Bus company boycotts pro-Israel rally in Ottawa

'What happened today is sickening and outrageous. We will respond aggressively with every legal and public affairs tool at our disposal,' said Adam Minsky, CEO of UJA Federation of Greater Toronto.

Bus company boycotts pro-Israel rally in Ottawa
X / UJAFederation
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According to an emailed statement from Adam Minsky, CEO of UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, "UJA is already working with legal counsel and will be proceeding with strong, decisive actions against this company. Hate and discrimination against any community can never be tolerated in Canada."

Posts from the VP of marketing and communications for UJA, Steve McDonald, explained that Prestige Worldwide was paid in full upfront. However, a number of buses hired to take rallygoers from the Toronto area to the nation's capital did not show up, with no explanation offered.

Thousands are expected to attend a solidarity event organized by the Jewish Federations of Canada to support Israeli hostages still held by Hamas following the October 7 terror attacks across southern Israel, which resulted in at least 1,200 fatalities.

A preliminary tally of the cancelled buses was 17 at the time of publication. UJA has made arrangements to replace the buses and to livestream the event in Parliament.

A similar scenario of cancelled buses stranded attendees of another pro-Israel rally on the tarmac at Dulles airport on November 14.

Nine hundred supporters of Israel from Detroit, en route to a rally in Washington, D.C., were left waiting on the runway for hours when the contracted buses, intended to transport them to the terminal, failed to show up.

The full statement from Minsky is below:

Today, thousands of community members in the GTA are travelling by bus to Ottawa for a peaceful rally in support of the Jewish people at a time of rising antisemitism.

We were shocked that, of more than 70 buses UJA booked, 17 did not show up. Those 17 buses were the responsibility of a particular sub-contracted company. Despite charging in full in advance and confirming its participation, the company did not send a single bus and has declined all communications while refusing to provide any explanation.  

Given the absolute silence of the sub-contractor and with no other explanation, we are driven to the view that this shameful decision is intended to disrupt our peaceful rally out of hatred toward Jews. Just last month, we saw a similar situation take place where antisemitic activists refused to drive Jewish Americans leaving a rally in Washington DC.

What happened today is sickening and outrageous. We will respond aggressively with every legal and public affairs tool at our disposal. UJA is already working with legal counsel and will be proceeding with strong, decisive actions against this company. Hate and discrimination against any community can never be tolerated in Canada.

We have made alternative travel arrangements for those affected. The rally is proceeding as planned, and our voices will be more determined than ever.

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