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Two B’nai Brith Canada officials testifying as part of a parliamentary committee’s study of ideologically motivated violent extremism in Canada urged lawmakers to combat rising antisemitism.

B’nai Brith, appearing at the Ottawa panel, called on the Government to stress “hate” as much as “racism” in the drafting of its 2023-2026 ati-racism strategy, and to fulfill its election promise to hold social media platforms accountable for the content they host.

“Jews were the target of a shocking 62 percent of police-reported hate incidents aimed at religious minorities in 2021, although they comprise only 1.25 percent of Canada’s population, according to Statistics Canada,” Marvin Rotrand, national director of the League for Human Rights, said.“The numbers registered are at their highest level since B’nai Brith first began collecting statistics in 1982, and include a major spike in violent incidents. So, we’re very encouraged to see this Committee tackle this worrying trend, and anticipate meaningful action from the Government.”

The discussion focused on the rise in online hate in 2021, as people were largely confined indoors because of the pandemic. Panellists told the MPs that online content creators are profiting from hate and misinformation. The panelists agreed that social media companies are doing little to enforce their own platform rules and hate circulates freely online.

“Hate crosses a broad spectrum of motivations, both online and offline, and that broad spectrum deserves urgent action, particularly in light of the spike in hate materials and incidents,” B’nai Brith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn said. “We hope the Government will take immediate action in combating the scourge of hate speech on social media platforms, among others.”

Mostyn and Rotrand called on the committee to improve Holocaust education standards; ensure that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps is designated as a terrorist entity by the government; and make the IHRA definition of antisemitism apply to the government’s funding of foreign and domestic NGOs.

Improve high school curricula across the provinces, to ensure students are better educated on the Holocaust.

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