Anti-Semitic incidents across Canada soared to a record high in 2016, according to the latest figures contained in a B’nai Brith Audit.
B’nai Brith Canada has been tracking anti-Semitic incidents for 35 years. It said 1,728 cases were reported across the country last year, a “made in Canada” phenomenon. In all there was a 26 per cent increase from 2015 – the highest number the group has ever recorded.
“That means an average of four to five incidents of anti-Semitic harassment, vandalism or violence occurring every day in our country, a country where we pride ourselves as being one of the most tolerant in the world,” the group’s CEO Michael Mostyn said.
The Audit also highlights the emergence of a new trend in Canadian anti-Semitism: incitement against Jews in mass media via reports of Holocaust denial, especially in Arabic-language publications. While B’nai Brith said it was successful in exposing and removing many of the most egregious examples, the lack of response from law enforcement and government agencies spotlights a worrying trend for Jews in Canada.
B’nai Brith Canada reported:
“The year 2016 also saw a dramatic rise in incidents involving Holocaust denial. In 2015, Holocaust denial made up just five per cent of the total number of antisemitic incidents in Canada. In 2016, that number soared to 20 per cent.
“B’nai Brith attributes this increase to a number of factors, including those who deny the Holocaust under the pretext of ‘free speech’ and the campaign that promotes Holocaust denial and other forms of antisemitism under the guise of anti-Zionism.”
Amanda Hohmann, national director of B’nai Brith Canada’s League for Human Rights, told CTV News the organization believes Canadian anti-Semitism is not a U.S. import.
“While some have sought to link the global increase in anti-Semitism to November’s presidential election in the United States, it’s worth noting that the months of September through December actually saw a relative decrease in anti-Semitic incidents in Canada, in relation to previous years,” Hohmann said.
“The findings of this year’s Audit – that antisemitism has reached a record high in Canada – demonstrate the need for real, immediate and strong action,” Mr. Mostyn concluded. “It is time to stop hoping that this problem will go away, or take care of itself. It is time to deal real consequences to the purveyors of antisemitism, and to fight back.”
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