Manitoba

Antisemitism
An Overview

Background

Manitoba is a Canadian province bordered by Ontario to the east and Saskatchewan to the west. Its landscape of lakes and rivers, mountains, forests and prairies stretches from northern Arctic tundra to Hudson Bay in the east and southern farmland. Much wilderness is protected in more than 80 provincial parks, where hiking, biking, canoeing, camping and fishing are all popular. The capital city of Manitoba is Winnipeg and total population is 1.2 million.

According to the Statistics Canada Police-reported hate crime, 2017 report, Manitoba reported 1 less hate crime against the Jewish population in 2017 (8) as compared to 2016 (9). The total number of hate crimes remained the same, sitting at 36.

FSWC Commissioned Study on Holocaust and Antisemitism

2018 study commissioned by FSWC reveals that 78% of people in the Canadian Prairies believe that it's important to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive, while more than 8% said that Jews talk too much about the Holocaust. 

The same study revealed that more than 11% believe Jewish people in Canada have too much influence in the business world (more than 47% said Jews have "the right amount of influence and more than 38% said they're unsure about the level of influence); 11% said Jewish people have too much influence in international financial markets (more than 45% said "right amount of influence" and more than 40% said "unsure").

When it comes to the Canadian government, almost 9% of people in the Prairies said Jewish people have too much influence, while more than 41% said there's the "right amount of influence" and 39% said they're unsure.

In regards to global media and global affairs, 12% said Jews have too much influence in media and more than 11% said Jews have too much influence in global affairs.

Online

September 7, 2017 the Pembina Trails School Division confirmed a male student from Shaftesbury High School was bullied and targeted with anti-Semitic images on Snapchat by 6 other students. Superintendent Ted Fransen said he learned about the incident last Friday night and Winnipeg police were immediately called to investigate the matter. Winnipeg police said they were called by a concerned parent about the online messages on September 1 but no charges will be laid. All of the parties involved have been talked to by the police. 

Threats

A Calgary woman visiting Manitoba recently uploaded a video that depicts the harassment her family received when they stopped to ask for help while on a road trip. The man on the video calls himself a Nazi, telling the family to “go back to their country”, among other profanity and racial slurs. Kaniz Fatima and her family members felt intimidated, particularly by the fact that the man openly identified himself as a Nazi. “I was shocked because I heard about people saying ‘take your hijab off’ or ‘go back to your country,’ but I never heard people saying that ‘I am a Nazi,’” said Fatima. The incident occurred right after Canada Day.

Like several other Jewish Community Centres across the country, the Asper Jewish Community Campus was evacuated on March 9, 2017 after an emailed threat. Premier Brian Pallister condemned the threat and thanked police for its vigilance.

Rock covered in antisemitic slurs

In January 2017, a family arrived at their Winnipeg home to find a red gift bag with a large rock wrapped in a ribbon inside. On the ribbon were the words, “Jude bitch get out of the neighbourhood.” According to CBC News, when the family took the ribbon off, they found the rock was painted with a swastika and another word, “Die Jew bitch” and “Einsatzgruppen” referencing the Nazi death squads.

Graffiti

For the second time in less than a week, hateful graffiti with antisemitic implications was discovered in Winnipeg. On Thursday, August 17th the railing of a Bridge at The Forks in Winnipeg’s historic downtown area was vandalized with scrawled messages that read: “the Klan in here” as well as “K+K+K= love (heart symbol).

On August 15, 2017, nearly a dozen racist and antisemitic graffiti messages were found in Winnipeg along Wellington Crescent and on a trail in Omand Park, across from the Assiniboine River. More graffiti was found in the West Broadway area near the Granite Curling Club as well. Messages such as "Lost white civilizations" and "White extinction?" along with "Soros wants you dead" were found. ('Soros' is a reference to George Soros, a billionaire Jewish-American-Hungarian philanthropist who is a target of neo-Nazi groups).

On February 7th, 2017, former cabinet minister Chris Melnick discovered a swastika in the snow with the words “F…Jews” scrawled. According to Melnick, “…antisemitism has become commonplace in Canada. There has been a significant under-reporting of antisemitism in the past several years but that is changing because discussion of racism against minorities has been trending in recent months.”

On September 16, 2016, Maple Leaf School in North Kildonan, a Winnipeg, Manitoba community, was hit by vandals Friday night. Along with sexual language and lewd drawings, swastikas were also spray painted on the walls of the elementary school. Trevor Siwak leads North Kildonan Community Watch and said the graffiti is a 'concern.' "I know about a month ago the school had a couple pieces of graffiti on it but nothing close to that much. It seems like it took a number of people to do that," he said. "It's really unfortunate and it's really frustrating." The graffiti spans at least two walls of an outdoor playing area.

Campus

In a statement released on March 6, 2018, the University of Winnipeg said it was undertaking a review of a recent on-campus event following allegations of antisemitism. Concerns were brought to the university's attention that panel members allegedly repeated antisemitic canards during the event.

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