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B’nai Brith audit finds increased antisemitism

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The number of antisemitic incidents in Canada rose by 3.7 per cent in 2012, continuing a long-term trend beginning in 2003 and running with only small decreases ever since.

The finding was reported in the 2012 Audit of Antisemitic Incidents, released last week by the League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith Canada. According to the report, 1,345 instances of harassment, vandalism and violence were recorded by the league.

In 2003, only 584 incidents were recorded. “Since 2008, incidents have increased by 19 per cent,” the audit reported.

Despite the overall surge in reported incidents, Canada remains relatively safe for Jews: only 13 of the 1,345 incidents were classified as violent in nature.

That contrasts with broader international developments in which Jews have experienced violent – even lethal – attacks. The 2012 audit is dedicated to the victims of the Toulouse school massacre in France last year. In that incident, an Islamic radical murdered a rabbi, his three- and six-year-old children and another eight-year-old.

“Over the last decade alone, Jewish Diaspora communities have been targeted by entities and individuals aligned with international terrorism in such places a Mumbai, Istanbul, Casablanca, Mombassa and Djerba, underling a vulnerability that has forced synagogues and schools around the world, including Canada, to add special security arrangements to their list of communal obligations,” the audit stated.

“It does not inspire confidence in the Canadian Jewish community to know that Tahawwur Hussain Rana – recently sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment by a U.S. court for providing material support to the terrorists who launched the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks – was a Canadian citizen from Montreal,” the audit added.

The audit reported “an unprecedented increase in incidents by perpetrators self-identifying as Muslims supportive of Islamist anti-Jewish sentiments – up from 16 in 2011 to 87 in 2012. No other ethnic or religious group came anywhere near this number in the lineup of perpetrators identified by religious or ethnic group.”

Referring to these developments, B’nai Brith Canada CEO Frank Dimant said, “We are particularly concerned about this year’s findings of increased participation in these incidents by perpetrators self-identifying as Muslims who are apparently supportive of Islamist ideologies of hate and violence. But we are encouraged by the many Muslims with whom we work closely, who are prepared to expose antisemitism in their community.”

“The audit shows an overall decrease in vandalism and violence, but an increase of 10.6 per cent in incidents of harassment. Jews were targeted in their homes and at their workplaces, on their way to synagogue or returning from school. The language has moved from ‘F…k the Jews’ to Kill the Jews,’ with Holocaust denial cases soaring by 77 per cent and threats becoming more ugly, explicit and open.

“The league is also warning that youth culture is being infiltrated by the lyrics of hate, extremism from abroad through online propaganda, and cyber-bullying directed to a victim’s smartphone,” he stated.

One piece of good news in the report: incidents of antisemitism on university campuses dropped by 30 per cent in 2012 from the year before, from 113 cases to 79. Only one of the incidents was categorized as violent.

B’nai Brith called for an action plan to address growing antisemitism, suggesting reform of the Criminal Code’s anti-hate sections to compensate for the expected repeal of a section of the Canadian Human Rights Act that addresses Internet hate.

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