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January 24, 2022
MONTREAL — B’nai Brith Canada is outraged by a remark made on a French-language television show Sunday night when a guest falsely implied that Hasidic Jews are exempt from COVID-19 health measures in Quebec.
At Everybody talks about it, a popular Quebec television show, Stéphanie Hariot, owner of a pastry shop in Saguenay, Quebec, suggested that Hasidic Jews somehow operate independently of the province’s health regulations. His remarks were not challenged by the show’s host.
Hariot, who publicly refuses to abide by the province’s health guidelines for his business, posed this rhetorical question: “Do I have to dress like a Hasidic to have rights?”
B’nai Brith Canada has written to the show’s producers demanding that they distance themselves from Hariot’s remarks.
“Singling out Hasidic Jews for perceived violations of government health restrictions puts undue focus on a community frequently targeted by anti-Semites and must be condemned,” said Marvin Rotrand, national director of the advocacy arm of B ‘nai Brith Canada, the League for Human Rights. . “Hasidic Jews are not a monolithic community and should certainly be given individual responsibility, and not painted broadly as Stéphanie Hariot has offensively implied.”
“Many non-Jews, including Ms. Hariot, violated public health measures,” said Michael Mostyn, executive director of B’nai Brith Canada. “Ms. Hariot’s remarks seem to suggest that only Hasidic Jews are guilty of doing so. Some who may not be following the rules may be Hasidic Jews, but portray an entire Jewish community as somehow collectively responsible for violations individual public health restrictions is a troubling and false generalization that needs to be corrected.
“We call on the producers of Everybody talks about it to distance oneself from such remarks, as they encourage a toxic anti-Semitic characterization of Hasidic Jews that is all too prevalent in Canada.