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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.”


  • 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
    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 ). 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 ).

    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 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.

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