Community groups in Montreal are calling for more to be done to stop antisemitism in the wake of hateful symbols being spray painted on a local synagogue.

Several people gathered Tuesday in front of Bagg Street Shul in the Plateau, which was defaced with swastikas last week.

"They had no fear, they took their time doing it. It actually looked very symmetrical so it was quite shocking," said Sam Sheraton, a member of the synagogue and son of Holocaust survivors.

The swastikas have since been removed. Montreal police are investigating the incident, but have not yet made any arrests.

"People of good faith who live and belong, they should be able to live and belong in freedom and free from acts of hate," said Henry Topas, the Quebec regional director of B’nai Brith Canada.

When community groups heard what happened to one of Quebec’s oldest synagogues, they mobilized in solidarity, denouncing the incident and calling on the city to do more.

"We hope to come up with — in the next few weeks — with some concrete ideas and measures to work with the City of Montreal, which has to play a more active role with the police and other agencies to develop what I call a new Montreal action plan to combat hate," said Fo Niemi, who heads the civil rights group Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR)


"Quebec should follow the example of Ontario and develop a curriculum that is age-appropriate and will help people understand what the Holocaust was," said Marvin Rotrand, national director of B’nai Brith’s League of Human Rights.

Last year, Ontario announced it would introduce mandatory Holocaust education to the Grade 6 curriculum in an attempt to help stop rising antisemitism in schools.

B'nai Brith said it believes a change to the curriculum could help lower the number of hate-motivated incidents in Montreal, where the number is the highest in the country.

The organization's 2021 report showed a 20 per cent increase in antisemitic incidents in Quebec.

Its 2022 report is set to be released later this month.