Winnipeg police are investigating cryptic anti-Semitic and white supremacist graffiti that were discovered last week at a number of locations throughout the city.
Messages scrawled on roads, sidewalks and on private property on Wellington Crescent – in one of Winnipeg’s wealthiest neighbourhoods – included “Lost white civilizations” and “Soros White extinction?”
Much of the graffiti seemed to be referencing George Soros, a controversial Liberal Hungarian-born Jewish billionaire, who has been a target of neo-Nazis, and who supports many left-wing groups.
Graffiti saying, “Soros wants you dead,” was also found on a bench along Wellington Crescent. A signboard outside a church located across the street from Shaarey Zedek Synagogue, Winnipeg’s largest shul, was also targeted, although the synagogue itself was not.
There was also graffiti on the other side of the Assiniboine River from the crescent – an area that has never been considered a Jewish neighbourhood.
“Recent events in the United States may have emboldened Canada’s relatively weaker far-right formations to spread their hateful messages in a more public manner,” said Aidan Fishman, interim national director of B’nai Brith’s League for Human Rights.
“Even in a city like Winnipeg, which is currently holding a major multicultural festival, complacency in the face of hatred is not an option.”
He explained that on New Year’s Eve, there was an incident in which a couple who live in the Wolseley area – which is not a traditionally Jewish neighbourhood – found a rock covered in anti-Semitic writings on their porch.
At the time, “Winnipeggers rallied together to support the Jewish community. That’s the sort of reaction that we would like to see once again,” Fishman said.
Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman issued a statement regarding the anti-Semitic graffiti, calling it “disturbing.”
“These intolerant acts of hate are reprehensible and offensive to our community and will not deter our ongoing efforts towards strengthening inclusiveness in our city,” Bowman said.
“I am personally sickened to see this in our city and call on Winnipeggers of all backgrounds to join me in denouncing acts of hate, like this,” he said, adding that he offers his support to the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg.
With files from Sheri Shefa.