TORONTO (Aug. 22)
Acts of harassment and vandalism against Jews in Canada increased by more than 162 percent between 1983 and 1984, according to a report by the B’nai B’rith’s League for Human Rights.
The annual review of anti-Semitism released this week, says there were 126 anti-Semitic incidents reported to the League last year compared with 48 such incidents in 1983. In addition, a public opinion survy on Canadian attitudes toward Jews and other minorities found that, for the second year, the level of prejudice is highest among people who have little contact with minority groups.
Almost all the incidents of vandalism and harassment — which are reported to the League by individuals and social agencies — occurred in metropolitan areas in the provinces of Quebec and Ontario, the report said. Ontario reported 32 cases of anti-Semitic harassment and 18 cases of vandalism. Quebec had the highest number of anti-Semitic acts, with 27 incidents of harassment and 40 of vandalism.
The incidents ranged from a spate of swastika daubings in Montreal late last year to four bomb threats against Jewish organizations in Ontario. The dramatic rise in reported incidents may be the result of a greater willingness to report such acts. “We may have to wait till we get the 1985 results to see if there is a pattern occurring here or whether this year’s findings are just a blip on the screen,” said Alan Shefman, a B’nai B’rith spokesman.
A poll conducted by the Conseil de Reserche sur L’ Opinion Publique for the League, which examined the attitudes of 2,000 Canadians towards Jews, Poles and Italians, found that people who have little contact with minorities often feel that the three groups “have too much influence.” The poll, financed by the Secretary of State for Multiculturalism, was first conducted last year and is to be conducted annually.