Vandalism at Indigo book store in Toronto
Vandalism at Indigo book store in TorontoFriends of Simon Wiesenthal Center

Newly published information from the Toronto Police Service shows that incidents targeting the city’s Jewish community have nearly doubled so far this year, compared to the same period in 2022, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) said on Tuesday.

Between January 1 and December 17, there were 338 hate-motivated incidents reported, of which 147 were against the Jewish community.

This is up from 81 antisemitic incidents reported during the same period last year and represents an increase of more than 81 per cent and more than 43 per cent of all reported hate crimes, FSWC said.

Between October 7 and December 17, there were 98 hate crimes reported, of which 56 were antisemitic.

“The trajectory of antisemitism in Toronto is extremely alarming and should concern everyone in this city,” said Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) President and CEO Michael Levitt.

“Since Oct. 7, the Jewish community has seen an unprecedented spike in hate incidents, which are completely unjustifiable and have no place in Toronto or anywhere else in Canada. This comes at a time when Jews across the country have witnessed a series of vile antisemitic attacks, including against synagogues, community centers, schools and Jewish-owned businesses,” he added.

“Our law enforcement and government officials must apply all possible measures to ensure the safety and security of the community, especially during this time of increased threats. We urge everyone to be vigilant and stand up against hate whenever and wherever it appears,” concluded Levitt.

In November, Toronto Police Chief Myron Demkiw revealed a 192 percent increase in the number of reported antisemitic incidents between October 7 and November 20, compared to the same period last year.

Recent incidents in Toronto include threats to the Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto, a Jewish high school in the district of North York.

The school was targeted again several weeks later when it was briefly evacuated following a bomb threat.

Other incidents include graffiti depicting the Star of David smeared with red paint to symbolize blood and words such as “Free Palestine” and “Soaked in Blood” above the symbol.

In another incident, an anti-Israel rally targeted Café Landwer, a Jewish-owned restaurant chain, in downtown Toronto, with protesters yelling “boycott” and accusing it of being a “Zionist café.”

In early November, an Indigo book store in downtown Toronto was vandalized with red paint and posters plastered on its front windows wrongfully accusing its Jewish founder and CEO, Heather Reisman, of “Funding Genocide.”