Nearly half of violent antisemitic incidents in Canada were COVID related, watchdog reports


(JTA) — An antisemitism watchdog in Canada said 44% of the nation’s violent incidents in 2020 were related to the COVID outbreak.

The report released Monday by B’nai Brith Canada’s advocacy arm, the League for Human Rights, said violent incidents last year were at “their lowest levels in years,” perhaps because of pandemic-related lockdowns, but that antisemitic incidents overall spiked 18% from 2019, reaching 2,610.

It was the fifth consecutive year that antisemitic incidents had topped previous levels, the report said.

The violent antisemitic incidents related to COVID were spurred by misinformation that haredi Orthodox Jews were defying pandemic containment rules, according to the League for Human Rights, and the majority of incidents took place in Boisbriand, a town outside Montreal with a haredi enclave.

Violent incidents included “being shot at with pellet guns and being spat on and called ‘dirty Jew’ by passersby,” the report said. The news release on the report did not provide the number of violent incidents.

Non-COVID violent attacks included “Zoombombing,” when virtual Jewish events are interrupted by antisemitic hate speech.

Recommended from JTA