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Toronto mayor says raising Israeli flag at City Hall ceremony is ‘divisive’

Written by on May 14, 2024

Toronto’s mayor says she decided to not attend a City Hall ceremony marking Israel’s national day because an Israeli flag-raising ceremony is currently “divisive.”

Olivia Chow says that the ongoing war in Gaza is causing “deep pain” for many in Toronto, emotions are running high and it is important to show empathy for those impacted by the bloodshed in the Middle East. 

Chow also says Toronto’s mayor does not decide which flags are flown at City Hall events, noting such requests are approved by the protocol office following public submissions. 

May 14 marks the anniversary of the day in 1948 when the state of Israel was proclaimed, an event often recognized in ceremonies around the world. 

But Israel’s war in Gaza has brought added scrutiny to the anniversary this year, including in Ottawa where an Israeli flag was also flying above City Hall but there was no public ceremony to mark the occasion after officials raised concern about a risk to public safety. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 14, 2024.

The Canadian Press