On Thursday, February 23, 2017 the words “Gas the Jews” and a Nazi swastika were spray-painted on the ground in Hamilton’s Escarpment Rail Trail.
This incident is just the latest in a string of anti-Jewish hate crimes and vandalism that occurred in Canada in the last few years.
On Tuesday, posters questioning the number of Jewish Holocaust victims were found taped to windows and doors at the University of Calgary. The posters read, in part, “did ‘6 million’ really die?”
During a sermon at a London, Ontario mosque in 2011 an imam chastised his congregation for hiring Jewish lawyers. “Islamic institutions organizations are suing one another. All appointing lawyers. Who are these lawyers? Jews. And who is the judge? A Jew as well. Who is paying for these lawyers? You and I”, complained Riad Ouarzazi.
During al-Quds Day rally in 2013 in Toronto, Elias Hazineh, former President of the Palestine House in Canada, called for the killing of the Israeli Jews if they do not leave Palestine immediately.
An imam at Al Andalous Islamic Center in Montreal was exposed praying in 2014 to Allah to “destroy the accursed Jews” and to “make their children orphans and their women widows”.
A hate crimes complaint has been filed with Toronto police by the Jewish Defence League of Canada against a downtown mosque affiliated with the Muslim Association of Canada, whose imam prayed in 2016 for killing Jews/ disbelievers/ enemies of Islam. The imam subsequently tweeted an apology explaining that his supplications were “misspoken” and referred to the Palestinian – Israeli conflict, implicitly meaning that his statement “slay them one by one and spare not one of them” was meant not for all Jews, but “only” for Israeli Jews who “occupy Palestine”.
A McGill University student leader and advocate for the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement came under fire for inciting violence when he tweeted “punch a Zionist today”. On February 23, 2017 Igor Sadikov finally handed in his resignation from the student board after pressure from the McGill administration which allegedly threatened to withhold student fees collected on behalf of the student union if the Student Society of McGill did not publicly call for his resignation.
In the Winnipeg neighbourhood of St. Vital, a large swastika was drawn into the snow with the words “F–k Jews.”
Sault Ste. Marie Police Services have recently launched an investigation after a swastika and sexist slur in the snow was found on the front lawn of B’nai Brith Canada columnist Sara McCleary.
The Winnipeg Police Department and its Hate Crimes Coordinator opened an investigation into an anti-Semitic incident that occurred in a residential neighbourhood near downtown Winnipeg on New Year’s Eve. When the homeowners arrived at their residence at around 10 p.m., they found a red gift bag that was placed near the front steps containing a large rock wrapped in a ribbon. Painted on the rock in red, uppercase letters, was a swastika and the words: “DIE JEW BITCH. EINSATZGRUPPEN” (Nazi death squad). On the red ribbon were the words, “Jude Bitch get out of neighberhood (sic).”
In November, 2016, a motion to hold Holocaust Education Week at Ryerson University was deliberately sabotaged by Obaid Ullah, Ryerson Student Union president, who orchestrated a mass walkout, causing a loss of quorum before the motion was put to a vote.
At Western University in London, Ontario, anti-Semitic flyers targeting the Jewish community were circulated on campus. The flyers, printed by the Canadian National Independence Party (C.N.I.P.), accused Jews for the murder of 6 Muslim worshippers at a mosque in Quebec in late January, blamed “Jewish Zionist terrorists in Israel” for assassination of Muslims in Palestine and demanded that that all Zionists in Canada be tried as terrorists and imprisoned.
B’nai Brith Canada, a Jewish human rights advocacy organization, submitted a complaint against Ayman Elkaswary, an imam at Masjid Toronto and teaching assistant at the university, who in 2016 recited a supplication at the mosque asking Allah to give Muslims victory over the infidels, annihilate the enemies of Islam and “purify Al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews”.
February 20, 2017, Jewish residents at an apartment building in North York discovered that their doors were vandalized with Nazi symbols and their Mezuzahs (ritual scrolls affixed to doorposts) were damaged or removed. In Montreal more than 300 swastikas were spray-painted on buildings and public property during the last year.
According to Statistics Canada, Canadian Jews who comprise 1% of the population were the most targeted minority group in Canada, 8 times more likely to be the victims of a hate crime than Canadian Muslims, who make up 3% of the population. In 2013, Canadian Muslims were victims of 6.2 hate crime incidents per 100,000 people while Canadian Jews experienced 54.9 incidents per 100,000 people.
According to B’nai Brith, which tracks anti-Semitic incidents in the country, the Jewish community is disproportionately targeted and anti-Semitism is a growing problem in Canada.
In a 2015 Annual Hate/Bias Crime Statistical Report, Toronto Police again listed the Jewish community, which is on the receiving end of nearly one in every three reported hate crimes incidents, as the most targeted group for hate crimes, followed by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community. “The Jewish community was the most victimized group for mischief to property occurrences, while the LGBTQ community was the most victimized group for assault occurrences” the report said.