(April 26, 2021) – On average, more than seven antisemitic incidents occurred per day in Canada in 2020.
This is one of several disturbing facts revealed in the 2020 Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents, released today. The Audit is produced by B’nai Brith Canada’s advocacy arm, the League for Human Rights.
Records for antisemitism in this country were set for a fifth consecutive year. There was an increase of 18.3% of recorded antisemitic incidents in comparison to 2019.
Although the number of incidents in Ontario was significantly increased, Alberta experienced a noteworthy reduction in recorded antisemitic incidents by over 27%, continuing what may indicate a downward trend in antisemitism in that part of Canada.
The reported number of antisemitic incidents in Alberta, and the Northwest and YukonTerritories in 2018 was 160, in 2019 was 131 and in 2020 was 95.
(This may explain why Albertans in general do not feel that antisemitism is increasing.)
The actual number of antisemitic incidents recorded across Canada in 2020 was 2,610; of which 1130 took place in Ontario. This marked the third successive year in which the 2,000 plateau was exceeded.
More than 44% of the violent incidents were COVID-19-related. Violent incidents in 2020 decreased to their lowest levels in years – perhaps aided by repeated lockdowns — but were characterized primarily by discrimination attributable to COVID-19.
The majority of these incidents targeted Hasidic individuals in Broisbriand, Que., after misinformation was reported surrounding a local Hasidic community not abiding by legally mandated COVID-19 measures.
Such physical attacks, however, were not limited to Quebec. Even individuals who were in no way affiliated with that particular community were denied access to vendors and experienced a range of violent attacks, including:
- Being shot at with pellet guns.
- Being spat on and called “dirty Jew” by passersby.
- An assailant throwing a bottle from a Toronto apartment window at a family and then headbutting a member of that family after they sought an explanation for the attack.
Among other examples of antisemitic incidents in Canada in 2020:
- In Winnipeg, a student was attacked by seven others after they told the teenager that Jews should “go back to the ovens.”
- In Toronto, a man randomly assaulted an observant Jewish person by smacking the victim in the face and shouting “f— Jews and f— the State of Israel.”
- Graffiti with the words “f— you” and “Zionists not welcome” was scrawled on a Toronto-area restaurant.
- A Montreal-area synagogue was vandalized and had ritual items desecrated, with Torah scrolls strewn about the floor and religious articles found in the toilet.
- Several mezuzahs were ripped off the doorposts of homes throughout the country.
- A swastika and the phrase “Heil Hitler” were drawn, defacing a kindergarten in Toronto.
- “Zoom-bombing,” which interrupted Zoom calls or synagogue services and other community functions with antisemitic, racist and pornographic video, became a disturbing trend.
“As Canadians spent much of 2020 under pandemic restrictions and lockdown, antisemitism did not take the year off,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “Though physical attacks decreased last year, online hate continues to skyrocket, particularly during a year that, more than ever, forced many of us to interact virtually rather than in-person.
“B’nai Brith Canada’s Eight-Point Plan to Tackle Antisemitism remains as relevant as ever, especially its prescient call for government action to combat online hatred.”
Now in its 39th year, the Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents, which tracks and monitors trends in antisemitic hatred, is the authoritative document on anti-Jewish bigotry in Canada, cited regularly by law-enforcement agencies, government bodies and human-rights agencies worldwide.
To read the 2020 Audit of Antisemitic Incidents in full, CLICK HERE.