Jewish-Canadian woman allegedly punched by pro-Palestine supporters in Toronto

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A Canadian-Israeli woman who was attacked by pro-Palestinian protesters is calling for officials to “wake up” to antisemitism in Canada.

Olga Goldberg spoke to the National Post about being assaulted by counter protesters shortly after attending a rally to mark Cyrus the Great Day, an unofficial Iranian holiday, outside Queen’s Park on Sunday.

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Police cut short the rally, a show of unity by Iranian and pro-Israel supporters, due to safety concerns after a large pro-Palestinian demonstration was moving through the area.

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Goldberg said she walked a few steps from Queen’s Park to see the march passing by but stayed on the other side of the road. She had a palm-sized Canadian flag on her breast pocket and held in her hands a photo of Mia Schem, a friend of her daughter’s currently held hostage by Hamas.

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“I (stood) on the north side of College (St.). They were on the south side of College. So all of College was between us,” Goldberg said.

She was “quickly surrounded” by some of the demonstrators, who wearing Keffiyehs, an Arabic head garb, which covered their faces, she said.

“They started telling me to ‘get the f— out’ of there, and I told them ‘please show me your face, let’s talk about this,’” she said. “The next thing I know someone punched me out.”

A protester “ripped” the photo of Schem from her hands, a sign with the word kidnapped written on it, while another grabbed the flag out of her pocket, Goldberg said.

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“They stomped on the flag; they ripped up the piece of paper (and) stomped on the piece of paper.”

Goldberg
Goldberg with MPP Goldie Ghamari at the rally at Queen’s Park. Photo by Courtesy of Olga Goldberg

Goldberg said police officers surrounded her following the attack. They asked if she wanted to press charges, but she had no way to identify who the assailants were.

“I just want to clarify the fact that I was a full street away from this. I’m a 56-year-old, 5-foot-3 little chubby woman. I wasn’t waving anything,” she said. “I was standing on the street holding an 8×10″ sign, and I was assaulted in broad daylight, on a Sunday afternoon, in front of Queen’s Park.”

She filed a report with the United Jewish Appeal on the day of the attack. Toronto Police said the incident is being “actively investigated by the Service’s Hate Crime Unit.”

She said the attack has left her “speechless” and is now calling on politicians and the police to “wake up” to the growing antisemitism problem in Canada.

“I was born in Russia; my family moved here as refugees to escape antisemitism. This is not the Toronto that I grew up in.”

Goldberg said she’s worried to see an “up-rise” of antisemitism in Canada in recent weeks. She’s heard of people changing their names to take Uber rides, people considering taking down the mezuzah from their doors and of Jewish businesses being vandalized.

“This is not the Canada I grew up in,” Goldberg explained.

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