Hamilton, Ontario skyline
Hamilton, Ontario skyline iStock

B’nai Brith Canada on Tuesday commented the province of Ontario’s judicial system for holding two young men accountable for vandalizing a synagogue in the city of Hamilton, located about 40 miles (64 km) southwest of Toronto.

The vandalism took place in October of 2019. The graffiti was written in bright pink chalk on the pavement at the entrance to the synagogue. It said the word “Jews”, crossed out within a circle, and also included a swastika.

The vandals also wrote graffiti characterizing people of African descent as more prone to criminal behavior.

The two men, Liam Greaves and Blake Trautman, were convicted in Hamilton Tuesday to conditional sentences followed by probation, according to a statement by B’nai Brith Canada.

B’nai Brith intervened in the case, providing a Community Impact Statement (CIS) that outlined the damage that antisemitic vandalism does to Jewish Canadians seeking to practice their faith and congregate in peace.

“We are encouraged that the two men came forward and apologized for this hateful act,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “This case would not have been solved had the two not stepped forward. Nonetheless, they caused grave alarm with their hateful sentiments. There is never any excuse for such vile acts.”

The vandalism is not an isolated incident, as Canada has seen a rise in anti-Semitic incidents in recent years.

In late March, Statistics Canada released its annual survey of police-reported hate crimes which found that Jews have remained by far the most targeted religious group for hate crimes in Canada.

The Statistics Canada report found that there were 1,946 police-reported hate crimes in Canada in 2019, up 7 percent from a year earlier.

In April, B’nai Brith Canada released its Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents, which found that anti-Semitic incidents in Canada have increased 18 percent since 2019.