A few weeks after thugs vandalized several Jewish-owned summer cottages in the Laurentians, a human rights organization says anti-Semitic incidents were on the rise in Montreal last year.
There were 303 incidents reported in Montreal, a 9.4 per cent increase from the 277 cases documented in 2010, according to the League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith Canada, which released its annual audit of anti-Semitic incidents across Canada.
Vandalism against Montreal’s Jewish community jumped from 51 cases in 2010 to 75 in 2011. The incidents include attacks on synagogues and cars being vandalized with swastikas and anti-Semitic slurs.
Montreal has one of the largest Jewish populations in Canada and “an increase in immigration, in part, brings prejudice from other countries,” said Moise Moghrabi, the League’s Quebec chair.
“When there is a flare up in the Middle East, they hold the Jewish population responsible.”
Last month, about 15 of the 50 Jewish-owned homes in Val Morin were vandalized. At least two were defaced with anti-Jewish hate messages and swastikas.
There has also been extensive coverage in the Montreal media recently over the ongoing dispute between Hasidic Jews and some non-Jewish neighbours in Outremont.
Across Canada, 1,297 anti-Semitic incidents were reported to the League in 2011, representing a decrease of 0.7 per cent over 2010 when 1,306 were reported. Cases of harassment decreased by 5.1 per cent, violence dropped by 20.8 per cent, but incidents of vandalism jumped 14.2 per cent.
“There is still currently a sustained, ongoing undercurrent of anti-Jewish bias in Canada, despite important anti-racism initiatives,” the report states.
The report also says “a global propaganda movement that attempts to re-cast Jews as “oppressors,” and “colonialists in the Middle East” spills over into incidents of hate against Jews in Canada and around the world.
Canadians should adopt a zero-tolerance policy to anti-Semitism, in the community or online, said Steven Slimovitch, national legal counsel for B’nai Brith Canada.
One third of all hate crimes reported to Montreal police in 2011 were against Jews, Slimovitch noted.
He called on Montreal police to create a specific squad of officers trained to fight hate crimes.
“Montreal is the only major metropolitan city in Canada not to have a dedicated hatecrime unit,” Slimovitch said. “They would have expertise in how hate groups function and you could then have hate crime trained officers going into schools.”
Although B’nai Brith is alarmed by the volume of anti-Semitic cases, the report points out that “Canada today is one of the best places in the world for Jews.”
Article posted in Communities, Incitement to violence/genocide/Hate crime, Jewish community