TORONTO (Jul. 19)
The desecration of a Hamilton synagogue a week ago was most likely the work of an individual involved with a racist Skinhead group, a human rights activist says, and is just the latest indication of an upsurge in white supremacist activity in Canada.
The neo-Nazi slogans and symbols painted on the Beth Jacob synagogue July 8 were the latest of five “severe incidents of this nature” involving Jewish institutions across Canada since January, said Lorne Shipman, the Ontario director of the League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith Canada.
The desecration came on the heels of a white supremacist rally in Metcalfe, Ontario, two weeks ago.
Police are now looking into whether any of the 250 people who attended the rally live in or near Hamilton, Shipman said.
“There’s certainly a correlation between the rise of racist Skinheads and the rise of severe incidents in Canada, without a doubt,” he said.
Shipman said that in order to prevent synagogue desecrations from getting out of hand, it is important to publicize them, both in order to gain community support and to isolate the racist element.
“Silence is not an effective tool, silence gives tacit approval to the racist,” Shipman said.
But when the public is informed and non-Jewish leaders speak out against the vandalism, they promote anti-racism within their community and send out a clear signal that vandalism will not be tolerated amongst their members, Shipman said.