Canadian anti-Semitic incidents rise, audit shows


OTTAWA (JTA) — Anti-Semitism in Canada is "at an all-time high," according to the findings of an annual audit.

Anti-Semitic incidents in Canada rose by 8.9 percent in 2008 over the previous year, due partly to the sour economy, according to B’nai Brith Canada’s League for Human Rights. Its 2008 Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents released Tuesday tallied 1,135 incidents, representing a more than a four-fold increase in incidents over the past decade.

The findings "offer a paradoxical view of the state of anti-Jewish prejudice in Canada," said Frank Dimant, B’nai Brith Canada’s executive vice president. "On one hand we have a government that has made it a priority to root out hatred and an official Liberal opposition that also recognizes the widespread
anti-Jewish prejudice against our community."

Jews are again being scapegoated, "this time by disgruntled citizens impacted by an ailing economy," the audit said. It is no accident, according to the audit, that 547 incidents — nearly half the total in Canada — took place in the final four months of 2008.

"We attribute this to the fallout from the developing economic recession and such high-profile fiascos as the Bernard Madoff scandal," B’nai Brith Canada said in a news release.

December saw the highest total of the year with 151 incidents — 70 were related to the start of Israel’s military operation in Gaza, the organization noted. Of these, 36 occurred in the last few days of the year as tensions heightened.

Recommended from JTA