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by Rhonda Spivak, October 15, 2012

Mayor Sam Katz has referred to the email received by the Winnipeg Jewish Review as "sad and pathetic" and has also indicated that he has had threats on his life since being Mayor.

I have had the chance to “google” the phrase "Shitler's list", a phrase I was not aware of until the surfacing of these posters.

Meaning of the phrase Shitler's list is set out in this Uncle Semite Website which in my view is clearly antisemitic and explains the use of the term:

I think it is likely the culprit is aware of the usage of this phrase and did not use this phrase by accident at all.

A reliable source has told the Winnipeg Jewish Review that there were at least two posters put up last week downtown with the same text as the email I received, and another one near City Hall.

I did in fact receive a previous email on September 21, that I considered antisemitic relating to the earlier round of posters that I did not post at the time, hoping that the incident was already over.
I reported the existence of both emails to the police, and am satisfied that the investigation is active and ongoing.

I posted the contents of the antisemitic email I received two days ago , with the hope that I would receive some information, tips, clues, etc that I may not have otherwise received had I not posted this. I also did so hoping that anyone with potentially relevant information would come forward and provide it to the police.

I did receive an email from one Jewish reader indicating it was his view that I ought not to have reported on the fact I received an antisemitic email the same as the text of the new poster, since this gives the culprit/s more attention, which is what they want.

I respect that viewpoint, but was not convinced of doing this in this case since the existence of the new posters was already reported by the Winnipeg Free Press before I posted the email I had received, and since in my case, this was already the second email that was received.

I asked David Matas, Senior Legal Counsel to B'nai Brith Canada, to outline why he favours reporting over doing nothing.
He responded, "My view is that incitement to hatred is worth combating publicly. The incitement may reach more people that way, but it arrives in a context where it is refuted and condemned. Left without comment, it will reach fewer people but some of those fewer people will be more susceptible to the incitement.

"People with the contrary view are concerned about the effect of reporting on the inciters, that it spurs their behaviour.

However, as Matas says "Our primary concern should not be these people but rather the gullible who might fall prey to the incitement. This gullibility, this tendency to be sucked into the myths of hate speech is significantly reduced if hate speech is exposed for what it is."

Lastly, I have been asked by a number of journalists that I have spoken to today whether I think this is the work of a lone individual or a group of individuals. I have no special knowledge but my gut instinct is that although there may be one "writer," I would not be surprised if the culprit had a helper or two in putting these posters up downtown.

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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.