Anti-Semitic hate crimes spiked in 2017, according to B'Nai Brith
Instances of anti-Semitic vandalism went up by a “whopping” 107 per cent in 2017, according to an audit by B’Nai Brith Canada – setting a record for anti-Semitism in Canada, they said.
Their “Annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents” revealed that 2017 was the second consecutive year in which record numbers were reached. The audit showed 1,752 incidents throughout Canada last year – and they estimate only about 10 per cent get reported.
“If the Hasidic community in Outremont reported every single incident, every single day of what happens to their community, we would have unbelievable numbers. But they don't because it's become so prevalent they kind of learn to live with it,” said Janna Minikovich, a B’Nai Brith first responder. “It makes me feel horrible because I am Jewish and so putting up with things like this, trying to decrease it and trying to eliminate it. It's not just anti-Semitism, it's hate in general.”
According to their data, vandalism was especially prevalent. Homes, schools, parks and highways were reportedly defaced by Nazi graffiti and anti-Semitic epithets.
“This problem will not solve itself,” Michael Mostyn, CEO of B’Nai Brith Canada, said in a statement Tuesday. “We need a concerted national effort to ensure that anti-Semitic outbreaks do not become a fact of life for Jews in this country, as in other developed countries such as France and Sweden.”
Over 400 distinct incidents took place in Quebec – among them, B’Nai Brith pointed out “a rapper who promoted anti-Semitic violence” and “an imam who escaped criminal sanctions after twice calling for the genocide of Jews.”
The report states: "While Canadians often stress their multiculturalism and tolerance as defining national traits, our record on anti-Semitism is just as problematic as that of our southern neighbours."
The organization said it saw a spike in incidents following white nationalist rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia, adding that more than ever, the hateful messages are transitioning from online to real life.
B'nai Brith said Montreal police have taken a big first step by establishing the hate crimes unit, and is pushing other Canadian cities to follow suit.
The organization posited an eight-point plan to tackle anti-Semitism, including increased resources for police hate crime units, a no-tolerance approach to public funding of anti-Jewish events, and the development of a National Action Plan for anti-Semitism, among others.