Source: X

A Jewish advocacy group warns that the City of Ottawa cancelling its public ceremony for an Israel flag-raising event will further ostracize Jewish Canadians. 

The City of Ottawa announced on Tuesday that the flag of Israel will be raised at City Hall on May 14, as has been tradition since 2007 on Israel’s independence day, Yom Ha’atzmaut.

However, the city has cancelled the public ceremony this year.

“This decision is based on recent intelligence that suggests hosting a public ceremony poses a substantial risk to public safety,” said the city in a press release.

Ottawa said that it must prioritize the safety of its residents, visitors and employees.

“The decision reflects a commitment to safeguarding the welfare of all Ottawa residents, while upholding principles of inclusivity and respect for diplomatic relations,” the city concluded.

Canada’s oldest human rights organization and Jewish advocacy group, B’nai Brith Canada, said that it was “deeply troubled” with Ottawa’s decision in a post to X.

“Jewish individuals should not be further ostracized because of the threat posed by nefarious radicals. It is the rogues who are creating division in our society. Capitulating to their threatening behaviour will only further embolden them,” said B’nai Brith Canada.

Ottawa Mayor Mark Sutcliffe noted his disappointment about the ceremony being cancelled in a post to X, despite being involved in the decision to cancel it. 

“This decision was made after consultation with the Ottawa Police Service, and the Jewish Federation of Ottawa, with whom I’ve spoken regularly over the past several days,” said Sutcliffe.

“It will be another blow to the Jewish community that the customary ceremony will not take place because of escalating threats and hostility,” he added.

Ottawa’s decision didn’t seem to please many, with Sutcliffe’s post receiving condemnation from both pro-Israel and pro-Palestine users.

Liberal Jewish MP Anthony Housefather noted his disappointment with Ottawa’s decision in a post to X.

“Nobody should be allowed to scare people into cancelling an Israel Independence Ceremony. Add security, take precautions. Do not simply cancel the event. I ask Ottawa to reconsider,” said Housefather.

Conservative MP Melissa Lantsman equated the decision to a win for the “masked mob.”

“Cowardice to stand up to them is a stain on this city, a deeply troubling departure from a longstanding ceremony,” she said.

Some city councillors even spoke out about the decision.

“We cannot, as a city, give in to bully tactics,” said Ottawa Councillor David Hill.

Independent journalist Spencer Fernando described the decision as “gutless.”

“Deploy the police, or work with the federal government to deploy the military if necessary to protect the event. Instead, you gave in to the Jew-hating mobs and thus incentivized even more hate,” he said.