TORONTO – B’nai Brith Canada is alarmed by a noticeable increase in antisemitic vandalism across Eastern Canada, seemingly coinciding with the start of the federal election campaign.
In the latest outrage, on August 19, a swastika and other graffiti was discovered on the entrance of the Beth Sholom Synagogue in midtown Toronto. That incident has been reported to Toronto Police.
Earlier in the week, campaign signs for Anthony Housefather and Rachel Bendayan, two Jewish MPs running for re-election in Montreal, were found defaced with swastikas, prompting condemnations from Prime Minister Trudeau and other federal party leaders.
On August 21, a sign in downtown Toronto intended to draw awareness to the scourge of antisemitism was ironically vandalized with antisemitic rhetoric.
On August 16, a vehicle in the parking garage of a midtown Toronto apartment building was defaced with swastikas. That same day, Charlton Public School, located in the heavily Jewish Thornhill neighbourhood, was hit with swastikas and other obscene graffiti.
And on August 15, the date the federal election was formally called, participants in a Toronto-area Jewish baseball league found a giant swastika drawn in the sand at Harding Park in Richmond Hill, where they were set to play that morning. That incident is under investigation by York Regional Police.
“The continued use of the Nazi swastika in an attempt to intimidate Jewish communities is reprehensible and unacceptable,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “We trust that our law enforcement partners will investigate these matters diligently and do everything possible to apprehend the perpetrators.”
Coincidentally, Toronto Police announced on August 16 that Carlos Anaya-Sanchez had been charged with one count of mischief under $5000 in connection with swastikas drawn on chairs at Downsview Park back in June.
In recent years, B’nai Brith has noted that incidents of antisemitism tend to increase during election campaigns in Canada, whether federal or provincial.
In addition, May of 2021 bore witness to the highest number of antisemitic assaults reported to B’nai Brith since it began its Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents in 1983, many of them connected to fighting between the State of Israel and the Hamas terror group. Indeed, more antisemitic assaults were reported to B’nai Brith in May of 2021 than in all of 2020, 2019 and 2018 combined.