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Canada’s Recent Antisemitism Surge ‘Far Worse Than Previously Reported,’ New Study Finds

Demonstrators in Toronto, Canada, burn an Israeli flag.

June 30, 2021

The surge in antisemitism which swept Canada during the recent Israel-Gaza flare-up was much worse than previously thought, a special report by B’nai Brith Canada concluded.

According to the report, staffers at the Jewish human rights group, which operates an anti-hate hotline, “were overwhelmed by the sheer volume of calls and online reports about antisemitic incidents” at the time.

Due to the resulting backlog, only recently were they able to investigate and compile all the incidents reported in May to paint a more complete picture of what happened.

Their findings were stark: 266 known antisemitic incidences were documented, including 154 incidents of harassment, 51 incidents of vandalism, and 61 incidents of violence.

For comparison, B’nai Brith Canada’s 2020 Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents found just nine incidents of antisemitic violence during the whole year, whereas this May’s figure of 61 was the highest monthly total since records began in 1982.

Notably, many of these incidents occurred at anti-Israel demonstrations, which often “devolved into open hatefests with blatantly antisemitic, obscene, and violent rhetoric” where Jews were “singled out and targeted for abuse by angry mobs.”

Jews were also targeted in their own neighborhoods, with a number of anti-Israel protesters deliberately traveling there to harass the community and stoke tensions. In one such incident, a group drove around a Jewish neighborhood in Edmonton “asking where the Jews live.”

Worryingly, the report made clear that current statistics are still likely an underestimate, with more information set to filter through in the coming months.

The antisemitism spike in Canada was consistent with sharp rises in hate crimes targeting Jews around the world in May.