“Given the absolute silence of the sub-contractor… we are driven to the view that this shameful decision is intended to disrupt our peaceful rally out of hatred toward Jews.”
Jewish groups have blamed antisemitism as the reason why 17 of the 70 buses contracted to transport Jews to a pro-Israel rally in Ottawa canceled on them.
Adam Minsky, President and CEO of the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, expressed his dismay at the situation. “We were shocked that, of more than 70 buses UJA booked, 17 did not show up,” Minsky said. He highlighted the company’s commitment to providing the service, mentioning the full payment and confirmation of participation.
Minsky suggested a disturbing motive behind the no-show: “Given the absolute silence of the sub-contractor… we are driven to the view that this shameful decision is intended to disrupt our peaceful rally out of hatred toward Jews.” He referenced a similar situation that occurred last month in Washington DC, underscoring the potential antisemitic underpinnings of the incident.
UJA’s Sara Lefton added: “This is a real-time example of why we need to stand up against antisemitism. This is alive and well in our country and we saw it this morning.”
UJA hired a contractor to supply 70 buses to take Jewish people from Toronto to Ottawa for Canada’s Rally for the Jewish People.
UJA remembered that buses didn’t show up to take Jewish people to the pro-Israel rally in America after drivers staged a walkout.
Lefton stressed that UJA told the bus companies why they were traveling to Ottawa. All of them confirmed “that they would fulfill their contracts.”
The contractor claimed they worked with the bus company before.
The bus company has not reached out to UJA. The Canadian Jewish News tried to contact the company but discovered the number was out of service.
“What happened today is sickening and outrageous,” added Minsky. “We will respond aggressively with every legal and public affairs tool at our disposal. UJA is already working with legal counsel and will be proceeding with strong, decisive actions against this company. Hate and discrimination against any community can never be tolerated in Canada.”
Thankfully the participants found transportation to the rally in private cars and other buses.
Thousands of people attended the rally despite the no-show buses and a foot of snow.
Politicians, Jewish leaders, and family members of those murdered by Hamas spoke at the rally:
Israel’s ambassador to Canada Iddo Moed, Liberal Party member of parliament Anthony Housefather and deputy Conservative Party leader Melissa Lantsman all spoke on Monday.
“This is not 1943. I’m grateful that Israel exists and has an army to fight back against those who launched this pogrom,” said Housefather, who is Jewish and represents Montreal’s heavily Jewish Mount Royal district.
Raquel Look, whose son Alexandre was murdered at the music festival in southern Israel attacked by Hamas on Oct. 7, called on Canadian politicians to take more action against antisemitism. Hate crimes against Jews — including multiple incidents that have involved Molotov cocktails thrown at Montreal-area synagogues and Jewish centers — have spiked across Canada.
“Our sorrow is deep and immeasurable but today we want to channel this immense pain into a call for action,” Look said. “Please let us honour his memory by standing up against the forces that seek to destroy Jewish and Canadians values we hold so dear.”
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