Dramatic increase in anti-Semitism in Toronto

Despite making up 3.8 percent of Toronto's population, 28 percent of the hate incidents in the city in 2017 were directed against Jews.

Dalit Halevi,

Police in Toronto
Police in Toronto
iStock

The number of reported hate crimes in Toronto, Canada, jumped by 28 percent in 2017 compared to 2016, to the latest report from the Toronto Police Hate Crimes Unit.

In all, 186 "hate-motivated occurrences" were recorded, with mischief-to-property offences like vandalism and graffiti accounting for much of the spike.

The rate of hate crimes against Jews increased by 23 percent, from 43 to 53. The Jewish community accounts for only 3.8 percent of Toronto's population, but it was the target of 28 percent of hate crimes.

18 percent of hate incidents were directed against Muslims, the report found. In 2015, Muslims were victimized 26 times, a number which dropped to 22 in 2016 but rose to 33 occurrences in 2017.

Noah Shack, vice-president of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), said the latest stats are "appalling," but need to be placed in an international context.

"Toronto remains one of the greatest cities in the world in which to be Jewish or any other minority," he wrote in a statement quoted by the CBC, pointing out that Jews in other parts of the world are significantly more likely to be targeted with a hate crime.

In November, Statistics Canada released a report which found that Jews were the most targeted minority group for hate crimes in Canada in 2016.

In later March, the glass doors of a Chabad synagogue in in Thornhill, Ontario, north of Toronto, were smashed with a rock.

In November, anti-Semitic graffiti was spray painted on a sidewalk near a Jewish private school in the same area.

Also in 2017, two swastikas were found drawn in chalk in a York University classroom. Police in York Region later said they would increase patrols and presence at synagogues, Jewish community centers and other Jewish institutions across the region.








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