Last week, Dimitri Lascaris tweeted an attack on two Jewish MPs, Michael Levitt and Anthony Housefather, suggesting that they were disloyal to Canada, placing the interests of “apartheid Israel” above those of the country. This is an texample of Anti-Semitism as defined by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).
Lascaris is a board member of the pro-BDS group “Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East,” which regularly peddles its anti-Israel agenda on Parliament Hill. A few weeks ago, he orchestrated an anti-Israel protest in the heart of Toronto’s Jewish community in Bathurst Manor.
Many parties on Parliament Hill spoke out against this slander. Within 48 hours, Prime Minister Trudeau, Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May — along with various other MPs — issued statements denouncing the anti-Semitic attack and defending Levitt and Housefather.
Elected leaders at the highest levels increasingly recognize that hatred of Israel goes hand-in-hand with hatred of Jews. It is a powerful statement to have federal party leaders unite, despite their many other differences, in defense of our community when we are targeted for anti-Semitism, wrote Shimon Koffler Fogel, CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA).
“History teaches us just how dangerous it is when broader society ignores or dismisses anti-Semitism,” he wrote in a letter to supporters. “I am relieved that wasn’t the case this week on Parliament Hill. But this level of support for our community — and understanding of anti- Semitism — doesn’t happen overnight. It is the result of years of briefings, our MP missions to Israel and ongoing conversations that don’t always make for headlines but make a long-term difference.”