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April 17, 2023 1:58 pm

Antisemitic Incidents in Canada Remain High Despite Slight Dip, New Study Says


avatar by Dion J. Pierre

Antisemitic graffiti near York University. Photo: Screenshot.

Antisemitic incidents in Canada reached historic highs despite declining slightly in 2022, according to an annual audit issued by B’nai Brith Canada, a Jewish rights advocacy group, on Monday.

Nearly eight antisemitic incidents occurred every day in 2022, the group said, with 74 percent of those counted occurring online. Additionally, there were 404 incidents of vandalism, a 54 percent increase from 2021, and incidents in Ontario saw a 64 percent spike.

“We are alarmed and disturbed by the figures in this audit,” B’nai Brith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn said in a press release. “Although there was an almost insignificant decrease from last year, antisemitic incidents continue to occur at an unacceptable and dangerous pace. Frankly, the amount of hate directed at Jewish Canadians is shameful.”

Notable incidents in 2022 include an Ottawan politician’s demanding that his Jewish neighbors answer for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, antisemitic graffiti depicting a Jewish male in crosshairs at York University, a delivery driver making violent threats to Jewish students at a Yeshiva in Toronto, and middle school students pantomiming a Nazi salute in class. In others cited by  protestors in Toronto called for Israel’s destruction, and several hockey players harassed their Jewish teammate, asking him “shouldn’t you have a star on your arm?” and shouting “the shower smells like Auschwitz” in the locker room.

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Antisemitism on the internet could be found on every major social media platform. In a Facebook post originating in Montreal, the Jewish community was accused of “wanting to exterminate and control the world.” Another, by an Instagram user in Toronto, said “Jews Own Wikipedia and 46 Bioweapon labs in Ukraine, so they are busy with Monkey Pox. Zionists go no time to edit Wikipedia [sic].”

Overall, 2022 saw the second highest total of antisemitic incidents since B’nai Brith began tracking them in 1982.

“The nature of antisemitism has changed,” Marvin Rotrand, director of the League for Human Rights, a B’nai Brith partner that compiles a list of antisemitic incidents for the annual audit. “Social media is the largest medium for antisemitic narratives, giving purveyors of hate a global audience and limitless reach. Canada’s laws have failed to keep pace with the explosion of antisemitism online. We need changes in the law to blunt this threat.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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