Shalom Life | October 20, 2014

Tense Toronto Mayoral Debate Sees Candidate Ari Goldkind Calling Out Rob Ford for anti-Semitism

Goldkind says Toronto can combat anti-Semitism “by not having a mayor who refers to us ... the Jewish people in this room, with a derogatory name that starts with K”

By: Darryl Coote

Published: October 6th, 2014 in News » World

Photo Caption: Mayoral candidates Ari Goldkind (left) and Doug Ford

Photo Credit: Darryl Coote


TORONTO -- Issues of public transit and taxes took a backseat at Sunday night’s mayoral debate after candidate Ari Goldkind held Mayor Rob Ford accountable for having previously called Jewish people by a racial slur.

During the four-candidate debate, Goldkind was not deterred by the surprise appearance of a tired and ashen-looking Mayor Ford, who is currently fighting a rare form of cancer, and said that Toronto can combat anti-Semitism “by not having a mayor who refers to us ... the Jewish people in this room, with a derogatory name that starts with K.”

Mayor Ford was recorded in a phone call in March referring to several races, including Jews, by derogatory and racist terms.

He continued that Mayor Ford showed a lot of “chutzpah” by being in attendance, however he does not get a “free pass” from criticism for what he has said.

“I’m a Jewish person, I’m not religious, but the fact that he insulted my religion, whether it was under the influence or not, we cannot have a mayor like that, because that is where it starts,” Goldkind said to an uproarious audience.

Mayoral candidate and Councillor Doug Ford -- who decided to run in his brother’s stead after Mayor Rob Ford left the race last month following being diagnosed with cancer -- at first decided to ignore the remark but then addressed it by saying “But you know something, my doctor, my Jewish doctor, my Jewish dentist, my Jewish lawyer, my Jewish accountant,” before being drowned out by jeers from the audience.

“Let me finish, please,” he pleaded with the crowd. “My family has the utmost respect for the Jewish community, the utmost respect, and we look forward to working with the Jewish community as we have for the last four years, the last four years. I’ll leave it at that.”

Goldkind retorted by saying, “I don’t want to hear about your lawyer, your doctor. I don’t want hear about that. I want you to say that what your brother said was inexcusable and it doesn’t get washed under the rug.”

Candidate Ford then said, “I have told him very clearly that it was unacceptable and inexcusable,” elaborating that he had said so “publicly numerous times.”

Following the debate Goldkind said to the media that he took candidate Ford’s apology “probably … the same way everybody watching this and everybody in the room took it,” without clarifying.

Candidate Olivia Chow said to the media after the debate that candidate Ford’s comments concerning his doctor and dentist were “stereotyping.”

“You heard the groan from the entire audience … I don’t even know what he was trying to explain. I don’t find that helpful at all,” she said.

Both Mayor Rob Ford and Councillor Doug Ford left immediately following the debate, avoiding questions from the media.

John Tory, the fourth mayoral candidate, stayed away from the controversial topic as well as the Fords during the debate and in the media scrum following by sticking to discussing his SmartTrack public transit plan.

The debate, moderated by Chris Selley of the National Post, was hosted by the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and the United Jewish Appeal in the gymnasium of the Anne and Max Tanenbaum Community Hebrew Academy.

The mayoral election is to be held on Oct. 27.


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