Canadian Jews Concerned over Rising Anti-Semitism

B'nai Brith Canada reported 1,264 anti-Semitic incidents in 2009, and a more than five-fold increase in incidents over the past decade.

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Gil Ronen, | updated: 21:29

Israel news photo: file

B'nai Brith Canada's annual audit on anti-Semitic incidents reported 1,264 such incidents in 2009, representing an 11.4% increase over 2008, and a more than five-fold increase in incidents over the past decade.

There were 884 cases of harassment, 348 of vandalism. Incidents of violence doubled from last year, to 32.

In addition, a survey of the Jewish community commissioned by B'nai Brith shows Canadian Jews deeply concerned about the rising influence of radical Islamism – an  ideology that paints Jews as the enemy – and security threats to Jewish schools and houses of worship. Anti-Israel campaigns on campus, such as the annual “Israel Apartheid Week” event, are also a source of anxiety according to this poll.

Jews as 'vermin,' ‘sewer rats,’ ‘dogs’
“We note that the highest number of incidents for the year – 209 – occurred in January 2009, coinciding with the war in Gaza”, noted Frank Dimant, Executive Vice President of B’nai Brith Canada. “This is the pattern elsewhere in the world as well. However, while in France and the UK, the rate of anti-Jewish activity slowed down somewhat in February and March, in Canada the number of antisemitic incidents remained high. We feel that this was due in major part to strident anti-Israel campaigning on Canadian campuses, which artificially maintained an atmosphere of hostility and aggression that often led to antisemitic outbursts.

“We are also concerned about the spike in incidents in September during the High Holiday period, when across the country ten synagogues were vandalized, including four in Quebec in one night, just before the holiest day in the Jewish calendar – Yom Kippur.  Such activity against the Jewish community’s religious institutions cannot simply be dismissed as an aberration.”

Rise in anti-Semitic incidents, 2000-2009 (from B'nai Brith Audit)

“We question why many incidents pass without wider condemnation, for example, the blood libel by an Islamic community newspaper which was also circulated in Canadian mosques, accusing Jews as well as Israelis of mass organ trafficking. Or the language used to verbally attack Jews as ‘vermin’ or ‘sewer rats’ or ‘dogs’. Or the most vicious calumnies against Jews, such as the claim that they created the swine flu as a way to control the world, disseminated via new social networking technologies.”

“We challenge anyone to minimize the societal effects of such vile slander.”