Ontario is a province in east-central Canada that borders the U.S. and the Great Lakes. It's home to Ottawa, Canada's capital, which is known for Parliament Hill’s Victorian architecture and the National Gallery, featuring Canadian and indigenous art. Toronto, Ontario's capital, is home to the 553m-high CN Tower, with expansive views from its revolving restaurant, as well as High Park, site of a rare oak savannah habitat. Ontario is the largest province in Canada with a population of approximately 13 million.
According to the Statistics Canada Police-reported hate crime in Canada, 2017 report, Ontario reported the largest spike in police-reported hate crimes. Incidents rose from 612 in 2016 to 1,023 in 2017. The Jewish community was the most targeted by hate crimes, followed by the Black and Muslim communities.
Ottawa is the capital city of Canada. As of 2016, Ottawa had a city population of 934,243 and a metropolitan population of 1,323,783 making it the fourth largest city in Canada. Ottawa Police have reported an increase in the number of reported hate crimes. Ottawa police confirm the number of hate-related reports has grown from 79 in 2015 to 109 in 2016. To date this year, 2017, the number has reached 56. Ottawa police do offer a caution that there is a new on-line means of reporting hate crimes; therefore, there may not be an increase in the actual number of hate crimes, rather the increase is in the number of hate crimes that are reported. Ottawa police are encouraging citizens to report all hate crimes.
Toronto is Ontario's largest city with a population of approximately 6 million people. The Toronto Police Services Hate Crimes Unit releases an annual report on hate motivated crime in the city.
In the 2017 report, there was a significant increase in the number of reported hate-motivated crimes compared to 2016. The Hate Crimes Unit recorded a total of 186 hate motivated occurrences in 2017 compared to 145 in 2016. These figures represent an increase of approximately 28%. The highest percentage of the 186 reported hate criminal occurrences in 2017 were motivated by religion (46%=86), followed by race (22%=41) and sexual orientation (9%=16).
In 53 of the 86 (62%) hate crime occurrences involving religion, the victims were members of the Jewish community, even though the Jewish community makes up only 3.8% of the religious population in the City of Toronto. The Jewish comunity was the target of 28% of the total hate crimes in 2017. Hate motivated crimes against the Jewish community increased by 23% from 2016 to 2017 (43 in 2016, 53 in 2017).
Hamilton Police Service released its 2017 hate/bias report, revealing there was an 18% increase in incidents in Hamilton. While the number of hate crimes committed decreased from 15 in 2016 to five in 2017, the number of incidents with hate and bias overtones or unknown motivation went up from 100 in 2016 to 131 in 2017. Jewish people were the most-targeted religious group, with 24 incidents targeting Jewish people in 2017.
Peel Regional Police (PRP) has released its 2017 Annual Hate/Bias Motivated Crime Report revealing a massive uptick in the number of annual reported hate crimes, rising from 59 total incidents in 2016 to 158 last year.
According to the report, “religion was the most common motivating factor” in bias-related offences in 2017. The Muslim community was the most targeted, being victimized in 57 of all reported incidents – a sharp increase year-over-year from a total of five anti-Muslim incidents in 2016. The Jewish community was targeted 36 times in 2017, up 13 incidents from the year before and accounting for 22% of all reported hate/bias crimes in the region.
Among the 158 hate-motivated crimes reported last year, 76 targeted religion, 39 targeted race/national origin, 8 targeted sexual orientation and 35 included multiple motivating factors.
A 2018 study commissioned by FSWC reveals that more than 78% of Ontarians believe that it's important to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive, while more than 11% said that Jews talk too much about the Holocaust.
The same study revealed that 14% believe Jewish people in Canada have too much influence in the business world (47% said Jews have "the right amount of influence and almost 40% said they're unsure about the level of influence); more than 13% said Jewish people have too much influence in international financial markets (more than 45% said "right amount of influence" and more than 38% said "unsure).
When it comes to the Canadian government, just over 8% Ontarians said Jewish people have to much influence, while 45% said there's the "right amount of influence" and almost 40% said they're unsure.
In regards to global media and global affairs, more than 13% said Jews have too much influence in media and more than 12% said Jews have too much influence in global affairs.
Action was taken in October after Bishop Strachan School's students were shown a blatantly antisemitic presentation of the Merchant of Venice. FSWC was in contact with parents and the school and offered its educational programs after parents complained the children were not given any preparation in advance of the subject matter of the content being shown.
