B’nai Brith Canada released its 2009 “Audit of Antisemitic Incidents” this week. The survey reported over 1,200 incidents last year, an 11% increase over 2008 and a five-fold increase over the last decade. In total, there were 884 reports of harassment, 348 cases of vandalism and 32 cases of violence—twice as many as 2008.
“We note that the highest number of incidents for the year occurred in January 2009, coinciding with the war in Gaza,” said Frank Dimant, B’nai Brith vice president. “This is the pattern elsewhere in the world as well. However, while in France and the U.K., the rate of anti-Jewish activity slowed down somewhat in February and March, in Canada the number of anti-Semitic incidents remained high. We feel that this was due in major par to strident anti-Israel campaigning on Canadian campuses, which artificially maintained an atmosphere of hostility and aggression that often led to Antisemitic outbursts.”
Dimant also noted a rise in incidents during the 2009 High Holy Days, with 10 synagogues vandalized—four in Quebec in one evening just before Yom Kippur. “Such activity against the Jewish community’s religious institutions cannot simply be dismissed as an aberration.” (Shalom Life, Toronto, Feb. 25; JTA, Feb. 24)
A synagogue in Calgary was also defaced with swastikas on the Kristallnacht anniversary last year.
n March 2009, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) found that there was a rise in European anti-Semitism incidents since the previous December. In November 2008, the German parliament passed a resolution requiring the government to track reports of anti-Semitism in the country and fund education to combat the problem in response to a recorded rise. (Jurist, Feb. 25)