THORNHILL, Ont - Prime Minister Stephen Harper is urging all Canadians to confront what he calls a "rising tide of anti-Semitism" around the world.

Harper passionately reaffirmed his government's support for the state of Israel in a speech to hundreds of members of the Jewish community in the Toronto suburb of Thornhill.

Harper was interrupted by several standing ovations -- at the grand opening ceremony for a community centre.

Harper, who was joined by Conservative MP Peter Kent, who represents the area, urged all Canadians to "confront" anti-Semitism as a "moral evil."

He said the Conservatives have been taking continual leadership on that issue, including when Kent spoke out against recent anti-Semitic incidents on some university campuses.

The speech comes amid the government's refusal to allow British MP George Galloway from entering Canada, apparently because of links to Hamas.

The federal government says Galloway is inadmissible because he engaged in terrorism and was a member of a group that engaged in terrorism.

That charge is apparently based on the fact that Galloway delivered humanitarian goods to war-torn Gaza and gave $45,000 to the Hamas government.

Hamas is a banned terrorist organization in Canada.

Galloway's lawyers are challenging the entry ban and are considering a civil action.