Officials in the Canadian city of Moncton, in the province of New Brunswick, have come under fire for their decision to cancel the annual menorah display at city hall, a move many say is blatantly anti-Jewish discrimination.
In an interview with the National Post, Francis Weil, president of the Moncton Jewish Community, criticized the rationale provided by Mayor Dawn Arnold, which cited a 2015 Supreme Court of Canada ruling against opening council meetings with prayer. Weil pointed out the inconsistency in the city’s stance, as X-mas decorations remain displayed on city hall grounds. “We are not talking about prayer. In the place where the menorah goes, there are a couple Christmas trees and a few angels,” he said.
The controversy surfaces amid a backdrop of increased antisemitism and anti-Israel demonstrations in Canada, with Weil noting pro-Hamas signs and slogans at weekly protests at Moncton city hall.
“That’s the first thing I told [the mayor], this is not the time to make this decision, because everyone will think you’re giving in,” Weil said. According to Weil, the mayor did not explicitly link the decision to the current tensions but mentioned a desire to avoid potential incidents at city hall.
National Jewish leaders have strongly condemned the decision. The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs voiced their disapproval on X, stating, “If some faith symbols are OK, but others are not, that’s discrimination. It’s not acceptable and must be immediately corrected.”
Michael Levitt, president and CEO of the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, echoed these sentiments, saying the decision “reeks of discrimination.”
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