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Audit of 2010 shows anti-Jewish hatred continues to rise in Canada. Human rights organization calls on federal candidates to react

by League for Human Rights of B'nai Brith Canada, April 8, 2011

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF THE 2010 AUDIT

The League for Human Rights of B'nai Brith Canada has monitored and reported on hate-motivated incidents directed at the Jewish community in Canada for twenty-nine years. This annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents provides an examination of racism and bigotry in this country, as expressed in attacks of harassment, vandalism or violence against individual Jews or the community's institutions. It is cited by Statistics Canada, government and research agencies, and authoritative sources around the world and is the single most credible study of the phenomenon of antisemitism and patterns of occurrence and prejudice in Canada.


Overview of the National Scene

Incidents were reported across the county in synagogues, schools, playgrounds, campuses, street rallies, sporting events, workplaces, private homes and other residential buildings. Through the Internet, new social networking technologies were used to disseminate vicious slurs against Jews and threats of violence. Antisemitic cyber-bullying was a significant reality.  Anti-Israel agitators, far-left-wing groups and radical Islamists, latched onto Nazi motifs and age-old anti-Jewish stereotypes, to bolster their campaigns against the Jewish State, while the far-right-wing camp eagerly embraced anti-Israel propaganda to update its traditional hate material.

The findings that emerge from this Audit confirm that antisemitism continues to gain traction. Global influences often supersede purely Canadian triggers of antisemitism and new technologies have provided a convenient and effective vehicle for the dissemination of age-old anti-Jewish messaging in even more sophisticated and insidious ways. With several notable exceptions, the general public appears to be getting desensitized to everyday expressions of antisemitism, while members of the Jewish community appear to have internalized this message, becoming increasingly hesitant to report anti-Jewish incidents.

1,306 antisemitic incidents were reported in 2010, representing a 3.3% increase over the 2009 data and indicating that there are specific fault lines in civic interaction when it comes to anti-Jewish prejudice in Canada. From the perspective of the past ten years, there has been more than a four-fold increase in hate-related incidents targeting the Jewish community. When the League released its first Audit 28 years ago, the number of reported incidents was only 63.

The 1,306 incidents across Canada break down as follows: 965 cases of harassment (74% of the total incidents), 317 cases of vandalism (24%) and 24 cases of violence (2%). As in previous years, harassment continues to comprise the majority of cases.  Harassment cases increased by 9.2% over 2009, while the other two categories decreased overall.  Despite attempts currently in vogue to dismiss harassment as mere harmless name calling, it should be noted that the language used in the cases classified as harassment in this Audit included 80 cases of explicit threats of violence including threats of genocide or imminent harm.

The majority of incidents across Canada consistently occur in Ontario. In 2010, 735 incidents (56.3% of the total) took place in Ontario. This represents an increase for the province of 9.4%, over the 672 incidents reported in 2009.

There were 305 cases reported across the province of Quebec in 2010, representing an 18.2% decrease from the 373 cases reported in 2009, but an increase from 245 incidents reported in Quebec in 2008. Taking into account the annual fluctuations, a five-year view of incidents in Quebec confirms antisemitism is still a concern. 

There were 75 cases reported across British Columbia, representing 5.9% of the total incidents recorded across Canada.  This represents a small decrease of 6.7% from the 80 cases in 2009, but a five-year view shows a sustained and growing presence of antisemitism in the province.

There were 66 cases reported in Alberta, representing 5.1% of 2010 incidents.  Little change was noted from the previous year when 67 cases were reported, but the 2010 data represents a 34% increase over the 50 cases reported in 2008.

There were a total of 19 cases in Saskatchewan, representing 1.5% of the country’s total incidents. This is a 58.3% increase over the 12 cases in 2009.  

There were 46 cases in the Atlantic region, representing 3.6% of the total incidents reported across Canada.  In 2009, the 23 incidents in this region comprised only 1.8% of the country’s total cases.
 
There were no specific cases reported in the Northern Region, although calls were received indicating residents have concerns about antisemitism.


Manitoba in 2010


In Manitoba, there were 60 reported cases in 2010, compared to 37 in 2009 and 34 in 2008.  The 2010 figure represents a significant increase of 62.2% over the 2009 findings.  The Manitoba incidents represent 4.7% of the country’s total cases, compared to just 2.9% in 2009.

Taking a five year view, incidents in Manitoba were up 150% (by from 24 cases in 2006)

The majority of incidents took place in the capital city of Winnipeg, where the vast majority of the province’s Jewish population resides. 

The incidents were classified as follows:
Manitoba Total Harassment Vandalism Violence
2010 60 31 29 0
2009 37 27 8 2

Harassment increased by 14.8%, matching the national trend.  However, vandalism rose  by 262.5%, a marked contrast to the national trend.  Private residences as well as  public property were  targeted by repeated incidents of ugly graffiti, including slurs and symbols of hate against the Jewish community.

 

Examples of incidents in Manitoba in 2010


Antisemitic graffiti painted on chimney that stands outside Citytv at the Forks.

A Jewish teenager at school was told by another student “I wish your family died in the camps”.

Graffiti including swastikas was spray-painted on a Winnipeg public school and hate e-mail was sent to several students.

Swastikas and antisemitic graffiti painted on cars in Selkirk, MB.

Hate messages against Jews posted by an individual in Winnipeg on Facebook

Letter sent to a Jewish organization accused Jews of controlling the media.


The Hate Crimes Unit of the Winnipeg Police Service reported that it had responded to nine complaints of antisemitism in 2009 - half of the total of 18 complaints of hate- motivated activity targeting victims’ race/ ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation.

This illustrates a continuing disproportionate targeting of the Jewish community compared to other ethnic and religious groups, a pattern that has been steadily intensifying in the past decade.

 

 

 

 

 
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.


Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.