A Jewish mayoral candidate in Toronto took the mayor to task for an anti-Semitic slur he had made in a drunken state, and the mayor's brother got into hot water trying to defend him by citing Jewish connections during a political debate on Sunday, Canadian news outlets reported.
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Mayor Rob Ford reportedly surprised the crowd when he showed up to the debate, co-sponsored by the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and United Jewish Appeal Federation of Greater Toronto, much to the chagrin of mayoral candidate Ari Goldkind.
"Mayor Ford, who has shown a tremendous amount of chutzpah by coming in[to] this room tonight, may get a free pass from everyone else on this stage," said Goldkind, according to the Toronto Sun.
Goldkind said he refused to give the mayor a pass when it comes to using the “k word” to describe someone who is Jewish, as he did in the recording, the Sun reported.
"I am a Jewish person. I am not religious, but the fact he insulted my religion, whether it was under the influence or not, we cannot have a mayor like that because that is where it starts," added Goldkind.
Councilor Doug Ford, the mayor's brother, did not respond directly to Goldkind. Instead, he pulled out his Jewish connections, which drew hackles from the audience.
“You know something, my doctor, my Jewish doctor, my Jewish dentist, my Jewish lawyer, my Jewish accountant,” he said under the cacophony of boos, the Globe and Mail reported. “We’ve known, our family, can you please, please let me finish. Our family has the utmost respect. Let me finish. Please. My family has the utmost respect for the Jewish community. The utmost respect.”
Ford did make a point of condemning his brother's remarks, saying, "I have told him very clearly that it was unacceptable and inexcusable."
According to the Globe and Mail, Steve Shulman, the UJA's campaign director, "commended the four candidates for agreeing that there was no place in the city for such bigotry." He commented that Dough Ford had phrased his response "maybe in an inelegant way."
Neither of the Ford brothers spoke to reporters after the event, noted the Globe and Mail.