For the second time this week, the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver (JCC) had to evacuate after receiving an email bomb threat on Sunday morning. The centre reopened after the building was cleared by the Vancouver Police who are investigating both threats.
Eldad Goldfarb Michelle Pollock, Executive Director and President of Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver, posted on Facebook the following (March 12, 2017):
Dear JCC Members and Friends,
At approximately 9:00 a.m. this morning, Sunday March 12 th , the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver (JCC) received another email bomb threat – the second in less than a week. The JCC followed its security protocols and evacuated the building.
The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) was on site and cleared the building, which has now been reopened. Other community institutions have been alerted.
Both bomb threats remain under investigation by the VPD, who had already increased their patrols of Jewish community institutions last week. We would like to thank the VPD again for their immediate response, their concern for public safety, and their ongoing support.
Anytime a threat is received we take it very seriously, and we encourage you to stay vigilant. If you see something suspicious, say something.
We are continuing to work closely together to keep the JCC and other Jewish community institutions safe, so everyone feels comfortable participating in Jewish communal life. In Jewish Federation’s Shabbat message, there was a link to a page outlining the security support Jewish Federation has provided over the years and continues to provide.
On March 7, 2017, approximately 600 people, including children who attend a Jewish daycare, had to be evacuated from the Miles Nadal JCC in downtown Toronto after receiving a bomb threat around 10 am. Shortly afterwards, the Jewish Community Centre in London, Ontario received a similar call, prompting that centre’s evacuation. It is the second time in less than two months the London JCC was targeted.
The bomb threats are the latest in a string of anti-Semitic incidents targeting the Jewish community in Canada in recent months.
In February alone, Jewish apartments in a North York building were targeted with anti-Semitic symbols, the words “Gas The Jews” were spray painted in Hamilton, swastikas were drawn in a classroom at York University, posters questioning the number of Holocaust victims were found at the University of Calgary and anti-Semitic flyers were scattered around Western University accusing Jews of murdering 6 Muslim worshippers at a Quebec City mosque in late January.
In early February, a video taken in 2014 surfaced showing an imam at Al Andalous Islamic Center in Montreal praying to Allah to “destroy the accursed Jews” and to “make their children orphans and their women widows”. A few days later, a hate crimes complaint has been filed with Toronto police against a downtown Toronto mosque affiliated with the Muslim Association of Canada, whose imam prayed in 2016 for the killing of Jews, disbelievers and enemies of Islam, and asked Allah to “purify” a mosque located on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem – the holiest site in Judaism – form the “filth of the Jews”.
The Toronto imam, who also worked as a teaching assistant at Ryerson University, was subsequently fired from his job following a complaint from B’nai Brith Canada, a Jewish human rights organization.
Following an uptick in anti-Semitic hate crimes in Canada, York Regional Police has initiated increased patrols and presence at synagogues and Jewish institutions across Ontario’s York Region.
On March 8, PM Trudeau vowed to guard against a resurgence of anti-Semitism “in the face of intolerance, prejudice and outright criminal acts” because “we know that diversity is our strength”.
MP Steven Blaney, candidate for the leadership of the Conservative, promised to double down on the fight against Islamic radicalization and violence because all Canadians have a right to be safe from violence. “Do you think Allah should ‘Destroy the damned Jews?’ Do you think Allah should ‘Kill Jews one by one’ and ‘Make their children into orphans and their wives into widows’? No? Well neither do I. I am outraged by this. How can we decry Islamophobia and not anti-Semitism when clearly it is a very real problem today”, Blaney wrote in an email to his supporters.”