In the same week, Bridlewood Community Elementary School was vandalized with swastika graffiti - the second incident targeting the school this year. The Ottawa police are investigating.
Following Thanksgiving weekend, staff at Leo Baeck Day School's South campus arrived to find the school's sign, Canadian flagpole and a nearby UJA sign covered with the anti-Israel slur "Free Palestine." Toronto police confirmed the incident was being investigated.
A swastika was discovered spray painted on a school in London, Ontario during a weekend in August. The Thames Valley District School Board immediately notified police, who confirmed the graffiti was being investigated as a hate crime.
A few days prior, hate-motivated graffiti – including swastikas and other racist and vulgar drawings – was found spray painted on a school in Mississauga. Peel Regional Police quickly arrested three teens, who were each charged with one count of mischief over $5,000. Just like in London, the incident is also being treated as a hate crime.
On April 18, 2018, police began investigations after antisemitic graffiti was discovered on a Jewish club's poster at Northern Secondary School. The school's principal sent a letter to parents acknowledging and condemning the incident and emphasizing the importance of human rights education.
Spray-painted graffiti calling to stop white genocide and claiming that the six million Jews that died in the Holocaust was a hoax was discovered on a storage building at Aurora High School early on Thursday, November 30. The York Regional Police Hate Crimes Department has confirmed that the incident is being investigated as hate-motivated mischief.
On a Monday morning, a swastika was discovered spray painted on a sidewalk in front of the Kamin Education Centre, a Jewish day school in Vaughan. According to a letter sent to parents of the school, an Associated Hebrew Schools staff member found the swastika next to Atkinson Avenue, following which administration immediately notified the York Regional Police. Officers contacted the City of Vaughan to have the graffiti removed.
On September 27, 2017, antisemitic and anti-Black messaging was found on the exterior walls of a public school in Aurora as children were arriving to start their day. FSWC has been in contact with York Regional Police - who confirm that the incident is being investigated as a hate crime - and has also offered its educational programming in support to the Trustee of the York Regional School Board and the school’s principal.
York Regional Police began an investigation after antisemitic and racist graffiti was discovered at three Markham schools between August 19 and 20. Graffiti included the Star of David being equated to the swastika, reference to the KKK and the message “White Power.” Police are treating the graffiti as a hate crime.
On June 30, 2017, FSWC received an anonymous tip with photographs of hate graffiti at Woodbridge College in Vaughan, Ontario. In the pictures sent to FSWC, at least three Swastikas were drawn on school buildings, with one adjacent to a phallic symbol and another drawn as part of a massive Nazi flag. In one picture, a plane crashes into the Twin Towers with the words, "Jews did 911" scrawled above. The incident was sent anonymously to FSWC to expose antisemitism and have it publicly discussed. York Regional Police have since laid charges after discovering the antisemitic as well as anti-Black and homophobic images and words on the exterior walls of the school.
Antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment is also seeping into our public school system through the re-writing of textbooks to project anti-Israel propaganda. In 2017, FSWC discovered that Nelson Canada, Social Studies Grade 6 textbook published a false claim that Israel employs "child soldiers". It even equated Israel, a democracy, with oppressive societies like Libya, Mali and Yemen and stated that "most child soldiers are kidnapped from their homes". The publisher profusely apologized and, after working with FSWC, replaced stock of all student books with corrected versions.
Schools in general have been targeted externally by antisemitic incidents. Eitz Chaim Hebrew Day School, for example, had a minimum of three antisemitic incidents in the spring of 2017 - including swastikas drawn on various external areas and even stones being thrown at its students who were in the play ground.
A serious incident occurred at Branksome Hall in May 2017 where two Senior School students, who had been studying about dictators and reading Animal Farm in their classes, drew a chalk drawing depicting Hitler and Stalin with accompanying quotes like “Hitler was right.” The school explained that these students were unaware of the meaning of these drawings and provided counter education to them and to the rest of the school.
An upward trend in antisemitic incidents at private schools in the GTA began in 2017. Uncharacteristically, Upper Canada College reported on April 26, 2017 that "a student in Grade 7 returned to his locker at the end of the day to find it vandalized with anti-Semitic symbols and messaging. As soon as we became aware of the situation, the College began an investigation. We have attempted to progress the investigation swiftly, involving all appropriate parties, including the police."
