Toronto Mayoral Candidate Doug Ford Booed Over Anti-Semitism Accusation Involving Brother Rob
Toronto’s mayoral election race has become embroiled in a row over an anti-Semitic remark allegedly made by the previous incumbent, Rob Ford.
At an election meeting held at a Jewish school in the city’s north-end, Ari Goldkind, who is challenging for the mayor’s position, claimed that Ford – a highly controversial figure whose tenure has been dogged by reports of alcoholism, crack cocaine abuse and the sexual harassment of female employees – had used a pejorative term for Jews beginning with the letter “k” in a recorded outburst
Rob Ford’s brother, Doug Ford, entered the mayoral contest on September 12, an hour before nominations closed, following the news that Rob had been diagnosed with an abdominal tumor and was withdrawing from the election as a result.
Canada’s National Post newspaper reported that Doug Ford’s attempt to answer the charges laid out by Goldkind against his brother met with an angry response from the assembled audience.
“Seizing on the topic of anti-Semitism and hate speech, Mr. Goldkind said that Rob Ford’s record of making racial slurs boded poorly for his brother’s campaign,” the paper reported. “‘That is where [discrimination] starts,’ Mr. Goldkind said, pointing to where Rob was seated in the audience.”
The paper said that Doug Ford’s initial response was to say, “I’m not going to address that comment.” However, the Post said, he then invoked a “stereotype that upset the crowd. ‘But you know something? My doctor — my Jewish doctor, my Jewish lawyer…,’ he said, trailing off as the comment sent the crowd into pandemonium. The audience shrieked, yelled and booed at Mr. Ford, who seemed flustered. ‘I’ll leave it at that,’ he said, once the audience had quieted down.”
Goldkind responded: “Mayor Ford, who has shown a tremendous amount of chutzpah for coming into this room tonight, may get a free pass from everybody else on this stage … but the fact that he insulted my religion, whether it was under the influence or not; we cannot have a mayor like that. Because that is where it starts. When you insult a whole people, you are not setting an example for the city.”
Toronto’s Globe and Mail newspaper reported that another candidate, Olivia Chow, had noted the audience’s hostile reaction to what she labeled as Ford’s “stereotyping.”
“It’s not acceptable,” Ms. Chow told reporters.
The Globe and Mail added that Steve Shulman, campaign director for the United Jewish Appeal, said that Doug Ford had phrased his response “maybe in an inelegant way” but he commended the four candidates for agreeing that there was no place in the city for such bigotry.