April 18, 2024
Jewish and pro-Palestinian groups protested outside the Spanish and Portuguese synagogue, which hosted a presentation about real estate in Israel in Montreal on March 5, 2024.

Synagogue ‘bubble zones’ aren’t the answer to hate. Existing laws are

The Criminal Code already provides tools to protect faith communities, but the problem is they aren’t being used

Bubble zones around synagogues sound like an easy solution to rising antisemitic protests.

Synagogues have been targeted by firebombing, vandalism and loud gatherings of antisemitic protesters decrying Israel’s response to Hamas’s horrific terrorism and hostage-taking last October. These incidents have made both Jewish and non-Jewish Canadians angry and alarmed.

After five months of some of the worst antisemitism Canada has ever seen, some governments are thinking about banning protests within a certain radius around synagogues, churches and other houses of worship. In the Toronto suburb of Vaughan, councillors are considering a 100-metre no-protest bubble around houses of worship (as well as schools, daycares and hospitals.)

The safety concerns are legitimate and the problem is real.

The desire to protect the fundamental human right of religious freedom deserves praise.

But bubble zones are not the solution. We already have laws against the very antisemitic crimes so many Canadians have found abhorrent.

Under the Criminal Code of Canada, it’s a crime to obstruct religious leaders from “celebrating divine service or performing any other function” in connection with their calling or disturbing “an assemblage of persons met for religious worship.” Amazingly, the federal government proposed deleting this provision in 2017, considering it outdated. Thankfully, the government backed down.

Likewise, publicly inciting hatred, wilfully promoting hatred or even condoning, denying or downplaying the Holocaust are crimes in Canada.

Interesting Read…


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