After Firebombing of Third Montreal Jewish Business, Community Group Demands Answers from Police

June 16, 2013 9:22 pm 17 comments

Following the latest in a string of firebombing attacks on Jewish targets in Montreal, Canada, a Jewish community group is demanding answers from the police.

The B’nai Brith Canada is “calling on the Montreal Police to get to the bottom of the attacks before people are seriously injured,” wrote the group in an email to reporters.

“The Police must explore every avenue of investigation and put an end to these attacks,” said Steven Slimovitch, the organization’s National Legal Council.

The B’nai Brith expressed concern on behalf of Montreal’s Jewish community over the frequency of the attacks and how they have been able to continue unabated. “This is the 3rd Jewish-owned business that has been fire-bombed in less than 2 weeks and our concern for the safety and welfare of the community is high. The Police must take concrete steps to reassure the community that their safety is not in jeopardy,” Slimovitch demanded.

Over the weekend a wholesale kitchen cabinet showroom belonging to Jewish business owner Joe Aisenstark was attacked following attacks over the last two weeks on kosher eateries Café Shalom and Chops.

In an interview with The Algemeiner last week Chops owner Ouri Ohayon dismissed the idea that the arson attacks were anti-Semitic. “There are so many kosher restaurants in the area and this has never been an issue,” he said.

Similarly a Montreal police spokesperson also told The Algemeiner that it didn’t appear the arson attacks were spurred by any religious or ethnic hatred.

“It appears this is a matter of competition between business places right now more than based on any ethnic or religious reasons right now,” the spokesperson said.

An investigative article published yesterday by the Toronto Star newspaper claimed that “Remarks by police suggest ‘competition’ between kosher restaurants in Hampstead neighborhood may be the motive behind attacks.”

17 Comments

  • The religion of peace strikes again

  • Neil Katz, M.D.

    These crimes MUST be considered anti-Jewish until otherwise proven! Perpetrators, when convicted, should be removed from civilized society.

  • “It is easy to assume that these incidents may be anti-Semitic or hate inspired events,” said the Montreal-based Combined Jewish Appeal.

    But “there is absolutely no evidence that these incidents — while disturbing, to be sure — are in any way motivated by anti-Semitism,” it said.

    Centre for Israel & Jewish Affairs spokesman David Ouellette tells the National Post that the recent attacks were unlike past incidents that were anti-Semitic in nature, which he says usually aim at religious targets like synagogues.

    The Toronto Star suggests that the fire bombings may be over a price war between the restaurants. Last week’s attack on Chops was the third time since 2011 that the establishment has been similarly targeted, according to the paper. The paper writes that “a kosher restaurant war” may be at play; however, that doesn’t explain the fire bombing of the kitchen supply store this past weekend. The Star writes:

    The few remarks police have made over the past week suggest they are looking at “competition” as the driving factor. Chops co-owner Ouri Ohayon, who says his high-end restaurant does a brisk business, offers “jealousy” as the likely cause.

    “We’re not Mafia-related. We’re not gangsters. We don’t owe nothing to anybody. It’s somebody who wants us to be closed,” he said in one of several interviews last week. “We’re a high-end restaurant … We’re busy every night, thank God.”

    Ohayon is offering a $20,000 reward for information to help solve the crime.

    The Toronto Star reports that in 2005 he “pleaded guilty and received a suspended sentence for intimidating the former wife of a friend in 2004 and 2005 in order to collect on a $150,000 debt.”

    The National Post reports that Tehrani-Cohen, whose home was attacked was kidnapped for almost 24 hours in 2010. When he was returned, he said that his kidnappers had wanted a ransom. The paper reports that he is presently involved in various legal battles including a tax fraud charge.

    Meanwhile, members of the Montreal Jewish community are apprehensive about dining out, reportedly concerned about patronizing the kosher establishments until the police have arrested a suspect.

  • Competition by kosher restaurants my ass.Denial of the truth is exactly the holocaust happened.

  • Could also be right-wing neo-nazi, arian nation types.

  • Shirl in Oz

    I seem to recall being told by friends when I was in Toronto, that there was an issue in regards to antisemitism in Montreal and that many Jews had left and were leaving.

