B’nai Brith Audit: Antisemitism in Canada sets record for third consecutive year – decreases in Alberta

Sol Rollingher and B'nai Brith Alberta Manager of Public Affairs Abe Silverman discuss the recently released 2018 Bnai Brith Audit of Antisemitic Incidents in Canada.

(April 29, 2019 – Edmonton – For the third consecutive year, records were set in 2018 for antisemitism in Canada.

The 2018 Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents, produced by B’nai Brith Canada’s advocacy arm, the League for Human Rights, recorded 2,041 incidents of antisemitism, a 16.5 percent increase over the previous year.

Incidents of antisemitism included:

  • A Medicine Hat man distributing currency marked with antisemitic propaganda.
  • Swastika graffiti defacing an Edmonton park bench.
  • Antisemitic pamphlets claiming “99% of the 1% is Jewish” distributed around Alberta
  • A group of teens shooting lit fireworks at Hasidic Jews in Boisbriand, Que.
  • Two Saskatchewan elementary school students being harassed and beaten by their peers.
  • A group of Orthodox students in Toronto being assaulted on the streets.
  • A Winnipeg high school student being mocked for her “Jewish nose.”
  • A Manitoba woman hearing “You Jews deserve to die” in an anonymous phone call.
  • A 13-year-old Toronto student harassed by a peer who threatened to “shoot up a Jewish school” and told her to “go back into the ovens.”

While vandalism and violence continued to target members of Canada’s Jewish community, harassment was the most dominant form of antisemitic expression in 2018, with a 28.4 per cent increase compared with 2017 – representing a 61.5 percent increase since 2015.

Eighty percent of incidents took place via online platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, email and others.

“We are experiencing a disturbing new normal when it comes to antisemitism in this country, with expressions of anti-Jewish hatred surfacing in regions that are typically less prone to such prejudices,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada.

“Of particular concern is the rise of antisemitic harassment on social media, including death threats, threats of violence and malicious anti-Jewish comments and rhetoric.”

While the majority of incidents took place in Ontario and Quebec, which experienced a concerning 49.6 per cent increase compared with 2017, there was a significant uptick in the provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan as well as parts of Atlantic Canada. Alberta, however, saw a relative decrease with reported antisemitic incidents down 22.3 percent compared with 2017 – representing a 61.5 percent increase since 2015.

“The massacre of Jewish worshippers at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, just days before a Montreal man threatened online to ‘kill Jewish girls,’ shows us that some individuals sadly make good on their threats. We must always be vigilant against all forms of hatred, which is why B’nai Brith is urging government officials to incorporate the steps outlined in our Eight-Point Plan to Tackle Antisemitism,” Mostyn said.

The plan includes increasing resources for hate-crime units with police forces, a no-tolerance approach to public funding of anti-Jewish events, provincial government action against antisemitism on campus and the adoption of a national-action plan for antisemitism.

Now in its 37th year, the Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents, which tracks and monitors trends in antisemitic hatred, is the authoritative document on anti-Jewish bigotry in Canada, cited regularly by law enforcement agencies, government bodies and human rights agencies around the world.

To read the Audit in its entirety, click here.

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