Anti-Semitism read more

Hate on the rise

But Trump is not to blame, says B’nai Brith

There was a huge spike in anti-Semitism in Canada in 2016

A Jewish human rights group is warning that anti-Semitism is on the rise across Canada, reporting that 2016 saw a record-breaking number of such incidents. However, there’s little evidence to prove that it’s linked to the outcome of the U.S. Presidential election in November.

According to a new report from B’nai Brith Canada based on calls to the group’s phoneline and police data, there were 1,728 recorded anti-Semitic acts last year, up from 1,277 in 2015. It’s the highest number the group has seen since it began monitoring anti-Semitism in Canada in 1982. Around 20 percent of those instances in 2016 involved Holocaust denial, which was seen in only five percent of anti-Semitic acts it compiled the year prior.

In Canada, reports of anti-Semitism decreased in the months around the election.

Incidents in Canada included a man with a knife throwing objects at congregants as they left a Toronto synagogue and numerous acts of vandalism involving swastikas. The group also describes an increase in anti-semitism on university campuses, including through certain guest lecturers and student groups.

But it also states that any rise in anti-Semitism in Canada cannot be directly linked to the election of President Donald Trump, whose campaign and administration has been blamed for emboldening the far-right and perpetuating hateful rhetoric towards Jews, Muslims, and other minorities. In the months following Trump’s inauguration, the U.S. saw a spike in bomb threats against Jewish community centers across the country, as well as countless acts of graffiti and desecration of graves at Jewish cemeteries.

Yet in Canada, reports of anti-Semitism decreased in the months around the election.

“It allows us to believe that once Trump is out of office, so too will anti-Semitism be a problem of the past.”

“Anti-semitism has actually been on the rise for over a decades,” the report explains. “No one, despite many scholarly efforts, has been able to offer a satisfactory explanation as to why…It’s a lot more reassuring to suggest that the influence of one individual can be responsible for swaying the hearts and minds of otherwise moral and decent people.”

“It allows us to believe that once Trump is out of office, so too will anti-Semitism be a problem of the past.”

Trump vowed last month to confront anti-Semitism. “We will stamp out prejudice, we will condemn hatred, we will bear witness and we will act,” he said at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Days of Remembrance.

Both the U.S. and Canada have also seen a spike in acts of Islamophobia and other types of racism. The National Council of Canadian Muslims is tracking these incidents — which includes the mass shooting of congregants at a mosque in Quebec City in January.

A report released this week by the Council on American Islamic Relations has found a dramatic surge in anti-Muslim acts and hate crimes in 2016.

Cover: Ashira Prizant/Facebook

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