Toronto Sun, Thursday, January 8, 2009
Security alert for Jewish community
By Tom Godfrey, Sun Media
Prominent Jewish Canadians criticized Israel's
assault in Gaza today while B'nai Brith officials issued
a security alert warning of threats of attacks against
the Jewish community because of the two-week-old Israeli
Since the launch of Operation Cast Lead, there has
been "a spike in incidents" against Jews in Canada
"including harassment and death threats," B'nai Brith
spokesman Karen Lazar said.
"Warnings of possible hostile attacks against Jewish
community targets demand your attention as a matter of
top priority," executive vice-president Frank Dimant
said in a security alert to dozens of synagogues, Jewish
schools, companies and individuals.
"Security monitoring groups are reporting increased
Internet chatter that point to targets across the U.S.,
as well as Canada," Dimant said.
Meanwhile, Canadian Jews called on Ottawa today to
speak out against Israel's assault on Gaza. Israel
launched an offensive into the Palestinian territory
Dec. 27 to halt rocket attacks on its southern towns.
Nearly 800 Palestinians have been killed — almost half
of them civilians, according to area officials — while
10 Israelis have died.
"We are calling for an immediate ceasefire and the
halt of gunfire," event organizer David Orchard said.
"The borders have to be opened to allow food and other
necessities to go through."
Anton Kuerti, an internationally acclaimed concert
pianist and human rights activist, called the Israeli
attack "a war crime".
"Israel has attacked the people of Gaza with utter
contempt," Kuerti told a news conference.
"The unbelievable war crimes that Israel is
committing in Gaza ... it makes me ashamed to be a Jew.
"The servile way in which Canada is supporting the
U.S. position — basically it's all Hamas's fault because
of missiles that they throw over in desperation — I
think this reluctance of Canada to use its influence
makes me ashamed to be Canadian."
Osgoode Hall Law School professor Michael Mandel said
Canadians are being told Hamas are the aggressors. "It
is the exact opposite," he said.
Judith Deutsch, president of Science for Peace, said
the Israeli military action is a crime against the
people of Gaza. "Israel has returned to openly
committing war crimes," Deutsch said.
Events in support of the Israeli people were planned
today in Toronto, Montreal, London, Hamilton, Ottawa,
Winnipeg, Calgary, Vancouver and Halifax.
A Toronto event at Beth Tzedec Synagogue was to
include a videotaped message from Israeli Prime Minister