By BERNIE BELLAN On April 17, 2023 B’nai Brith Canada released its annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents in Canada. The audit determined that there were fewer actual incidents of antisemitism in Canada in 2022 than in 2021, but incidents of online hate toward Jews had increased at a more rapid rate than physical instances of antisemitism.
Following are some excerpts from B’nai Brith’s 2022 audit:
There was a slight decrease of 1.1% in antisemitic incidents in Canada in 2022.
The decline, however, is far from reassuring. As revealed in the latest edition of B’nai Brith Canada’s Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents, the level of hate against Jewish Canadians continued to be unacceptably high.
In 2012, the Jewish community sounded the alarm when our Audit documented 1,345 antisemitic incidents, the highest since we first began auditing in 1982. A decade later, in 2022, the number was an alarming 105.9% higher than that reported in 2012, and the second-highest total since B’nai Brith started tracking antisemitic incidents in Canada 41 years ago.
Only in 2021 did the Audit record more antisemitic incidents in this country. There were 2,799 incidents in 2021 compared with 2,769 incidents in 2022.
“We are alarmed and disturbed by the figures in this Audit,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “Although there was an almost-insignificant decrease from last year, antisemitic incidents continue to occur at an unacceptable and dangerous pace. Frankly, the amount of hate directed at Jewish Canadians is shameful.
“B’nai Brith Canada vehemently opposes all forms of hate, racism and bigotry, but painfully recognizes that the elevated level of hate against Jews in this country remains constant.”
B’nai Brith’s Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents, which tracks and monitors trends in antisemitic hatred, is the authoritative document on the state of anti-Jewish bigotry in Canada, cited regularly by media, law-enforcement agencies, government bodies and human-rights agencies worldwide.
The 2022 Audit found:
- A total of 2,769 antisemitic incidents, the second-highest recorded by B’nai Brith since it began auditing in Canada in 1982;
- Nearly eight antisemitic incidents daily;
- More than 74% of the incidents occurred online;
- A total of 404 acts of antisemitic vandalism, up from 264 incidents in 2021.
- A spike of 64.8% in antisemitic incidents in Ontario compared with 2021.
Ontario was the only province to experience an increase in antisemitism in 2022.
Some notable antisemitic incidents in Canada last year:
- In Toronto, protestors called for the destruction of Israel, the world’s sole Jewish state;
- In Thornhill, Ont., Neo-Nazi graffiti, swastikas and “zieg heil” were spotted on signs at a park;
- In Calgary, a young Jewish hockey player was harassed by his teammates on three separate occasions. The incidents included the teammates asking, “Shouldn’t you have a star on your arm?” and saying, “The shower smells like Auschwitz.”;
- In Moncton, antisemitic graffiti was found in a school bathroom, reading: “No Jews – None at all.”;
- In Richmond, B.C., graffiti was found at a train station, reading: “Jewish communism is upon us” and “Covid is Jewish.”;
- In Vancouver, a therapist received a threatening email saying: “I hope the next time you visit Israel, a Hamas rocket flattens you like the Zionist pig you are.”;
- In Winnipeg, threatening graffiti was discovered at a college, reading: “Kill Jews” with a drawing of a swastika;
- In Montreal, a man leaving an Israel Day rally holding a folded Israeli flag was assaulted by two young men, who hit the man in the head with a stick and assaulted a bystander who attempted to intervene.
Notwithstanding the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions by most provinces and territories toward the end of 2021, in-person harassment continued to decline in 2022. In 2020, B’nai Brith registered 620 cases of in-person harassment, which dropped to 367 cases in 2021. In 2022, we tabulated just 284 such incidents, representing a 22.6% drop from 2021.
However, hate has increasingly moved online. In 2022, there were 2,056 cases of online hate directed at Jews, representing 74.3% of the total incidents recorded.
B’nai Brith’s data indicate that online hate has more than doubled over the past five years. Many of these incidents constitute open threats of violence, murder or genocide against Jews. Our work tracking online hate incidents in recent years has resulted in criminal charges being brought against several individuals.