Record number of anti-Semitic incidents in Canada in 2016

2016 was a record-setting year for anti-Semitism in Canada, with  a 26 percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents over the previous year, and a six percent increase over the previous record set in 2014.

2016 was a record-setting year for anti-Semitism in Canada, B’nai Brith Canada’s Annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents found.

According to the audit, which tracks and analyzes trends in hatred directed toward members of Canada’s Jewish community, 2016 saw a 26 percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents over the previous year, and a six percent increase over the previous high in 2014.

B’nai Brith Canada recorded 1,728 incidents in 2016, compared to 1,277 incidents in 2015. The previous record was set in 2014 with 1,627 incidents.

Quebec was the only province where incidents decreased to 249 in 2016 from 265 in 2015.

The report, released on Tuesday, stressed that contrary to news reports directly linking a rise in Canadian anti-Semitism to the election of President Donald Trump, the 2016 audit found the months surrounding and immediately following the US election, which are traditionally the months with the highest activity, showed a decrease in anti-Semitic acts in Canada, relative to previous years.

In fact, over the past decade, with only two exceptions, the audit recorded higher reported figures of anti-Semitic incidents than the previous year, indicating anti-Semitism in Canada has been on a consistent rise for at least 10 years.

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The year 2016 also saw a dramatic rise in incidents involving Holocaust denial, the report highlighted. In 2015, Holocaust denial made up just five percent of the total number of anti-Semitic incidents in Canada. In 2016, that number soared to 20 percent.

B’nai Brith attributes this increase to a number of factors, including those who deny the Holocaust under the pretext of ‘free speech’ and the campaign that promotes Holocaust denial, and other forms of anti-Semitism under the guise of anti-Zionism.

The audit also underscored the emergence of a new and frightening trend in Canadian anti-Semitism: incitement against Jews in mass media, especially in Arabic-language publications.

More than 382,000 anti-Semitic posts were published on social media platforms in 2016, or one post every 83 seconds, a report by the World Jewish Congress from March showed.

Time to Fight Back

“While B’nai Brith was successful in exposing and removing many of the most egregious examples, the lack of response from law enforcement and government paints a worrying picture of this phenomenon going forward,” the audit says.

“The findings of this year’s audit – that antisemitism has reached a record high in Canada – demonstrate the need for real, immediate and strong action,” said B’nai Brith Canada Chief Executive Officer Michael Mostyn. “It is time to stop hoping that this problem will go away, or take care of itself. It is time to deal real consequences to the purveyors of antisemitism, and to fight back.”

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The Toronto Police Service 2016 Annual Hate/Bias Crime Statistical Report published in March showed that Jews were the most targeted group in Canada in 2016, for the 12th consecutive year.

Of a total of 145 hate crime incidents reported to police, Jews were victimized 43 times, according to Toronto police.

By: Aryeh Savir, world israel News