  • “According to CH (Montreal’s multicultural channel) there are now over 117,000 people of Arab origin in Montreal.”

    Why should be any different in Montreal than in Europe , where Arabs are frequently attacking Jews , or Jewish related places.

  • A Jewish day school in Montreal was firebombed in 2004 by two 18-year-old Muslims, Sleiman El-Merhebi, and Simon Zogheib,as an act of retaliation against the assasination of Hamas leader Sheik Ahmad Yassin in Gaza. Merhebi received a jail sentence, as did his mother for acting as an accessory. Zogheib was released due to lack of evidence. The school library was rebuilt with donations from across the world, including from actor Russell Crowe (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Talmud_Torahs_of_Montreal).
    A Jewish school and the YM-YWHA were firebombed in 2006 and 2007, and 2 Muslims ( Algerian born Omar Bulphred, and Azim Ibragimov) were jailed for those incidents, with Bulphred stating he was motivated by Islamic Jihad ( see http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/story/2009/02/12/mtl-firebombing-bulphred-0212.html ). At his trial, he apologized for his actions: “”I’m sorry to the Jewish community. My actions were cowardly,” Bulphred told the court.”

    These incidents are occurring in the same city where anti-Israel demonstrators prevented Bibi Netanyahu from speaking at Concordia University in 2002, the protest of which led to a riot at the school. Daniel Pipes reported at the time “(t)he anti-Israel forces physically assaulted the would-be audience. A female professor of religion at Concordia recounted how some of them “aimed their punches at my breasts”…The police, saying they couldn’t assure Netanyahu’s safety, canceled the event. To which Wassim Moukahhal, an Arab leader at nearby McGill University, crowed: “The man is a war criminal. We don’t want our city and our universities to be the harbor of such a war criminal.” ” (see http://www.danielpipes.org/465/the-war-on-campus ).

    This is not even to mention that 2 Muslims, Chiheb Esseghaier of Montreal and Raed Jaser of Toronto, were arrested earlier this year by the RCMP for plotting to bomb the Toronto-New York train. The Canadian Muslim community is to be commended for providing the tip to the RCMP about the plot leading to the arrest (see http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/rcmp-arrest-two-for-al-qaeda-supported-plot-to-bomb-via-train/article11465138/). Hopefully it will be able to help out once again in this current round of hate crimes.
    I have no doubt that the Montreal, Quebec and Canadian authorities will find these latest acts of cowardly vandalism are likewise hate crimes motivated by this vile anti-semitism.

  • Jo-Ann Morris

    Three attacks….the police should investigate this further. Competitions vs anti-Semitism????

  • Police refuse to see it as Islamic. It may not be correct lets put on rose tinted glasses.

  • “The B’nai Brith expressed concern on behalf of Montreal’s Jewish community” – this organization has no mandate to speak on behalf of Montreal’s Jewish community. The area where these incidents occurred features a number of establishments that open and close like the seasons change in Montreal. There is absolutely no indication that there is any hate crime connected to these incidents.

    • Shirl in Oz

      The B’nai Brit has every right, in every country, in every Jewish Community to speak for us.

    • Seth Lefkow

      Hey Itzik: Your kind of blindness, early in the Hitler regime, is what led to millions of Itziks to their death. I suggest you put a little starch in your spine and a little fire in your eye.

    • Itzik or watt your name is wake up and smell the kava you are ignorant like all the other Montrealers ,the Maghreb immigration in Quebec is the same as the one in France, there is absolutely a anti Jewish sentiment in Canada from the Muslim community.

