Police have arrested and charged a Hamilton rabbi after red paint was poured on the steps of the building housing Israel’s consulate in Toronto to symbolize Palestinian bloodshed in the Middle East.
Rabbi David Mivasair, 69, was charged on May 22 with one count of mischief under $5,000 after police responded to a call about damage to the consulate.
The arrest stemmed from a demonstration the day before in which red paint was poured onto the steps of 2 Bloor St. E. to protest Israel’s armed actions in Gaza.
Rabbi Mivasair, a member of Independent Jewish Voices of Canada, which supports sanctioning and boycotting Israel, told CTV News Toronto that the “violence by Israel across Palestine cannot be washed away.”
“Red paint streaming from the Israeli consulate onto the street in Toronto represents the blood of massacred innocent Palestinian civilians,” he said outside the consulate.
He said the ceasefire announced the day before between Israel and Hamas “doesn’t end the injustice and oppression. Palestinians are living under pervasive deprivation, domination and Israeli oppression.”
On the day of the attack, Israel’s consul general in Toronto, Galit Baram, said, “provocative acts of vandalism such as (this) are counter-productive and do not contribute to any solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
Rabbi Mivasair said “it can no longer be business as normal at Israel’s consulates in Canada.”
Asked by The CJN for a comment, Rabbi Mivasair replied: “Actually, the focus should be on Israel and what Israel is doing to Palestinians. The issue is real blood of real people, not some washable red paint that was totally cleaned up in less than half an hour. And about arrests, do you have any idea how many Palestinians were arrested by Israel in the last 24 hours, dragged out of their beds in the middle of the night? Do you know the conviction rate for Palestinians in Israel’s military courts in the West Bank?”
In 2019, Rabbi Mivasair was arrested and detained in the West Bank. He and a group of activists were in the South Hebron Hills working on a road in order to improve access to Palestinian villages.
He was charged with being in a closed military zone, and released with conditions.
Other groups involved in the protest at Israel’s Toronto consulate were Just Peace Advocates and the Canadian Foreign Policy Institute.
They also demanded an end to Canadian arms sales to Israel.