Michelle Blanc, the Parti Québécois candidate for mayor of Outremont, says she does not need to apologize for anti-Semitic comments she made in the pasT.
“I don’t have to defend myself,” Blanc told the Montreal Gazette, saying the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs has “already defended me.”
In a 2011 tweet, Blanc wrote: “Merde, I forgot to celebrate Hitler’s birthday last week.”
In a 2007 blog post titled Am I racist?, Blanc complained at length about the Hassidic community in Outremont and the Mile End. “It would be much simpler for them and for me if they disappeared from my view,” she wrote, and asked why they don’t relocate to “the middle of the woods, on the edge of civilization.”
Alex Wertzberger, a spokesperson for Outremont’s Hasidic community, said Wednesday that Blanc’s comments were anti-Semitic, hurtful and not befitting a candidate who wishes to represent a riding with a sizeable portion of ultra-Orthodox Jews.
“If someone says she would wish to see (the Hasidic community) vanish, and that she missed Hitler’s birthday, that is not something in our opinion that we joke about,” Werzberger said.
He added: “If you want to run on the North Shore and talk about Jews, that’s a different story, but not in this riding that has one of the largest ultra-Orthodox populations in Quebec.”
Blanc’s comments have been denounced by the human rights organization B’nai Brith Canada, which called on the PQ to withdraw her candidacy in Mercier riding.
However, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs said she made “regrettable generalizations about the Hassidic community” but did not believe her comments were anti-Semitic.
READ MORE: MONTREAL GAZETTE