New Watchdog Report: 2016 ‘Worst Year on Record for Antisemitism in Canada,’ With Spikes in Holocaust Denial and On-Campus Hate Incidents
A newly published yearly report on antisemitism in Canada revealed that incidents of Holocaust denial and on-campus hate spiked significantly in 2016.
B’nai Brith Canada’s “Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents” reported that 2016 was “worst year on record for antisemitism in Canada,” the human rights organization’s CEO, Michael Mostyn told The Algemeiner on Tuesday, following the release of the report which said there were a total of 1,728 antisemitic incidents nationwide last year.
Holocaust denial and distortions accounted for 20% of the antisemitism recorded — including University of Lethbridge professor Anthony Hall using his classroom as a platform for anti-Jewish conspiracy theories about the Holocaust and 9/11 (Hall was ultimately suspended and remains under investigation).
Mostyn attributed the increase in Holocaust denial — up from 5% of antisemitic incidents in 2015 — to the fact that “every year, as we get further and further away from the Holocaust, as fewer survivors go into the community and tell their stories, we see a rise [in this sort of antisemitism].”
“We’ve been seeing this behavior for a long time,” he continued. “It has not leapt out of the blue. But what’s interesting is that it is now being perpetrated by coordinated individuals, from the extreme Right and Left, who might otherwise make strange bedfellows, but have been united on social media and the internet through their hatred of Jews.”
A debacle at Ryerson University late last year — in which the student government president was found to have collaborated in the derailing of a vote on a motion to institute Holocaust Education week — was representative of the joint problems of Holocaust denial and campus-related antisemitic activities.
“It’s not surprising that if you have university professors teaching so-called alternative theories on Holocaust, that it will effect their students,” Mostyn said. “And if it is allowed to progress, it will be more and more difficult to combat.”
B’nai Brith Canada focused its university research on three areas — the featuring of controversial guest lecturers on campus, attempts by faculty “to characterize blatant antisemitism as legitimate academic research” and the infiltration of student politics and government by anti-Israel activists.
“This report should serve as a wake-up call opportunity for university administrators across to start treating antisemitism seriously,” Mostyn stated. “Every student on every campus has the right to an education free from hate speech.”
The report, Mostyn noted, was based on incidents that were reported to his group through its hotline.
Another growing area of concern that Mostyn said Canadians should pay attention to was antisemitic content in “ordinary, community, Arabic-language media.” According to the report, an article published in Ontario newspaper al-Saraha “denied the scale of the Holocaust, while simultaneously arguing that the Nazi slaughter of Jews was justified, since the Jews had allegedly spread pornography and homosexuality in Germany.”
“Most people are good people,” Mostyn said. “But antisemitism is an age old problem, and unfortunately it is not getting better, it’s getting worse.”
B’nai Brith Canada has been producing its annual audit for 35 years.
Last month, the Anti-Defamation League produced a report that cited a sharp rise last year in antisemitism at non-denominational elementary and high schools in the US.