Com­mu­nity re­sponds to ‘punch a Zion­ist’ tweet

Mcgill Univer­sity stu­dent rep faces dis­ci­pline.

The Canadian Jewish News (Montreal) - - Front Page - JANICE ARNOLD jarnold@thecjn.ca

Hate­ful mes­sages against Jews and Israel, in­clud­ing praise for Hezbol­lah, were dis­cov­ered and re­moved from a City of Côte St. Luc web­site af­ter they had been posted there for a month.

On Feb. 6, a Côte St. Luc par­ent alerted the Cen­tre for Israel and Jewish Af­fairs (CIJA) to an ap­par­ent hack­ing of the at­ten­dance sheets for a chil­dren’s swim team in that city that had been stored on Google Docs. The city, un­aware of its ex­is­tence, im­me­di­ately took down the of­fen­sive ma­te­rial, which was posted Jan. 9.

Mayor Mitchell Brownstein said the city con­tacted Google to try to find out the ori­gin of the hacker’s IP ad­dress and asked po­lice to look into it.

“We con­tacted the po­lice so that they should be aware of the in­ci­dent and pur­sue it any way they can,” even if the hack­ing was done by teens, Brownstein said.

Mon­treal po­lice stated that, for rea­sons of con­fi­den­tial­ity, they would not con­firm that a com­plaint had been filed or that an in­ves­ti­ga­tion is be­ing con­ducted.

CIJA Quebec co-chair Rabbi Reuben Poupko char­ac­ter­ized the post­ings as “death threats” against the Jewish com­mu­nity.

“We strongly con­demn and are alarmed by th­ese death threats against the Jewish com­mu­nity… We feel that it is im­per­a­tive to promptly in­ves­ti­gate this in­ci­dent, as it is with any hate crime, and that the per­pe­tra­tor or per­pe­tra­tors be brought to jus­tice.”

Screen­shots re­leased by CIJA show in the com­ments sec­tion a photo of Hezbol­lah leader Has­san Nas­ral­lah be­side a quote: “We are go­ing to win be­cause they love life and we love death.” There’s also a photo of armed men, ap­par­ently Hezbol­lah fight­ers.

Be­side it is a French en­try un­der “Snap: Le_­mas­culiste,” and a “rat­ing” of girls ac­cord­ing to such qual­i­ties as “put­erie” (a vul­gar term for promis­cu­ity) and “cui­sine” (cook­ing).

On the at­ten­dance sheet forms, chil­dren’s names were re­placed with phrases such as “F---israel/vive Hezbol­lah” and “Khalil a tuer [sic] 7 juif [sic].”

Hezbol­lah, based in Le­banon, is des­ig­nated as a ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion by the gov­ern­ment of Canada.

Even if this is a kid’s prank, Rabbi Poupko said po­lice should treat it as a hate crime, one that is es­pe­cially dis­turb­ing be­cause it tar­geted chil­dren and fam­i­lies. He said he’s con­fi­dent they will take the mat­ter se­ri­ously, as they have in the past when the Jewish com­mu­nity is at risk.

CIJA Quebec deputy di­rec­tor of pub­lic af­fairs David Ouel­lette noted that the per­pe­tra­tor must have known that the ma­jor­ity of the mem­bers of the team are Jewish.

“Re­cent his­tory shows us that we are right to take th­ese threats se­ri­ously,” he said.

Brownstein later ex­plained to The CJN why the ma­te­rial went un­no­ticed that long.

“It was an at­ten­dance Google doc­u­ment at­tached to the swim team site. The swim team op­er­ates the site in­de­pen­dently. Ob­vi­ously the par­ents and kids don’t go on to the at­ten­dance sheet very of­ten if it was only no­ticed yes­ter­day [Feb. 6],” he said.

“IT has con­firmed the com­ments were posted on Jan. 9 and has now taken se­cu­rity mea­sures to stop any fur­ther post­ings.”

Mean­while in Outremont, some David Ouel­lette CIJA Quebec res­i­dents were coun­ter­ing a spate of swastikas scrawled in snow cov­er­ing parked cars by re­plac­ing them with hearts.

Chas­sidic com­mu­nity ac­tivist Mayer Feig said at least four cars with such swastikas were found on Hutchi­son Street over the night of Feb. 5-6. That’s the street on the bor­der be­tween the bor­oughs of Outremont and Plateau Mont Royal, where many Chas­sidim live.

Some res­i­dents re­sponded to a call made via so­cial me­dia by neigh­bour Sarah Dorner to draw as many hearts as pos­si­ble on ve­hi­cles.

Feig termed the swastikas “mes­sages of hate,” and tweeted his ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the ges­ture and the quick re­sponse of po­lice to his com­plaint.

Dorner, a young mother, said her ges­ture was in­tended to show that there are res­i­dents who care.

B’nai Brith Canada thinks the ap­pear­ance of the snow swastikas is ev­i­dence of “the ugly re­al­ity of anti-semitism in Canada.”

Re­gional di­rec­tor Har­vey Levine stated: “It was heart­warm­ing to see mem­bers of the com­mu­nity or­ga­nize to draw hearts on the snow-cov­ered cars. It was a won­der­ful ges­ture of sol­i­dar­ity against this type of anti-semitism.”

Kath­leen Weil, Quebec’s min­is­ter of im­mi­gra­tion, diver­sity and in­clu­sion, de­nounced the in­ci­dents.

“I find it ab­so­lutely fright­en­ing,” she said. “I want to ex­tend all of my sen­ti­ments to the Jewish com­mu­nity and to the young peo­ple who were tar­geted.”q

Re­cent his­tory shows us that we are right to take th­ese threats se­ri­ously

CIJA PHOTO

Screen­shots of the hate­ful mes­sages found on a Côte St. Luc web­site.

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