Similarly, Greenwood had an antisemitic incident in April 2017 which impacted its student body and parents. In an email to parents, the principal wrote: "As you may have heard from your child, Greenwood also suffered its own troubling incident at the beginning of April, when one of our after-hours cleaners found a swastika that had been drawn anonymously in marker on a wall in the boys’ change room."
Schools outside of the GTA have also been targets of antisemitism. In Brockville, J.L. Jordan Catholic School was vandalized with antisemitic graffiti three times - once in December 2016 and twice in January 2017 - according to police.
In November 2016, Ottawa police were notified after hateful messages depicting a Swastika and the KKK (Ku Klux Klan) symbol were found spray-painted on the outside wall of Bridlewood Community Elementary School.
Earlier that year, just as students were preparing to head back to school on September 6, 2016, crews began cleaning up antisemitic graffiti that was discovered over the weekend at St. Theresa Catholic Elementary School in Orleans, Ontario. A swastika was spray-painted on a shed at the school, and several signs on the property were vandalized.
It was reported that numerous posters were found on the University of Guelph campus as well as in the city itself condemning Jewish, Muslim and LGBTQ students through the use of "quotes" attributed to Mohammed. FSWC reached out to the university providing support.
Antisemitism on university campuses in Ontario has become commonplace. Often, it is linked to political forms of antisemitism under the veneer of "campaigns" against Israel. They manifest as "Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions" campaigns, "Israeli Apartheid Week" and aggressive lobbying on behalf of the pro-Palestinian movement. Ryerson University, especially, has been cause for concern in the 2016-2017 academic year. In the most recent instance in May 2017, it was revealed that a Jewish social work student was denied placement by the university administrators at two Jewish organizations of her choice. The student, Rebecca Katzman said she felt "targeted" by Heather Bain, the program coordinator.
In another related Ryerson occurrence in March 2017, Ryerson University fired teaching assistant Ayman Elkasrawy for provocative antisemitic language while leading a prayer at his mosque. At Masjid Toronto, Elkasrawy allegedly called to “purify the Al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews.”
In December 2016, Ryerson and York University students began raising concerns regarding tweets from a contract lecturer in Ryerson’s department of geography and environmental studies that made references to "zio", a pejorative for Zionist. Tweets included her stating that she does "not engage in conversation with zio trolls" and ISIS and Israel "are in bed together." After a complaint was lodged, students began questioning how the issue was handled as the lecturer's account was quickly made inaccessible to the public, suggesting that Ryerson administration simply requested that the account be made private. Ryerson, however, said that the matter was dealt with as a human resources issue and must be kept confidential.
In a fourth demonstrable incident at Ryerson on November 29, 2016, Jewish students alleged antisemitism was behind a walkout staged by Muslim and pro-Palestinian students at a Ryerson Student Union meeting. The walkout was meant to stymie a motion to commemorate Holocaust Education Week.
York University continues to be cause for concern in the Jewish community. Numerous events have taken place over the last number of years which raise cause for concern. Jewish students have felt intimidated and victimized by radicalized student groups and faculty that have politicized the environment.
In March 2017, swastikas were discovered in a York University classroom. According to a distraught student, “the professor started the lecture, but said, ‘unfortunately there was an incident and we have to cancel the class because the class is now a crime scene and police are coming in.” In the same month, a written bomb threat and antisemitic
graffiti was discovered inside a York University Glendon campus washroom, which
prompted an evacuation and police investigation.
In 2016 when Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center exposed a propaganda mural that still hangs in the Student Center. The mural depicts a Palestinian holding rocks behind his back with a blank map of Israel on his Kefiah. The community at large was outraged, calling it a violence promoting antisemitic propaganda display that victimizes and re-victimizes Jewish students.
As the university has refused to remove the mural - coupled with the Student Union’s insistence on its hanging and reinforcement by anti-Israel measures in the form of boycotts and divestment undertaken by student groups and the Faculty Association (eg. YUDivest, Israeli Apartheid Week) - the Jewish community has largely scaled back its participation at York and Jewish student attendance has declined, especially in undergrad.
Some additional instances include a staff member who was terminated in September 2016 after an antisemitic post on Facebook stating, “Pray that these same Zionists, haters of God and His children, do not succeed in their goal of bringing about World War III,” as well as a swastika drawn at York University in September 2017 - an image of which was posted on social media.
