March 25, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 92  

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Hillel rally condemns anti-Semitic acts
SPHR supports peace message

By Sarvenaz Kermanshahi
Gazette Staff
Dallas Curow/Gazette
ALL WE ARE SAYING... IS GIVE PEACE A CHANCE. An anti-Semitism rally was held yesterday on the Conrete Beach.

Western students gathered on the Concrete Beach yesterday to condemn the recent wave of anti-Semitic acts in the Greater Toronto Area.

The rally, organized by Western Hillel, saw a considerable turnout despite wet weather conditions.

“We have come out to recognize the anti-Jewish incidents going on, and to show London and the campus community how important it is for us to stand up against racism,” said first-year honours business administration student Mat Abramsky, Hillel’s rally organizer.

“People recognize how wrong it is. They can’t believe that things like this happen in these times,” he added. “It’s not just about anti-Semitism; it’s discrimination of all types. We have to come together as Canadians to fight this.”

According to Abramsky, the acts occurred only one week after B’nai Brith reported a 27 per cent increase in the number of anti-Semitic acts in its annual “Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents.”

“What amazes me is that the perpetrators presume that the Canadian community will be silent,” Canadian Jewish Congress member Arieh Rosenblum told the crowd. “As Canadians, we will not be silent. We will engage in civil society, as we have done for many years, with our brothers and sisters of other ethnicities.”

He commended the crowd for speaking out against the acts. He also encouraged them to be vigilant against all forms of discrimination and to communicate with all levels of government. “We have laws to mitigate acts of discrimination.”

The crowd was also addressed by Archie Kenyon from the Campus Crusade for Christ. “If I was asked to speak against hatred against any group, be it Muslim or Jew, black or white, homosexual or heterosexual, I would,” he said.

Zarine Ruttonsha/Gazette
SIGN, SIGN, EVERYWHERE A SIGN. Participants at yesterday’s anti-Semitism rally fashioned many Cutline_.htmlsigns to show their support of the cause.

“I am very proud of the huge turnout,” said Gary Diamond, president of Western Hillel. “There is no way in which to condemn these attacks enough. The Jewish residents in Toronto have built a vibrant community.

“We will not stand for hate. We won’t make accusations, we will not seek revenge. We will behave in a manner in which we expect others to treat us,” he added.

Western’s Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights was also present to show support for the rally. “We have come out because we don’t like racism. We have always been a human rights group and we gladly stand in solidarity with any group speaking against racism,” said Randa B. Mouammar, campaign manager for SPHR.

“The events in Toronto were disturbing and there is no excuse for it,” added SPHR member Natalie Tabar.

“I’m here to support the people organizing this event and the Jewish community,” said Eric Hrivnak, a participant in the rally. “The message here is one of peace and tolerance and that’s a big part of what this country is about.”



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