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Anti-Semitic incidents in Canada have increased 18 percent since 2019, according to B’nai Brith Canada’s League for Human Rights Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents 2020, which was released on Monday.

The study affirms that Canadian Jews remain the most targeted religious group in the country.

"As Canadians spent much of 2020 under pandemic restrictions and lockdown, anti-Semitism did not take the year off,” said B’nai Brith CEO Michael Mostyn.

The 18 percent increase translates into a total of 217 incidents per month, 50 per week, and 7 per day.

“Unfortunately, the most recent 2019 police-reported hate-crime data inform us of the same trend—that Jews remain the most targeted religious community for hatred in Canada,” said Ran Ukashi, Special Advisor to the League for Human Rights.

One out of every 10 incidents could be linked to the pandemic, either through anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, vandalism or pandemic-associated violence, such as Jewish being spat on or assaulted.

“In the context of COVID-19, what is arguably among the most worrying findings is the way in which fellow citizens turned against their neighbour,” he said.

Canada’s postsecondary institutions were also found to be increasingly the incubators of “virulent anti-Semitic expression” which included the “equation of Jews with white supremacists.” Also of grave concern was the invitation of terrorist sympathizers to speak on college campuses, along with giving platforms to others who seek to delegitimize Israel and blame it for acts of violence targeting African Americans or who call for boycotts of Jewish groups and students.

The study noted positively that 2020 was also a year in which many municipalities and provincial governments adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism. Also, it was the year that the federal government appointed the country’s first Special Envoy on Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combatting Antisemitism which demonstrates a “growing acceptance of the phenomenon of anti-Semitism and the need to tackle it head on.”

“Of the 2,610 incidents of anti-Semitism documented in 2020, each represents an individual affront to the fraternity, humanity, and decency expected of all Canadians,” said Ukashi.

He said that Canadians “know hatred when they see it and they support actions that make Canada a welcoming country for all of its citizens.”

“While the efforts of those who promulgate anti-Semitism are growing and translating into real-world
consequences for all Canadians, so too are the efforts of those committed to its eradication, and the eradication of all hate, bias, and prejudice from society,” he said.