Antisemitism on the rise, report says

Greatest year-over-year increase was in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, annual audit finds

Photo via B'nai Brith Canada.

A report from B’nai Brith Canada found that antisemitic incidents increased in Saskatchewan and Manitoba in 2018.

The 2018 Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents, released Monday, lists more than 2,000 cases of harassment, vandalism and violence in 2018 across Canada. For the third year in a row, records were set for antisemitism in Canada.

A total of 2,041 cases were recorded, a 16.5 per cent increase over the previous year.

Incidents included Two Saskatchewan elementary school students being harassed and beaten by their peers, A Winnipeg high school student mocked for having a “Jewish nose” and for her relatives dying in the Holocaust, a Jewish community centre in Winnipeg receiving a flyer that said “Death to the Jewish Parasite,” a Manitoba woman receiving anonymous death threats and Antisemitic pamphlets claiming that 99 per cent of the one per cent is Jewish circulating around Alberta.

While B’nai Brith acknowledged that most anti-semitic incidents took place in Ontario and Quebec, there was an uptick in B.C., Manitoba and Saskatchewan, as well as parts of Atlantic Canada. Manitoba and Saskatchewan saw the largest growth, with a 142.6 per cent increase over 2017. There were 131 incidents in Saskatchewan andManitoba in 2018.

The most common form of antisemitic expression was harassment, which has grown by 61.5 per cent since 2015.

“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.”

Mostyn said that the massacre of Jewish worshippers at a synagogue in Pittsburgh days before a Montreal man threatened online to “kill Jewish girls” shows that some individuals 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 within police forces, a no-tolerance approach to public funding of anti-Jewish events, provision government action against antisemitism on campus and the adoption of a national action plan for antisemitism.

B’nai Brith promotes Jewish unity and continuity and positions itself as a “staunch defender” of the State of Israel and global Jewry and a leader in combatting antisemitism and racism.