Stop those Nazi salutes at Quebec student protests: Jewish groups - InfoNews

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Stop those Nazi salutes at Quebec student protests: Jewish groups

Protesters give the raised arm salute to Montreal riot police as they guard the back entrance of the headquarters of the Quebec Provincial police in Montreal on Monday, May 21, 2012. The appearance of so-called Nazi salutes at some Quebec student protests is being condemned by different Jewish organizations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter McCabe
June 12, 2012 - 3:13 PM

MONTREAL - The appearance of so-called Nazi salutes at some Quebec student protests is being condemned by different Jewish organizations.

Some protesters have been using the gesture in recent weeks to mock Montreal police at demonstrations during which chanting crowds have referred to local officers as the "SS," calling them fascists and comparing them to Nazi police for their alleged brutality.

There have also been swastikas on anti-police pamphlets being distributed.

While the gestures are meant as an insult to police — and not as any expression of support for Nazism — a pair of prominent Jewish organizations say that's no excuse.

B'nai Brith Canada says the action defiles the memory of those who died in the Holocaust, of those who survived, and of those who fought against the Nazis in the Second World War.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, CEO Frank Dimant said students should put a stop to using the gesture immediately.

"We condemn, in the strongest of terms, this inexcusable display of hate by Quebec student protesters that has outraged the Jewish community and demonstrated just how low the level of public debate has fallen on the streets of Montreal," Dimant also said, in a statement issued Tuesday.

"The actions of these protesters, whether for the purposes of deriding Montreal police or drawing attention to their cause, defile the memory of the Holocaust and remind us just how quickly anti-Semitism and the manifestations of hate can venture their way into our public discourse."

The events in question have occurred at multiple recent protests. But B'nai Brith noted that it was issuing its statement Tuesday, on what would have been the 83rd birthday of Holocaust victim and famous diary author Anne Frank.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs also says the decision to use that gesture — in the current context — speaks to a lack of historical understanding.

Photos of the Nazi-themed protests have been circulating on social-networking sites, causing some shock and outrage. The photos have been posted on the Internet in recent days, sometimes without context, leaving viewers puzzled about why Montreal protesters are using the salute.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2012
The Canadian Press

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