Hate crime possible in vandalism of Montreal kosher restaurant

Vandalism at Chez Benny in Montreal

Police are “not ruling out anything” in their investigation of the vandalism of a kosher restaurant in the St. Laurent borough overnight June 10-11.

Both Federation CJA and B’nai Brith Canada say they have been told that includes a possible hate crime against Chez Benny Express, a casual restaurant specializing in Middle Eastern dishes.

The glass front door of the restaurant was broken with a rock and evidence was found of an attempt to start a fire that did not catch. No one was on the premises.

The restaurant is planning to reopen on June 16, owner Mike Assedo said. Restaurants in Montreal were able to open for indoor dining on June 7 after having been closed since October due to the pandemic.

The federation and its advocacy agency, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, tweeted that its security officials inspected the scene and have been in contact with the restaurant’s owners.

“We will communicate further updates as they became available. If you are the victim of antisemitism or witness anything suspect, please call 911 and Federation CJA (514-343-4343) at once.”

B’nai Brith pointed out that there is no evidence of robbery of Chez Benny and the two non-kosher restaurants in the strip mall in which it is located were not harmed.

“It has been a difficult month and a half for Jews across Canada, so people are naturally on edge following this attack,” stated B’nai Brith CEO  Michael Mostyn, referring to a spike in anti-Semitic incidents in the wake of last month’s Israel-Hamas conflict.“We thank our friends at (the Montreal police) for their swift work and will do anything possible to assist with the investigation.”

The best is yet to come.

This website—the one you’re on right now—is just the tip of the iceberg. The CJN is building a whole new platform, which will be launching summer 2021. Jewish Canadians will be able to find community events, listen to relevant podcasts, connect with national networks and, of course, read breaking news stories, in-depth analysis and unique perspectives that matter. Subscribe to our newsletter, and follow us on social media, to be the first to see our newest iteration go live.