Jewish man allegedly assaulted while walking dog in Toronto neighbourhood
TORONTO -- A Toronto man says he became the target of an assault and anti-Semitic slurs while he was out walking his dog on Wednesday.
Sam Brody says he was walking his dog at around 9 a.m. near his midtown home when a man approached him.
“As we passed him, he stopped and body checked me into the fence here. I fell down to the ground," he said.
The 29-year-old man believes he was targeted because he was wearing a Jewish skullcap.
“This brazen assault comes amid an unprecedented surge of physical attacks on Canadian Jews,” B'nai Brith Canada writes in a statement. “A recent assault on a Jewish man near his home in broad daylight is just the latest in a disturbing trend of attacks on Jews stemming from anti-Israel sentiment."
Brody says the attack came out of nowhere, and he didn’t know what to do.
“I was scared, like I don’t know what he was going to do after that,” Brody said. “Someone to hit me like that out of the blue, knock me to the ground, say something like that … I don’t know what he was going to do next. I’m just scared, I’m still kind of scared now, shaken up.”
Brody now worries the man lives in his Yonge and Eglinton neighbourhood where he recently moved to with his wife.
Brody complained to Toronto police and said officers came by to interview him.
“At this time we can confirm that we have a report on file for an assault which occurred in the morning hours of Wednesday, July 28, 2021, in the Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue area,” police told CTV News Toronto. “The investigation is active and ongoing”
Brody posted about the assault on Facebook and while he was speaking with CTV Toronto on his street, a woman named Eden Spodek recognized him from the posting.
“I think it is horrible. I can’t believe this is 2021 and this is happening in Toronto. I’ve lived here most of my life. I’ve lived in a smaller centre,” Spodek said.
“I know what it is like to really be a minority, and be Jewish. It is just very disturbing, distressing. All hate crimes are equally disturbing and distressing."
B'nai Brith Canada reports that in May alone there were 154 incidents of harassment, 51 incidents of vandalism and 61 incidents of violence.
B'nai Brith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn tells CTV News Toronto that the Jewish community is scared.
“It is not acceptable and that is why we trust that police will find the perpetrator that the person will be prosecuted under the law,” he said.
“There needs to be consequences and individuals need to know that there is a red line when it comes to hate, hateful acts, hateful rhetoric will not tolerated in this country.”