should never have to face vicious, hateful crowds. This is why we are calling on the Government of Ontario to pass a law restricting protests from taking place in close proximity to community institutions—be they houses of worship, community centres, schools, or hospitals.

We are communicating this message directly to the government through our advocacy agent, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA). But our voice is stronger when we all exercise our democratic rights. If you agree, please join us in emailing Ontario’s Attorney General to ask for this important legislation.

Just as we continue advocating, it’s crucial that we as a community recognize the tactics of those targeting Jewish institutions. Anti-Israel activists have every interest in provoking our community into confrontations. As we saw last weekend in Thornhill, directly confronting anti-Israel activists can put public safety at risk and falsely portray the pro-Israel movement as extreme. 

But as Jews and Canadians, we stand for democracy and freedom—the very values that define Israel. The actions we take should always make it clear we stand against hate and unlawful behaviour from any community. 

Because when our adversaries sink to new lows, it’s our time to stand tall. Speak the unapologetic truth. Reach out to allies beyond our community. And urge authorities to hold the haters accountable. 



Jeff Rosenthal
Chair of the Board


Adam Minsky
President & CEO