No matter the mayor in charge, Toronto city council has a history of denying the Jew hatred that has played out on the city’s streets for more than 15 years.

The latest attempt by Coun. James Pasternak, a lone wolf who has tried to put an end to the now almost daily antisemitic events that appall Jews and non-Jews alike, was so benign it should have shot through council unanimously.

Pasternak merely asked at council last week that the city manager develop a “policy framework for the management of rallies and protests” that would follow the city’s Human Rights and Anti-Harassment policy.

That 12-page policy dictates that people have a right to be protected from harassment and discrimination in city facilities, parks and on city streets.

It highlights such examples of harassment as “frequent angry shouting and regular use of profanity and abusive or violent language, physical, verbal or email threats, intimidation, violent behaviors, name calling and public humiliation.”

In other words, these are the kinds of behaviours – on steroids – that Jews and non-Jews alike have endured from the anti-Israel terrorist sympathizers since Oct. 7.

Pasternak asked that the city manager report back to council by the end of this December – likely and hopefully after the Israel-Hamas conflict is long over.

Still, it barely passed.

Mayor Olivia Chow supported the motion but it was voted down by such council activists as Alejandra Bravo, Lily Cheng, (Communist) Paula Fletcher, Parthi Kandavel and Ausma Malik (both of whom see Islamophobia under every rock) and Chris Moise (who was anti-Israel politician Kristyn Wong-Tam’s heir apparent and would positively be hysterical if even one protest was held against the LGBTQIA community).

It bears repeating that Malik cleaned up her act to run politically but I was the first to reveal her involvement in anti-Israel protests standing beside a Hezbollah flag. She has not attended one single pro-Israel event since Oct. 7.

Still it is not surprising from this council, which seems to attract more and more activists to run in each election and from a City Hall which has a long history of not dealing with the rising Jew hatred on the streets of Toronto.

I know. I was there to report on it. I would venture to say that this cavalier attitude has perhaps emboldened the rise in Jew hatred across Canada, coupled with the federal government’s lax immigration policies.

From 2009 to 2014, I watched our city politicians and certain hapless leaders of Toronto’s Pride community bob and weave and find every excuse not to ban the hateful Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA) from the Pride parade.

Only the late former mayor Rob Ford tried to cut off city funding to Pride until QuAIA was banned – to shrieks of self-righteous indignation and claims he was homophobic from the radical LGBT community.

The file was so mishandled that the QuAIA horror show finally fizzled out on its own after World Pride in 2014.

Back then I wrote in the Toronto Sun that its demise was certainly not due to any attempts by the majority of council or Pride’s organizers or city organizers to get the group and its noxious anti-Israel message out of the parade.

City Hall enabled its existence with ridiculous edicts about the need to respect freedom of expression and a ruling that “Israeli apartheid” did not violate the city’s anti-discrimination policy.

The pathetic excuses to keep hateful Al Quds protests occupying the streets of Toronto picked up where QuAIA left off.

I attended more than one Al Quds Day protest before and after COVID, witnessing young ladies in niqabs holding professionally made signs calling for the destruction of Israel and police accompanying protesters screaming anti-Israel slurs up Toronto’s University Ave., which they blocked without a permit.

This hateful action went on for years in plain sight of Mayor John Tory, the Toronto police and all the NDP activists on council.

In 2019 I watched councillors wring their hands for months about directing police to enforce bylaw contraventions, issue trespass warnings and seek reimbursement for policing if protesters occupied city property without a permit.

Police were even instructed to take “swift and immediate action” against any group advocating antisemitism or other forms of hate on city property.

But it was all a ruse. That never happened.

That brings us to the past four months.

Is it any wonder the anti-Israel contingent are out of control with nearly 500 often violent and intimidating protests blocking city streets and squares in the city of Toronto since the atrocities of Oct. 7.

Even the toxic and highly confused Queers for Palestine have risen from the ashes of QuAIA.

I blame City Hall and our activist/spineless politicians for allowing Jew hatred to fester.

Somehow Jews and the rabid harassment of my community doesn’t matter to many of those who’d scream, shout, shriek and take to X to call out the slightest act (whether true or not) of anti-black racism, Islamophobia and of course the latest cause, criticism about dangerous gender ideology. 

So you’ll pardon my skepticism about this latest move by councillor James Pasternak – even though his heart has always been in the right place.

The barn door was opened years ago and it’s too little, too late.


  • Sue-Ann Levy

    A two-time investigative reporting award winner and nine-time winner of the Toronto Sun’s Readers Choice award for news writer, Sue-Ann Levy made her name for advocating the poor, the homeless, the elderly in long-term care and others without a voice and for fighting against the striking rise in anti-Semitism and the BDS movement across Canada.