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By Rhonda Spivak, September 21, 2010

A young offender who was arrested in Winnipeg last march has pled guilty recently to multiple charges-including willful promotion of hatred being responsible arising out of a series of anti-Semetic graffiti attacks on Jewish institution sand private property last fall in Calgary. 

The individual, whose name can not be released because he was a  17 years old (a young offender) when the acts were committed, was identified through video surveillance cameras which led to his arrest in Winnipeg.

It is believed that this is the first time in Canada that an individual has been convicted of a hate crime in connection with graffiti.   The offender will be sentenced on October 15.

The attack in November 2009 involved Swastikas and signs saying “Kill the Jews”, ‘F--- Jews” and “six million more.” Anti-Semetic Graffiti was scrawled on the property of the House of Jacob  synagogue, another synagogue,  a Holocaust memorial of the Calgary Jewish Community Centre [CJCC]and  the mailbox and fence of some adjacent private residences. 

Judy Shapiro, interim executive director of the Calgary Jewish Community Council told the Canadian Jewish News that the news of the crime sparked “a huge outpouring of support for the Jewish community.”   A rally attracting some 500 people, attended by political figures, ethnic and religious communities and organizations promoting diversity, was organized quickly after the fact.

According to Calgary’s Jewish Free Press  “The Community Relations Committee of CJCC strongly urged police to use the hate crime of the law against the perpetrator.” 

A photo of  the offending graffiti and description of the incident was first displayed in the Winnipeg Jewish Review in a story we wrote last spring. Involving the B’nai Brith Canada’s Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents.  See:’NAI_BRITH_AUDIT_FINDS_INCREASE_IN_ANTI-SEMITISM_IN_CANADA_

According to the Canadian Jewish News, in Toronto, Bernie Farber, CEO of Canadian Jewish Congress, applauded Calgary police for laying hate crime charges, saying that . “It was absolutely the right thing to do.”

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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.