June 23, 2022
TORONTO – B’nai Brith Canada is deeply concerned about the imminent arrival of a US group in Toronto that promotes hatred of Jews, LGBTQ individuals and white people.
John Lightbourne of Philadelphia intends to appear at various venues this weekend in Toronto. He is a leader of the Israelite School of Universal Practical Knowledge (ISUPK) and is usually accompanied by members of this group when he appears in public. The ISUPK is part of the Black Hebrew Israelite movement that claims African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans are Jewish and that white people and Jews are satanic beings. The ISUPK is widely recognized as a hate group.
Lightbourne, who identifies himself as “Commanding General Yahanna,” promotes the separation of black and white people, claiming the latter are “animals” and “have no compassion.” Lightbourne also claims Jews “run everything” and are “nasty filthy devils.” In the same video, Lightbourne said, “The Jewish man is a G-ddamn liar.”
B’nai Brith also notes Lightbourne promotes hatred of LGBTQ individuals. In a recent video, an associate of Lightbourne said, “We are going to clash… and you may see a rainbow on fire… it may catch on fire, who knows?”
Lightbourne is scheduled to speak at a rally at Dundas Square in Toronto this weekend. B’nai Brith notes that Pride Toronto celebrations are scheduled to take place at the same time. The City of Toronto has confirmed to B’nai Brith that no permit has been issued to the ISUPK.
B’nai Brith has previously alerted the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), the Toronto Police Service (TPS) and the organizers of Toronto Pride about ISUPK’s anticipated arrival. Additionally, B’nai Brith has informed the owners of a private building that is scheduled to host ISUPK about the group’s beliefs.
“The ISUPK is part of the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, which has been linked to murder and violence in the not-so-distant past,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “We anticipate that Toronto law-enforcement agencies will heed our warnings and will act accordingly if violations of either the Criminal Code or the City of Toronto’s anti-discrimination policies occur, should they be permitted to enter Canada.
B’nai Brith also has contacted the City of Toronto Parks, Forestry & Recreation (TPFR) regarding a scheduled rally by Lightbourne and his group in a Toronto park this weekend. TPFR told B’nai Brith last week that it is “looking into” the matter.