TORONTO – The year 2016 was a record-setting year for anti-Semitism in Canada, B’nai Brith Canada’s Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents has found. Now in its 35th year, the Audit is the definitive and authoritative resource on antisemitism in Canada, cited regularly by law-enforcement agencies, government bodies, and human rights organizations around the world.
According to the Audit, which tracks and analyzes trends in hatred directed toward members of Canada’s Jewish community, 2016 saw a 26 per cent increase in anti-Semitic incidents over the previous year, and a six per cent increase over the previous high in 2014.
Contrary to news reports directly linking a rise in Canadian antisemitism to the election of U.S. President Donald Trump, the 2016 iteration of the Audit found that the months surrounding and immediately following the U.S. election, which are traditionally the months with the highest activity, actually showed a decrease in anti-Semitic acts in Canada, relative to previous years.
In fact, over the past 10 years (with only two exceptions), the Audit has recorded higher reported figures of anti-Semitic incidents than the years before, indicating that anti-Semitism in Canada has been on a consistent rise for at least a decade.
The year 2016 also saw a dramatic rise in incidents involving Holocaust denial. In 2015, Holocaust denial made up just five per cent of the total number of anti-Semitic incidents in Canada. In 2016, that number soared to 20 per cent. B’nai Brith attributes this increase to a number of factors, including those who deny the Holocaust under the pretext of ‘free speech’ and the campaign that promotes Holocaust denial and other forms of anti-Semitism under the guise of anti-Zionism.
The Audit also highlights the emergence of a new and frightening trend in Canadian anti-Semitism: incitement against Jews in mass media, especially in Arabic-language publications. While B’nai Brith was successful in exposing and removing many of the most egregious examples, the lack of response from law enforcement and government paints a worrying picture of this phenomenon going forward.
“The findings of this year’s Audit – that anti-Semitism has reached a record high in Canada – demonstrate the need for real, immediate and strong action,” said Michael Mostyn, B’nai Brith Canada CEO. “It is time to stop hoping that this problem will go away, or take care of itself. It is time to deal real consequences to the purveyors of anti-Semitism, and to fight back.”
To download a digital version of the Audit, click here.