A new study seeks to explore Canadians’ personal experiences with anti-Semitism and how being victimized has affected their lives.
Rather than count and classify anti-Semitic incidents, the study will attempt to gauge how victims of anti-Semitic hate crimes cope – with emphasis on events on university and college campuses in Ontario and Quebec.
The survey seeks to query at least 1,825 people in Montreal, Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa, London and Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo – places with large universities and colleges and high concentrations of Jews.
Conducted by researchers at the Centre on Hate, Bias and Extremism and the Social Research Centre at Ontario Tech University in Oshawa, the online survey asks 59 questions. It probes respondents’ age, residence and levels of income and education, but also asks whether they are visibly Jewish, whether they feel safe in their daily lives, whether they have personally experienced harassment or verbal or physical attacks because they are Jewish, and whether they have modified their lives if they have.
The survey also asks whether incidents were reported to authorities and what the outcome was.
The study emerged from “what we’re seeing globally but specifically in Canada in terms of the rise in anti-Semitism (and) the blatancy with which people are feeling more empowered to express anti-Semitic views and then others to act on them,” said the study’s lead investigator, Prof. Barbara Perry, director of the Centre on Hate, Bias and Extremism and one of Canada’s leading experts on right-wing radicalism.
Despite no shortage of studies on anti-Semitic incidents in Canada, including the yearly audit by B’nai Brith, Perry said she was “surprised” to learn that there has been so little research into the precise nature of hate crimes targeting Jews, especially at universities and colleges, and their aftermath.
According to a statement from the research team, the study seeks to:
- Document and describe the experiences of Jewish communities with hate crime, with respect to the extent, nature, context, and impacts of such victimization – including online and offline hate.
- Distinguish ways in which hate crime is experienced by different sectors of the Jewish community, according to such dimensions as location, university attendance, visibility and denomination.
- Identify the needs and expectations of Jewish communities in terms of services and preventative policies.
- Bring awareness to the public, practitioners and policy makers of the implications of hate crime for Jewish communities, thus shaping attitudes, dialogue, and evidence-based policy in support of Jewish communities.
“Considering the significant impact that hate crime has on the lives of individuals and communities, the lack of research examining anti-Semitic hate crime is unacceptable,” say the researchers. “This study aims to address this gap.”
Researchers in this case seek more esoteric data than customary, including information on the impact and likelihood of reporting personal or property crimes, “but also conversations around what do you see that needs doing and what do we do to engage, to intervene, to challenge anti-Semitism broadly and hate crimes specifically,” Perry said.
Respondents will be asked to which authority they reported a hate crime – but also why they did not report one.
The survey is available at: bit.ly/2L9mBYz