Anti-Semitic incidents reach record high in Canada: report

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)

See our last posts on Canada and the politics of anti-Semitism

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  1. The usual dilemma…
    Frank Dimant nearly explicitly baits Palestine solidarity protesters as responsible for the upsurge—as if the fact that there are Jew haters in the world means that Israel should get a blank check to commit war crimes. And of course it doesn’t help any that too many of Israel’s critics nearly explicitly argue that anti-Semitism is only a Zionist propaganda trick—as if vandalizing a synagogue with swastikas were legitimate “protest of Israel.”

  2. Canada man charged with advocating genocide of Jews
    The Ontario Provincial Police on July 8 announced hate crimes charges against a Bangladeshi-born Canadian man after he posted comments on a website calling for the extermination of Jewish people. Salman Hossain was charged with three counts of willfully promoting hatred against an identifiable group and two counts of advocating genocide against an identifiable group, making him the first person to be charged for advocating genocide under Ontario’s criminal code. He could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted. Among Hossain’s alleged statements are calls for the extermination of Jewish people throughout Europe and North America, terrorist attacks on Canada and for the violent overthrow of western governments.

    The Canadian Jewish Congress praised the charges, calling them a commitment to the rights of Canadians to live “free from vilification[,] … demonization and … genocidal threats.” Ontario Attorney General considered pressing charges last year, but declined to do so after Hossain removed most of the offensive material from his website. This decision was reversed once Hossain resumed posting content to Filthy Jewish Terrorists [CONTENT WARNING], an anti-Jewish conspiracy-theory website. Hossain responded to the charges in a post [CONTENT WARNING] on the website, stating that “calling for … genocide [was] the right thing … a [nuclear] type assault is literally the only solution,” and claiming to renounce Canadian citizenship. Hossain left Canada during the investigation and is now believed to be in Bangladesh [Montreal Gazette report], which does not have an extradition treaty in force with the Canadian government.

    In June, Canadian police reported that members of the Jewish faith were the most frequently targeted religious group in Canada. The report, which also detailed a 35% increase in hate crimes from 2007 to 2008, found that two-thirds of religiously motivated hate crimes were committed against members of the Jewish faith, constituting a 42% rise over the previous year. (Jurist, July 9)