Audit shows Anti-Semitism up in Canada

The League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith Canada released this week its 2008 “Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents”, an annual study on patterns of prejudice in Canada.

According to the report, 1,135 incidents were reported in 2008, representing an 8.9% increase over 2007 and a more than four-fold increase in incidents over the past decade.

“The findings of the Audit, which show anti-Semitism in this country at an all-time high, offer a paradoxical view of the state of anti-Jewish prejudice in Canada,” said Frank Dimant, B’nai Brith Canada’s Executive Vice President. “On one hand we have a government that has made it a priority to root out hatred, and an official Liberal Opposition that also recognizes the widespread anti-Jewish prejudice against our community.

“It is difficult to reconcile the strong political will to fight anti-Semitism with the deteriorating situation on the ground where, more than ever before, Jews are being harassed and their community institutions vandalized. In some cases, Jews have even been physically assaulted.

“The picture that emerges in 2008 is one of the Jew again being used as a scapegoat, this time by disgruntled citizens impacted by an ailing economy.

It is no accident that 547 incidents, close to half the total in Canada overall, took place in the last four months of 2008, Dimant continues. “We attribute this to the fallout from the developing economic recession and such high-profile fiascos as the Bernard Madoff scandal.

“We note, as well, that December was the month with the highest total of the year. Of the 151 incidents that occurred during that period, typically a very quiet time due to the holiday season, 70 related to the emerging war in Gaza. Of these, 36 occurred in the last few days alone, as tensions heightened.

“The overall findings for 2008 demonstrate that anti-Semitism has weaved its way into all facets of Canadian society, tainting the workplace and educational facilities, and targeting places of worship and private homes.

“Failing to act now and hiding, instead, under the cloak of multiculturalism, will set Canada on a path along which so many other countries are currently being propelled, one that sees hatreds such as anti-Semitism turn ever more vicious and violent.”

The full text of the Audit can be accessed at http://www.bnaibrith.ca.

B’nai Brith has been active in Canada since 1875 as the Jewish community’s foremost human rights organization.

Incidents of anti-Semitism can be reported by calling B’nai Brith’s Anti-Hate Hotline at 1-800-892-BNAI (2624), or reporting online at www.bnaibrith.ca

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