Jan 04, 2024

By Jane Brown

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A Jewish owned business in the Steeles and Keele area of North York has been hit by what Toronto Police say is suspected hate motivated arson and graffiti.

“When I say it’s organized, they didn’t just happen upon this business…These people have targeted this business and so that means they’ve been here before,” and with that, Toronto Police Staff Superintendent Pauline Gray says police are appealing to people in the area to help solve the crime.

Gray says officers were called to International Delicatessen Foods at 6am Wednesday when they found “Free Palestine” graffiti sprayed on the exterior doors and a fire set inside the business.

City Councillor and Deputy Mayor Mike Colle was at the scene to see the criminal activity for himself.

“It’s just abhorrent, disgusting. It’s just a criminal act that is beyond description. It’s frightening to see that this is happening in Toronto,” Colle said in reaction.

He asks, “Qre we in 1930s Germany here where people are firebombing and committing acts of arson against people who are Jewish?”

Mayor Olivia Chow has released a statement about the incident, saying acts of antisemitism, hate and violence are not welcome.

The mayor is also doing the rounds encouraging people to engage in peaceful protest at places like Nathan Phillips Square or outside embassies.

“Your right to protest is your constitutional right, but being hateful, targeting people because of their religion, because of their race, ethnicity or where they come from, their skin colour, is just not who we are in Toronto,” said Chow on Thursday.

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