Pamela Geller's Talk at Toronto Shul Scrapped in 'Hate Speech' Flap

Did Police Threaten Rabbi Over Anti-Islam Firebrand?


By JTA

Published May 05, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A speaking engagement by American anti-Islamic firebrand Pamela Geller was moved following police intervention.

Geller, a vocal critic of radical Islam, was due to speak May 13 at a Chabad synagogue in Thornhill, north of Toronto, but the synagogue’s rabbi, Mendel Kaplan, backed out after a visit by the hate crimes unit of local police.

“Rabbi Kaplan decided to cancel Ms. Geller’s appearance, as it would place him in conflict with the values of our organization, which support a safe, welcoming and inclusive community for all,” read a statement issued May 2 by the York Regional Police. Kaplan also serves as a police chaplain.

Geller is known for protesting past plans to build a mosque near Ground Zero in New York City, and has posted anti-Jihad signs in that city’s subway system. Geller’s speaking engagement, still slated for May 13, was moved to a different venue, according to the Jewish Defense League of Canada.

The Toronto Sun reported May 1 that police “threatened” to remove Rabbi Kaplan as a police chaplain if he hosted Geller. Police called that allegation “a flagrant misrepresentation of the facts.”

A York Regional Police spokesman told the Sun that if Rabbi Kaplan hosted Geller “then we’d have to reassess our relationship with [him].”

A receptionist answering the phone at Rabbi Kaplan’s synagogue, Chabad @ Flamingo, said the rabbi is “not available” for comment.

A Geller speech scheduled for early April at the Great Neck Synagogue in Long Island, N.Y. also was canceled.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • British Jews are having their 'Open Hillel' moment. Do you think Israel advocacy on campus runs the risk of excluding some Jewish students?
  • "What I didn’t realize before my trip was that I would leave Uganda with a powerful mandate on my shoulders — almost as if I had personally left Egypt."
  • Is it better to have a young, fresh rabbi, or a rabbi who stays with the same congregation for a long time? What do you think?
  • Why does the leader of Israel's social protest movement now work in a beauty parlor instead of the Knesset?
  • What's it like to be Chagall's granddaughter?
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.