Two NDP candidates resign following anti-Semitic online comments

By Lucas Casaletto

Two NDP candidates have resigned after their anti-Semitic comments on social media caused an intense backlash.

The party confirms that the two candidates – Dan Osborne from Nova Scotia and Sidney Coles from Toronto – have stepped down.

Federal party leader Jagmeet Singh addressed the resignations during a campaign stop in southwestern Ontario.

“I want to be very clear: their comments were completely wrong and have no place in our party,” Singh said in Essex, Ont., on Wednesday.

“Those messages were completely unacceptable, and the right decision was made.”

Osborne was reported to have Tweeted to Oprah in 2019 asking if Auschwitz was a real place, referring to the Nazi-run concentration camp in Poland during the Second World War.

“I want to offer an apology,” Osborne said in a subsequent tweet Sunday.

“The role of Auschwitz and the history of the holocaust is one we should never forget. Antisemitism should be confronted and stopped. I can’t recall posting that, I was 16 then and can honestly say I did not mean to cause any harm.”

Coles was reported to have posted misinformation about Israel being linked to missing COVID-19 vaccines. Both Coles and Osborne’s Twitter accounts have since been deleted.

“Those comments were wrong, and I’m encouraged to see a clear apology and a complete withdrawal of those comments,” Singh continued.

“In addition, they’re talking about the importance of getting training. Antisemitism is real. We’re seeing a scary rise in antisemitism, and we are unequivocally opposed, and we’ll confront it.”

Yesterday, Singh had said it was enough that the two apologized for their past Anti-Semitic remarks.

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC) issued a statement on the matter, saying “FSWC exposed and denounced Coles’ tweets in which she repeatedly accused Israel of misappropriating U.S. supplies of the coronavirus vaccine.”

“Coles apologized after the organization called on the candidate to issue a retraction and detailed apology for her false and offensive remarks that hurt members of the Jewish community,” wrote FSWC in a press release.

“We are relieved the candidates have stepped down and committed to participating in antisemitism education, and we thank NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh for his leadership in ensuring this outcome,” said Jaime Kirzner-Roberts, director of policy at FSWC.

“Amid rising Jew-hatred in this country, all political parties and leaders must send a message, loud and clear, that antisemitism will not be tolerated in any shape or form.”

Today, the three main party leaders are in Eastern and Central Canada, a day after a new poll suggested the already close federal-election race is getting even tighter.

With files from the Canadian Press

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