  • George somofyi

    This is nonsense
    Why weren’t other non kosher
    Places targeted
    This is clearly anti sematic in nature

    • Good question, George. Why no firebomb against Benny’s Glatt Kosher restaurant, a stone’s throw away? Because on this part of Queen Mary Rd. there are problems that we do not know about, possibly related to Russian criminal gangs. There are lots of Jewish and Kosher establishments not too far away that were not firebombed. It’s all about gang-related and criminal stuff that neither your nor I know anything about. This is not what it looks like form the outside. The strip of restaurants where this occurred are always opening and closing. I live here. I know. Do not jump to conclusions about anti-Semitism because it’s like the story about the boy who cries wolf. When the wolf came, nobody paid attention.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Book Reviews Personalities Biography Sheds New Light on David Ben-Gurion’s Place in Jewish History

    Biography Sheds New Light on David Ben-Gurion’s Place in Jewish History

    JNS.org – There is one sentence in “Ben-Gurion: Father of Modern Israel” that made me sit up in surprise. I thought that I knew the basic facts about how Israel came into being, but while describing what it was like in the days and hours before the state was declared, author Anita Shapira provides one important anecdote I was not aware of. On the 12th of May, the Zionist Executive met to decide what to do. Moshe Sharrett had just returned [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    An actress starring in the controversial Met Opera The Death of Klinghoffer defended the show on Tuesday by comparing it to the 1993 Holocaust film Schindler’s List, New York Post reported. “To me, this was like [the movie] Schindler’s List. We make art so people won’t forget,’’ said the actress, who plays a captured passenger in the show and asked not to be identified. The Met Opera focuses on the infamous murder of Lower East Side Jewish resident Leon Klinghoffer, 69. The wheelchair-bound father of [...]

    Read more →
  • Analysis Arts and Culture Beyond ‘Klinghoffer’: Opera’s Composer, Librettist Have Broader Jewish Problem

    Beyond ‘Klinghoffer’: Opera’s Composer, Librettist Have Broader Jewish Problem

    JNS.org – One of the most controversial operas in recent memory, “The Death of Klinghoffer,” debuted Oct. 20 at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. The Met has scheduled seven more performances through November. The first staging did not occur without protest, as about 400 demonstrators—including Jewish communal and nationally recognized leaders—came to Lincoln Center to denounce the anti-Jewish and anti-Israel opera. “Klinghoffer,” the creation of composer John Adams and librettist Alice Goodman, premiered in 1991—with few additional stagings. The opera is based [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot is in negotiations to take on the female lead role in the remake of the 1959 classic Ben-Hur, according to The Hollywood Reporter. If the deal is finalized Gadot will play Esther, a slave and Ben-Hur’s love interest. Actor Jack Huston will star as the Jewish prince who is betrayed into slavery by his childhood friend Messala, played by Toby Kebbell. Ben-Hur fights for his freedom and vengeance with the help of Morgan Freeman’s character, who trains Ben-Hur how to win at chariot-racing. [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    JNS.org – Baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie are the American dream. So why do two young men who have built their lives in Israel have a GoFundMe crowd-funding webpage with the urgent message that they need $3,000 to travel to the U.S. to watch the Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles square off for Major League Baseball’s (MLB) American League championship? Brothers Naftali and Yoni Schwartz, 27 and 25, respectively, are Kansas City natives. Even though they made aliyah with their [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Sports Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Some 3,000 years ago, King David probably never imagined cars racing at 240 kilometers per hour (150 miles per hour) through the ancient capital of the Jewish people. But on Monday and Tuesday, October 6-7, thousands of Israelis lined the streets to watch Porsche, Audi, and Ferrari race cars fly through the capital against the backdrop of the Tower of David, the Old City Walls, and other city landmarks. The second annual non-competitive Jerusalem Formula One Road Show had been [...]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James expressed interest in visiting Israel someday, local news site Cleveland.com reported on Sunday. Speaking to Israeli reporters before the Cleveland Cavaliers’ preseason debut against Maccabi Tel Aviv, the NBA star said he had never visited the Jewish state but “I want to look forward to going there if I get an opportunity to.” When asked by an Israeli reporter if there was “any chance that LeBron James and Cleveland comes to Tel Aviv,” the athlete said [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    A Florida-based Chabad rabbi put former basketball star, U.S. Congressman Curt Clawson to shame on the court when the two faced off one-on-one recently. A YouTube video, posted online on Tuesday, shows Rabbi Fishel Zaklos of Chabad of Naples shooting hoops with the Florida politician, who played basketball in high school and at Purdue University in Indiana. The game took place in the parking lot of the Chabad Jewish center run by Zaklos. During the 1-minute clip, Zaklos scores two impressive [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.