Molotov cocktail thrown at Jewish Community Council building hours after it hosted a meeting about boosting security measures in Montreal

Liberal MP Anthony Housefather addressing a meeting about security at JCC Montreal on Nov. 26, 2023. (@jcc_montreal)

Montreal’s rash of antisemitic attacks continued on Monday with the discovery of a Molotov cocktail thrown at the front entrance of the Jewish Community Council (JCC).

Rabbi Saul Emanuel, the executive director of the JCC, said glass on the front door was shattered and the floors and walls at the entrance were burnt by the impact—but no one was inside the building or injured outside when the attack happened at approximately 12:35 a.m.

Montreal police are investigating the incident and looking at security camera footage in the area.

The previous evening, Liberal MPs Anthony Housefather and Rachel Bendayan were at a meeting at the JCC along with several other Jewish community leaders. Their discussion centered on the emergency fund for Jewish institutions to hire additional security, install cameras, and acquire stronger doors and locks, bulletproof glass and other initiatives.

The attack came three hours after the JCC’s social media post about the meeting, and just 20 minutes after one from Housefather:

“The responsibility of protecting these institutions lies with the Montreal police force,” Housefather told The CJN. “In the event that Montreal police do not have the resources to do the job fully and completely, the mayor of Montreal needs to ask the Quebec government for assistance—as the Association of Suburban Municipalities asked her to do.

“In the issue of Montreal security, the municipal police has made real efforts to protect our institutions but more needs to be done and the municipal government needs to answer as to what improvements they will make to ensure that Jewish community members and institutions can stay safe.”

The pattern of events in Montreal has continued to rattle the city whose Jewish heritage dates back to the late 18th century.

Jewish day school Maïmonide in Saint-Laurent was vandalized with antisemitic graffiti on Saturday, which is now being addressed by the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) in collaboration with Federation CJA.

Mayor Valérie Plante has been among condemning the spate of attacks: “Montreal is a city of peace and inclusion. It must remain so, and we will make sure of it.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also condemned the incidents on social media:

Congregation Beth Tikvah and a Federation building in the city’s west end were hit with Molotov cocktails that caused minor damage on Nov. 7. No one was injured during the attacks and the police have not made any arrests. Montreal elementary Yeshiva Gedola was the victim of two separate shootings in mid-November, and another shooting occurred at Talmud Torah elementary school.