TORONTO — There’s no need to man the ramparts, a new wave of antisemitism in not about to descend on Canadian society. Nevertheless, reports from Germany naming 74 individuals linked to neo-Nazi and white supremacist websites should alert Canadians to the fact that the “classical” antisemitic attitudes have not been vanquished.
That’s the perspective of Shimon Fogel, CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), who believes those named by a group of hackers in Germany are “the marginal of the marginal.” Yes, they can do damage, and their agenda runs contrary to Canadian values of tolerance and respect, but there is no large scale social movement afoot that threatens those values, he said.
Last week, CIJA issued a statement saying that “we were disturbed” about the reported extremists. “Such toxic hatred disgusts the overwhelming majority of Canadians… Today’s report should serve as a wake up call for all of us to remain vigilant in standing against hate, regardless of the community that is targeted.”
CIJA was responding to a CBC story on the release of names of people associated with neo-Nazi and other racist groups. The names were made public by a loose coalition of Internet hackers called Anonymous.
They revealed the names, e-mail addresses and passwords of 74 Canadians who were linked to Volksfront and Blood and Honour, two extremist organizations.
Two of the named individuals, Alistair Miller and Robertson De Chazal, were charged in Vancouver in connection with an attack on a sleeping Filipino man, who was sprayed with a flammable liquid and set on fire.
Another alleged Blood and Honour member, Shawn MacDonald, has been charged in connection with separate attacks on a Hispanic man, a native woman and a black man in Vancouver.
Fogel said the “episodic events… remind us that we cannot close these files. We need monitoring systems and lines of communication with the authorities so they’re halted and don’t leech into the general community.”
But, Fogel continued, it’s a far cry from times in history when it was feared hate groups could insinuate themselves into legitimate organizations and influence society.
“I don’t think we’re facing that level of extreme antisemitism that is trying to shape the general and societal policies or ideas,” he said.