Data released by Statistics Canada on Monday finds that Canadian Jews were the most targeted group for hate crimes in 2018, a trend continuing from the previous two years.
In total, police across Canada reported 347 hate crimes targeting Jews in 2018, down marginally from the 2017 figure of 360. However, anti-Jewish hate crimes amounted to 19% of the national total, even though Jews account for only about 1% of the Canadian population.
In 2017, anti-Jewish hate crimes had constituted 17% of the national total.
According to StatsCan, hate crimes in Canada overall declined by 13% in 2018, although they remained at their second-highest level since 2009. After Jews, the most targeted group in 2018 were Blacks with 283 reported hate crimes, followed by hate crimes targeting Muslims and people based on their sexual orientation with 173 each.
Responding to the findings, B’nai Brith Canada urged Canadian government bodies to implement measures in the organization’s Eight-Point Plan to Tackle anti-Semitism.
“Today’s figures released by StatsCan demonstrate that antisemitic hate crimes remain an urgent concern, with one occurring almost every day of the year on average,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada.
“That is why we urge federal, provincial and municipal governments across the country to take serious steps to combat anti-Semitism, such as adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Anti-Semitism for greater clarity,” he added.
This latest StatsCan report is also consistent with B’nai Brith’s 2018 Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents. The Audit found an overall increase in the number of incidents in 2018, but a slight decrease in cases of vandalism and violence, which are more likely to be recorded by police as hate crimes than cases of harassment.
Responding to the findings, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies CEO Avi Benlolo said, “It's 2019 and it's outrageous that the Canadian Jewish community is still being targeted by hate crimes after more than 250 years of integration into this beautiful country.”
“Sadly, much of the anti-Semitism we are seeing today is coming from a rising tide of white supremacism, the radical left and also from some elements in the Muslim community at events like Al Quds Day and university campaigns like Israeli Apartheid Week and the promotion of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against the Jewish state,” he added.
FSWC deplores hatred against any group and focuses its energy on countering hate through its award-winning programs like Tour for Humanity; tolerance training workshops; Compassion to Action, an educational mission to Poland and Israel; and student programs like Freedom Day and Speakers Idol.
“Our effort and investment is focused on bringing Canadians together who share the same values of freedom, democracy and human rights,” said Benlolo.