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About 500 Jews on their way to Ottawa were thrown under the bus

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In 1940s Europe, Jews were forbidden by Hitler’s Nazis from stepping onto city buses.

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In 2023 Canada, some drivers just didn’t come to work for their shifts, which left up to 500 Jewish people and supporters of Israel out in the cold.

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It’s not just a matter of not letting them on the bus because of their religion — these buses booked to transport Jewish Torontonians to Ottawa didn’t even show up as scheduled.

The latest move of anti-Semitism saw about 500 people trying to get to the pro-Israel rally in Ottawa thrown under the bus.

Or perhaps a better way of saying it is off the bus — and on the side of the road.

There were 70 buses lined up to take more than 2,000 people to Parliament Hill on Monday morning but at the last moment something suspicious happened.

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“We were shocked that, of more than 70 buses UJA booked, 17 did not show up,” UJA president and CEO Adam Minsky said in a statement. “Those 17 buses were the responsibility of a particular sub-contracted company. Despite charging in full in advance and confirming its participation, the company did not send a single bus and has declined all communications while refusing to provide any explanation.

“Given the absolute silence of the sub-contractor and with no other explanation, we are driven to the view that this shameful decision is intended to disrupt our peaceful rally out of hatred toward Jews.

Minsky added: “What happened today is sickening and outrageous. We will respond aggressively with every legal and public affairs tool at our disposal. UJA is already working with legal counsel and will be proceeding with strong, decisive actions against this company. Hate and discrimination against any community can never be tolerated in Canada.”

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It’s still unclear what happened here. But whatever it was, it should be fully exposed.

“It smells,” said Moshe Birnbaum from one of the buses on Highway 401 heading to the capital. “There were no weather issues. It’s obvious what happened here.”

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Others told the Toronto Sun that they feel this is something the police should be contacted over as both a potential theft investigation and also a possible hate crime.

“They didn’t want to drive Jews,” said one of the thousands on the way to Ottawa for the afternoon rally scheduled to have many speakers including MPs Anthony Housefather and Melissa Lantsman and Rex Murphy. “This also happened at the rally in Washington where drivers wouldn’t drive people from the airport to the capitol.”

Among those stranded were 350 students who were outside at 6 a.m. with nowhere to go. UJA said they “made alternative travel arrangements for those affected.”

Michael Mostyn, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada, said in a statement that “contrary to what this company may have hoped to achieve, the lesson learned by those they betrayed is that standing in solidarity against terror and against hate in Canada is more important now than ever.”

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Hopefully there will be a full investigation into just what happened here and discipline for those who pulled this move. The same move pulled on the Washington rally last month saw 900 people from Detroit stuck with no ride.

There are 17 GTA bus drivers who should be asked to produce a valid doctor’s note.

It seems 53 of 70 buses made it to pick up thousands of people travelling to Ottawa to support Israel and push for the release of more than 100 hostages held by Hamas -- supplied photo
It seems 53 of 70 buses made it to pick up thousands of people travelling to Ottawa to support Israel and push for the release of more than 100 hostages held by Hamas — supplied photo

One won’t hold their breath on this though. Seems anti-Semitism is accepted now. Toronto is rife with anti-Jewish sentiment in recent times which includes people on the weekend actually tying an Israeli flag to their feet and even having their dog rip it up. In Moncton, the mayor told the world that there would be no menorah lighting this year.

It’s gross.

But the one thing about the Jewish people being treated so horribly in 2023 is they don’t cower to anybody.

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Olga Goldberg is a prime example. She was punched in the face and had her hostage poster ripped from her hands and torn up and a Canadian flag stomped on but has not missed one rally since. She went to Washington wearing a homemade yellow star and even though she found her bus was cancelled this morning, she found her way onto a another one and was seated next to her childhood friends Mara and Liat.

Olga Goldberg and her pal Liat who with friend Mara Brown found a seat for Olga, whose bus did not show up - supplied photo
Olga Goldberg and her pal Liat who with friend Mara Brown found a seat for Olga, whose bus did not show up. SUPPLIED

They won’t be intimidated. They are going to support those remaining hostages being held by Hamas and denounce the slaughter of Oct. 7 and no one is going to stop them.

But they also know that there are people out there who will sure try.

jwarmington@postmedia.com

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