A new poll published by Abacus Data on December 29, 2016, found that 79% of Canadians believe that Muslims are the most discriminated against group in Canada (with 46% saying there “a lot” and 33% saying there is “some” discrimination towards Muslims), while only 10% believe there is “a lot” of discrimination against Jews, and 35% believe there is “some” discrimination against Jews.
Almost one in two Canadians polled said discrimination against Muslims is greater than against any other group.
According to the 2015 Annual Hate/Bias Crime Statistical Report published by the Toronto Police, the three most targeted groups since 2006 have been the Jewish community, the Black community and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community.
In 2015, Jews were the most victimized group for property damage, while the LGBTQ community was the most victimized group for assault occurrences. There were 6 incidents of criminal harassment against Muslims.
According to the B’nai Brith Canada’s annual audit of anti-Semitic incidents, 2015 saw an increase of targeted attacks against Jews, particularly on social media, with 1,277 anti-Semitic incidents meeting a criteria for inclusion in the audit. Anti-Semitic vandalism, including the targeting of Jewish children, rose by 30% that year.
“B’nai Brith has received reports of between 1,000 and 1,200 verified antisemitic incidents in Canada every year for the past 10 years,” said Steven Slimovitch, national legal counsel for B’nai Brith Canada. “This is not a problem that’s going away.”
In 2016, anti-Semitic incidents in Canada included several high profile instances of Holocaust denial and hundreds of anti-Semitic graffiti, including 300 swastikas in the Montreal area alone. Swastikas were also spray painted in multiple locations at the University of Toronto and on two synagogues in Ottawa.
Toronto’s Ryerson University was included in Simon Wiesenthal’s annual list of “Top Ten Worst Global Anti-Semitic/Anti-Israel Incidents” for staging a planned walkout by activists from Students for Justice in Palestine and Muslim Student Association during a motion to dedicate a week to Holocaust Remembrance.
McGill, McMaster, U of T and York were included in the Algemeiner’s 1st “Annual List of the US and Canada’s Worst Campuses for Jewish Students” for embracing the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement and for promoting isolation and delegitimization of Israel on campus.
In July, a hate speech complaint was filed with the Alberta and Canadian Human Rights Commission against Monika Schaefer, a former Green Party candidate and Holocaust denier who, in a YouTube video, described the Holocaust as “the most persistent lie in all of history,” claimed that victims of the Nazi death camps “were kept as healthy and as well-fed as was possible,” and asserted that “there were no gas chambers there”.
In September, York University fired Nikolaos Balaskas – a long-time laboratory technologist at the Department of Physics and Astronomy – following an investigation into numerous anti-Semitic posts on social media.
In October, the University of Lethbridge in Alberta suspended without pay professor Anthony Hall, a Holocaust denier and conspiracy theorist, for promoting the idea of a global Zionist conspiracy to create hatred against Muslims.
In November alone, a blood-red swastika accompanied by the derogatory slur “kike” was painted on the window of a rabbi’s home in Ottawa. Three days earlier, swastika graffiti was found on the kosher deli Hof Kelsten located at Boulevard Saint-Laurent in Montreal, one block from the memorial at Leonard Cohen’s house. Swastikas and the Nazi slogan “Sieg Heil” were spray painted on the side of Machzikei Hadas synagogue in the Alta Vista neighborhood in south Ottawa.
“It’s the Jews” graffiti was scrawled on the wall of David Hornell Junior School in Etobicoke, Ontario.
Following a spate of anti-Semitic incidents in November, Prime Minister Trudeau tweeted: “To the Canadian Jewish community: I stand with you. Our government denounces recent acts of anti-Semitism in the strongest terms.”