Toronto Star Columnist Defends Anti-Israel Hate Fests

April 16, 2024

In a gratuitous commentary that implies violence, harassment and intimidation in Canada and other Western countries are justified because of the war in Gaza, Rick Salutin, a columnist at The Toronto Star, defended the right of anti-Israel demonstrators to escalate their protests, all while misrepresenting the true nature of those protests.

Salutin’s April 12 column entitled: “How much disruption and interruption over Gaza would be acceptable?” rhetorically asked “How much disruption to things like traffic or other people’s equanimity is justified, if at all, in the case of Gaza? Quite a bit, I think you could argue. It is not just another crisis.”

What Salutin chooses to hide from readers is that there has been far more than “disruption” by anti-Israel demonstrators in recent months.

Such protesters have violently assaulted others, threatened death on members of the public, invaded residential neighbourhoods, screamed hateful obscenities, blocked healthcare facilities, and more.

The violence and hostility at anti-Israel protests are hardly surprising when one takes the time to look at some of the organizers, including Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM), a pro-terrorist organization that glorified Hamas’ October 7 massacres and invited the public to attend a public celebration.

But rather than give readers the full picture of hateful anti-Israel mobs, he compared them to his experiences nearly 50 years ago, protesting the Vietnam war, conveniently leaving out that those protests were wholly incomparable.

In a particularly chilling example of the dangers of modern anti-Israel hate fests, a bomb squad in Manhattan was unable to reach a suspected grenade inside an Uber vehicle because anti-Israel demonstrators physically prevented the team from reaching their destination.

Salutin took issue with Toronto police enforcing the law by arresting law-breakers, bizarrely saying “that’s not really their job” when, at the core, that is the definition of law enforcement, namely, to enforce the law.

As supposed evidence to justify such anti-social and illegal behaviour, Salutin made outlandish claims such as the statement that “A report by the World Bank, EU and UN says, ‘Palestinians in Gaza now make up 80 per cent of all people facing famine or severe hunger worldwide.’”

This claim is incredibly and undeniably wrong. There are 6.3 million people, just in the country of Sudan, currently “one step away from famine,” according to the  United Nations.

Had Salutin bothered to do even a modicum of research, he would also have discovered that there is more food aid entering Gaza now than entered before October 7, when Hamas launched its violent war against Israel.

This is not the first time Salutin has used his platform in The Toronto Star to play interference for merchants of hate. In November, he penned a column where he – ignoring Hamas’ founding charter and explicit statements of genocidal intent – declared that the terrorist group commits terrorism out of “despair.”

Rick Salutin’s latest opinion column in The Toronto Star gave support to the hateful, anti-social and often violent anti-Israel hate fests which have sprouted across the world since October 7, all while falsely presenting them as merely disruptive.

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