Calgary mayor Jyoti Gondek is getting shredded online for her Wednesday night statement that she will not be attending this year’s City Hall Menorah Lighting event, a tradition that has run for over three decades and one that she’s regularly attended in years past.
Gondek stated she won’t attend the Thursday event, alleging it had become politicized.
“Calgary mayor bows to pro-Hamas antisemites: Jyoti Gondek’s move to pull out of menorah lighting is the height of political cowardice,” said Rahim Mohamed of the National Post.
Even Liberal MP Anthony Housefather criticized Gondek, saying she is “sending a horrible message by not attending.”
Another social media user, Glenbow Ranch CEO Jeremy Farkas stated, “I am deeply disappointed by Mayor Gondek’s boycott of the community menorah lighting at City Hall. This boycott sends a deafening message that in Calgary, you are free to be who you are, love who you love, and worship how you will – so long as you are not Jewish.”
Calgary Conservative MPs have also issued a joint statement, slamming Gondek for her decision.
“Her decision to withdraw could dangerously normalize antisemitism at a time when across campuses and communities, Jewish Canadians are already feeling threatened.”
Mayor Gondek points to poster as reason for boycott
The Calgary mayor pointed to a poster as proof the event had become politicized. The poster didn’t mention anything about the war with Hamas, but featured the words “Supporting Israel,” “Jewish Pride,” and “Am Yisrael Chai!” – a Jewish expression meaning “The people of Israel live.”
“I am saddened that this change makes it impossible for me to attend,” said Gondek.
“The changed nature of tomorrow’s event creates a divide and forces people to choose a side.”
Gondek further waded into the political mess that is the Israeli-Hamas conflict and added, “The killing must stop in Gaza, because it is spreading division and hatred, far and wide. Eradicating Hamas must come in a different form than mass casualties.”
Calgary City Councilor Richard Pootmans issued support for Gondek’s decision, and is also boycotting the event.