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Stats Can Report Shows Rise in Anti-Semitism

New 2008 survey shows hate crimes against Jews up 42% from 2007.
By: Rebecca Bitton
Published: June 19th, 2010 in News » World
Anti-Semitic vandalismPic: Anti-Semitic vandalism

Statistics Canada released their 2008 report for hate crimes on Monday showing a 35 per cent increase in hate crime incidents nationally from 2007.

All three categories of hate crimes, related to race, religion and sexual orientation, showed a significant increase. Religion alone showed a 53 per cent increase in 2008 from 2007 and continues to be on the rise.

Two thirds of the hate crimes related to religion were made up of incidents against Jews. The rise in hate crime incidents against the Jewish people alone was presented as a distinct category. Jews were victim to hate crimes on 165 separate occasions, up 42 per cent in 2008 from the previous year. With this rise in anti-Semitism playing itself out most recently in public displays of hate speech, websites, and acts of vandalism (making up a staggering 47 per cent of 2008’s reported hate incidents in Canada), Jewish organizations like B’nai Brith continue to put pressure on all levels of government and law enforcement to better combat hate crimes.

Anti-Semitism has been the growing concern of Jewish organizations, as demonization of Israel becomes more and more popular and the difference between anti-Semitism and what poses to be legitimate criticism of the Israeli government becomes almost indistinguishable. For this reason, many acts of anti-Semitism go either unnoticed or those who perpetrate it are not held responsible.

Frank Dimant, Executive Vice President of B’nai Brith Canada, said in a statement, “These statistics support the findings of B’nai Brith Canada’s Audit of Antisemitic Incidents which has drawn attention to this issue through its annual investigation of patterns of prejudice in this country.”

These acts of anti-Semitism have become a troubling issue in Toronto. In fact, the StatsCan report for 2008 shows that Toronto has also increased in its hate crime incidents, increasing to 93 incidents related to the category of religion and in the census metropolitan areas of Toronto, Vancouver and Hamilton, the amount of hate crimes reported came to a total of 271.

Recently, Toronto has witnessed radical groups who appear to be criticising Israel but with comparisons of the Jewish State to Nazism, South African Apartheid, and other harsh descriptions of the Israeli government and the people, prove to have anti-Semitic implications. These groups have appeared at film festivals, medical conferences, pride parades, and university campuses.

Interestingly, six out of ten accused of hate crimes in Canada were aged 12 to 22. This age group has also been reported to spend the most amount of time on the internet, which most recently has been the outlet for hate speech and anti-Semitic propaganda. Especially following the flotilla incident, websites, blogs, videos, and photos have gone against section 318 and 319 of the Criminal Code of Canada. Section 318 includes the advocacy of genocide. It reads: “The criminal act of advocating genocide is defined as supporting or arguing for the killing of members of an "identifiable group" – persons distinguished by their colour, race, religion, ethnic origin or sexual orientation. The intention or motivation would be the destruction of members of the targeted group.”

A mass of media coverage surrounding a Mississauga man named Salman Hossain demonstrates the way the internet has been the ideal gateway to advocate for genocide. Hossain administered a site called “Filthy Jewish Terrorists” which calls for the mass murder of Jews and the West. This goes against section 318 and 319 which highlights “public incitement of hatred.” This section has four elements including: communicate statements, in a public place, incite hatred against an identifiable group, in such a way that there will likely be a breach of the peace.

Unlike the reported hate crime incidents in the StatsCan report, hate can easily go unpunished over the web due to difficulties in identification of its perpetrators. Hossain for example, continues to run his site without charges being laid against him.

Richard Warman, an Ottawa-based human rights lawyer and writer of B’nai Brith’s Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents, described to Shalom Life the difficulties the police and law enforcers face when trying to press charges on those who violate sections of the Criminal Code of Canada on the web.

“Historically, the process for laying charges under ss. 318/319 has been glacier-like. First the police, then the Crowns, then the AG of the province must all agree that such charges are warranted. This created built-in institutional barriers that I believe resulted in charges not being laid even where they could have been justified based on the plain language of the hate propaganda,” he said.

With this StatsCan report, Canadians are reminded of the growing hate that exists in a nation known for being multicultural and tolerant of all its faiths and ethnicities. Furthermore, with the rise of anti-Semitism in Canada’s larger cities, Jews are reminded that anti-Semitism has only grown in the last two years and must be carefully watched.

Related articles: stats can, anti-semitism, anti-semitic, hate crimes, salman hossain, genocide, filthy jewish terrorists
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