Study: Anti-Semitism Skyrockets in Canada

Highest level of anti-Semitic incidents ‘ever recorded’

Toronto skyline
Toronto skyline / Wikimedia Commons
June 16, 2015

Anti-Semitic incidents in Canada skyrocketed over the last year and have now hit the highest levels "ever recorded" by human rights groups tracking the number of anti-Jewish episodes, according to a new study.

Canadians across the country reported experiencing more anti-Semitism than in the past four years, with anti-Semitic incidents having risen a total of 28 percent from 2013 to 2014, according to the global Jewish advocacy group B’nai B’rith International (BBI).

This made 2014 the "worst year" for anti-Semitism since advocacy groups began tracking incidents in 1982.

The majority of those who reported an instance of anti-Semitism faced harassment, while others faced forms of violence and vandalism as a result of being Jewish, according to the report.

The rise coincides with a global surge in anti-Semitism, including a rash of terrorist attacks against Jewish communities in countries such as France.

In Canada alone, there were 1,627 anti-Jewish incidents in 2014, a nearly 30 percent rise since the previous year. Such cases "can vary from slurs, name calling, and graffiti, to assault, arson, and bomb threats," the report states.

"The year 2014 saw the highest number of anti-Semitic incidents ever recorded by B'nai B’rith and the League for Human Rights," according to the report.  "At 1,627 incidents, this year saw a 28 percent increase over 2013. This is consistent with data gathered by other human rights organizations around the world, such as the Anti-Defamation League, who reported a 21 percent increase over the previous year."

At least 1,370 of reported incidents included forms of anti-Semitic harassment, while 238 reported vandalism and another 19 reported being the victims of violence.

The report’s authors warn that anti-Semitism is becoming a serious threat in Canada and that it follows with larger trends across the globe.

"It would be easy to allow the events of 2014 and the rising prevalence of occurrences to convince Canadians that anti-Semitism has become an inevitable and insurmountable problem in this country, and to allow fear and anger to take hold," the report states.

"However, the events unfolding in other parts of the world should serve to illustrate the need for increased ties between the Jewish community and the larger Canadian society. It is not by building barriers that we will eliminate anti-Semitism, but rather by building relationships, and encouraging inter-community education and dialogue," it says.

Toronto police have reported similar finding, with one recent report concluding: "Toronto’s Jewish community was the most victimized group, on the receiving end of nearly one in every three reported hate crime incidents."

In addition, "similar results were seen in other municipalities around Canada, and this disturbing trend is indicative of a larger, global rise in anti-Semitism, with 2014 seeing multiple high-profile anti-Semitic incidents across Europe and around the world."

Researchers attribute growing anti-Semitism to the ongoing conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians and a growth in anti-Israel activity on college campuses.

"On college and university campuses across Canada, on the streets in protests and in the media, one drum-beat is being pounded again and again: Jews, via the state of Israel, are responsible for some of the worst types of human rights violations and the genocide of the Palestinian people," the report states. "Criticism of Israeli policy has become a condemnation of the Jewish people as a whole, legitimized by movements such as BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) [movement]."

In 2014 alone, Jewish individuals reported being targeted for wearing yarmulkes in public and having their homes vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti.

In April of last year, for instance, several Hasidic homes were vandalized, with one being completely destroyed by arson, according to the report.

Another individual reported that a mattress was set on fire "with the words ‘burnt Jew’ written across the top."

The Washington Free Beacon reported in July that a family of pro-Israel supporters were assaulted and strangled by pro-Palestinian protestors and an anti-Israel event in Calgary.

Family members reported protestors shouting, "Kill Jews," "Hitler should finish you off," and "baby killers." Events then turned violent when some of the protestors punched family members and spat on them.

A vandal smeared dog feces onto the door of a synagogue in Toronto in September.

Published under: Anti-Semitism