Loser List, rants, Thornhill, Toronto

Loser List #10- Matthew Veersasammy

Here is an example of entering a lion’s den with a gazelle’s carcass. Or parachuting into an Islamic ruled country (or York University) with an Israeli flag draped around your body.

This case however, happens to take place not too far from your local kosher Sobeys…

Matthew Veersasammy won’t be trying to do anything stupid for the next six months because he’ll be in jail.

The 28-year-old was given that sentence on Dec 11 after pleading guilty criminal harassment, assault with a weapon and possession of a concealed weapon.  This all stemmed from an incident that took place on Sept. 11 in the Bathurst St. and Clark. Ave in Thornhill.

While walking his two dogs, Veersasammy reportedly began yelling, swearing and directing anti-Semitic sentiments towards a 43-year-old Jewish man and his 11-year-old son. He also took out a knife and threatened to kill the father.

Shortly after speaking to residents in the area, police arrested Veersasammy.

Now as all you Torontonians and Thornhill folk know, whenever the slightest instance of antisemitism arises in our community, whether it’s about Israel or just Jews, we don’t take lightly to it. For all the divisions, sects, synagogues, and any other terms that create politics within neighbourhoods, Toronto and Thornhill’s Jewish community is no slouch when it comes to uniting against antisemitism.

Case in point:

I recall back in March 2004 when Thornhill and Toronto were hit with a crazy string of antisemitic vandalism, where places like synagogues, billboards, gravestones and even houses (one of them belonging to a friend of mine who lives about 2 minutes from my house) were laced with swastikas. This went on for about a two to three weeks before this huge rally was held at the Bathurst Jewish Community Centre, where I recall people were lining up all around the building, even the areas outside, which are usually full of people when rallies like these take place, were also over capacity.

I’d never seen the community come together so swiftly in outrage in the face of such adversity.

This had nothing to do with Israel. It wasn’t an Israeli wine counter-boycott, or a protest against York University. It was just plain old antisemitism.

But besides this one hearing about a Jewish Tribune newspaper box vandalized (which I found out while working there), I haven’t heard of any kind of legitimate antisemitism in Thornhill, which doesn’t sound very surprising.

What I do find surprising is that a B’nai Brith audit found the number of anti-Semitic incidents in York Region had increased to 74 in 2008, up from 38 the previous year.

The breakdown looked like this:

Thornhill – 55 incidents

Richmond Hill – 11

Markham – 5

Newmarket- 3

Of course, nothing is perfect and I’m certain that the number in Thornhill is probably higher because the Jewish population is more aware of these kinds of occurrences, but if the number is going up; to me that means two things. Hate is up and we’re not doing enough to let people know what’s going on in our own communities. Sure, we’re all caught up in what’s going on around the world and in our own lives, but we can’t just read the facts and accept them, story’s over.

I’m sure the right people are very hard on these matters (my ex/B’nai Brith co-workers) and rest assured people like Matthew Veersasammy will be thinking twice before stepping into the Thornhill lion den with a carcass of antisemitism.

‘Nuff said.

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