‘The mobs will not silence my voice’ says Conservative MP Melissa Lantsman after her Thornhill office is plastered with anti-Israel posters

Posters criticizing Canada and Israel were found taped to the office windows of Thornhill Conservative MP Melissa Lantsman the morning of Feb. 14, 2024. York Regional Police are investigating the incident. (Supplied photos/Composite image by The CJN)

Posters slamming Israel and decrying Canada’s suspension of funding to UNRWA were found at the Thornhill, Ont., offices of Melissa Lantsman, a pro-Israel and Jewish Conservative MP who serves as deputy leader of the Official Opposition.  

“Blood on Your Hands,” “Stop Arming Israel” and “Fund UNRWA Now” were among the messages found taped to the glass window and doors the morning of Wednesday, Feb. 14. Lantsman has supported the funding pause to UNRWA, the United Nations agency serving Palestinians, while allegations are investigated involving agency staff participating in the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attacks on southern Israel.

Other posters stuck to Lantsman’s office read “Israel has bombed every hospital in Gaza,” with an image of a Palestinian family wounded and in distress.

One poster addressed “Jews of Thornhill” in block letters.

“Our children will ask us what we did to stop the genocide in Gaza. What will we tell them?,” it read, appearing above three symbols: a Star of David, a Hebrew letter ‘aleph’ in a circle, which is known as a left-wing Jewish icon, and a peace dove.

York Regional Police first received a vandalism call about the posters at around 9:35 a.m., media relations officer Sgt. Andy Pattenden told The CJN.

“When our officers got there, they found that there had been posters related to the violence in the Middle East that had been put up on the outside of this office,” said Pattenden. There was no damage to the property, he said.

“Our officers reviewed any video surveillance and things at the scene… [We’re] appealing for any witnesses, anyone who might have seen who put the posters there.”

Police are investigating the incident, he said, and have begun to canvass the area and neighbouring businesses for any possible video surveillance to help the investigation. Pattenden said the investigation would determine whether police allege a hate-motivated offence.

“That would be looked into for sure, what the context of the posters was and if there was any sort of hate motivation at all,” said Pattenden. “But that’s not been determined as of yet.”

Pattenden says the number of incidents reported to police has been on the rise in recent months following the Hamas attacks on southern Israel Oct. 7 and the subsequent Gaza war.

The CJN visited Lantsman’s office later in the day, but staff had already removed the posters by the afternoon of Feb. 14, with only some bits of tape remaining on the glass.

Melissa Lantsman tape on window
Five hours after federal Conservative MP Melissa Lantsman’s constituency office staff called in the York Regional Police on Feb. 14, 2024 to investigate the half-dozen anti-Israel posters stuck to the office on Centre Street, all that remained of the incident was a bit of clear packing tape still visible on the glass. Officials say officers removed the offending posters and took them for evidence. (Ellin Bessner photo)

“This Liberal government has let the mobs rule—we see it every day,” Lantsman told The CJN.

A day earlier, Lantsman was one of several Canadian elected officials who criticized a protest that assembled briefly outside Mount Sinai Hospital, where demonstrators chanted “Intifada” and a few climbed a scaffold and parts of the hospital building, one of them climbing higher and waving the Palestinian flag.

“The mobs will not silence my voice against the genocidal, homicidal, sadistic death cult of Hamas who killed 1,200 Israelis and took hostage hundreds more. It is Hamas whose leadership consistently calls for the killing of Jews resulting in horrific antisemitism has been allowed to flourish in Justin Trudeau’s Canada with a deafening silence from every leader in his cowardly government.”

The incident was the second time this week a Thornhill public official’s office was postered. On Monday morning, an aide to MPP Laura Smith, whose office is located in another part of the same Thornhill plaza, arrived at work to find a single poster and sticker on the office exterior. Smith, a member of Premier Doug Ford’s Ontario PC caucus, has been a vocal Israel supporter.

Daniela Tabachnik, Smith’s executive assistant, noticed and removed the posters the morning of Monday, Feb. 12. She says they contacted Lantsman’s office then to see if her office had also been postered, and that Lantsman’s office then called Smith’s office early on Wednesday.

“This morning they let us know ‘it looks like the same stuff happened to us, except we’ve got multiple posters,’” Tabachnick told The CJN.

Tabachnik described what she found Monday morning: “A ‘Boycott Israeli Apartheid’ sticker, and a poster that said ‘Justin Trudeau and his Liberals are not calling for a ceasefire’ [with] a picture of a kid crying on it.”

She says it could have been a lot worse, so they quietly removed the poster and sticker and moved on. Tabachnik said they advised the landlord, whose rules for plaza tenants include nothing “unauthorized” on the storefront windows.

Smith addressed the Thornhill incidents in a statement to The CJN.

“These rising levels of antisemitism and lawless behaviours are quite simply un-Canadian, and they are concerning for our community,” wrote Smith.

“I was proud to advocate for the expansion of the Anti-Hate Security Fund Grant for our faith-based organizations, and will continue to engage with our policing partners on matters of safety for our constituents.” 

Other incidents involving messages about Israel/Palestine posted on the offices of Canadian elected officials include, more recently, at the Vancouver offices of MLA Selina Robinson.

Robinson, a prominent Jewish politician in B.C., remarked there was a need for more education as many young people do not believe the Holocaust happened and only see Israel as a very powerful country. She added they “don’t understand that (Israel) was a crappy piece of land with nothing on it” when it was established.

A number of groups called for Robinson’s resignation over the comments, and Premier David Eby removed her as minister of post-secondary education and future skills on Feb. 5. Robinson later issued an apology and promised to take anti-Islamophobia training.

In October, the Toronto office of Ontario NDP Leader MPP Marit Stiles was vandalized with red paint and posters reading “Free Palestine/Blood on Your Hands,” one day after Stiles removed MPP Sarah Jama from her caucus over Jama’s online comments on the Israel/Hamas war.

In her post following the Oct. 7 attacks, Jama called for an end to “Israeli apartheid” while omitting any mention of the Hamas attacks.

With files from Ellin Bessner

The CJN Daily: Why banning anti-Israel protests would be an overreach, says the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. Listen here.