An investigation is reportedly underway at the University of Toronto after a student spoke out about a shocking email he received from a professor at the university. According to the student – a former Hasbara Fellow who emailed numerous professors to meet with them to discuss pursuing a PhD with a focus on Middle Eastern studies – the professor falsely accused him of being an Israeli government agent and refused to meet with him due to his affiliation with a pro-Israel campus group.
Swastikas on campuses have become common place. In October 2016, a rash of antisemitic graffiti hit the University of Toronto’s downtown campus. Three swastikas were found on a sign outside of OISE and on a sign for the medical sciences building. A Jewish University of Toronto professor copied FSWC in 2017 in a letter he sent to the university administration. In the letter he stated, "I do not feel safe on campus near Israel Apartheid Week activities. I am offended by the name "Israel Apartheid Week" which contains the institutional slander in its very name. I would not feel safe for my children to be in the vicinity of IAW activities at UofT".
Even while the University of Toronto is widely recognized as the birthplace of the antisemitic "Israeli Apartheid Week" - this year in March 2017 - Queens University also included this racist event on its student roster. Moreover, it held a "mock check point" on the grounds of the university with some students being forced to choose between being Palestinian or Israeli in order to pass - with a sign reading, "Palestinians have your IDs Ready". This terrible display is intended to foment hate towards Israel and antisemitism toward Jewish students on campus.
McMaster University launched an investigation in December 2017 following a report that revealed numerous students at the university had been posting antisemitic tweets, some of which praised Hitler, equated Zionists with Nazis, supported terrorist groups and demonized Jews while calling for violence against them. One of the students involved holds the position of President of SPHR and was the subject of a prior complaint by FSWC earlier this year in June.
On February 4, 2018, a swastika was found drawn inside an elevator in Western University's Essex Hall. The graffiti was quickly removed after it was reported to Campus Police Community Services by the front desk operator.
Campus police at Western University began an investigation in February 2017 after antisemitic pamphlets were circulated on campus. The pamphlets had a one-page letter blaming “Jewish terrorists trained by Israel Zionists” for the shooting rampage that took place at a Quebec mosque and resulted in the deaths of six people. This incident took place less than three weeks after a bomb threat forced an evacuation of the London Jewish Community Centre.
On the week of March 14, 2017, administrators at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) began an investigation after a message comparing Jewish people to rodents was posted on Facebook in honour of an anti-Israel event at the university. This post came after an Israeli flag was covered with an Algerian flag at an on-campus multicultural language festival. Other posts - including one that told a Jewish student to "go back to Palestine" - were deleted.
This was not the first time UOIT was in the news. On August 3, 2016, the university became the first Canadian University to have a complaint filed against them by a Jewish or pro-Israel group. Hasbara Fellowships Canada filed a formal complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, accusing the university of discrimination after the group was banned from participating in a student association-sponsored "Social Justice Week." UOIT sent an email to the group's national director, stating: "The Student Association passed a motion endorsing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement...Your organization seems closely tied to the state of Israel and as such, it would be against the motion to provide any type of resources to your organization." In July, a settlement was reached between the group and university's student association, which apologized and acknowledged its wrongdoing.
The University of Windsor began an investigation after an anonymous commentator made antisemitic comments online during a learning seminar meant for getting feedback from students about engaging children with disabilities. According to an article by CTV Windsor, published on February 10, 2017, the presenter was using an open chat room, which the commentator used to ask "is being Jewish a disability" and state that the Holocaust was "greatly exaggerated."
Toronto police are investigating a hate crime after four 17-year-old Jewish teens were physically assaulted at Fairholme Avenue and Bathurst Street. The group of perpetrators also made derogatory comments about their religion and stole the glasses of one of the victims.
FSWC condemned the antisemitic campaign recently posted on an online anti-Israel group calling for the eviction of a Jewish Toronto councillor, James Pasternak, from office because of his beliefs. This incident came one month after two Canadian Jewish MPs were attacked online for supporting Israel, an antisemitic act that was condemned by several political leaders.
In July 2018, residents reported receving copies of Your Ward News in Kitchener. Two month earlier in May 2018, publishers of Your Ward News were once against targeting the Jewish community. Despite the fact that hate crime charges were laid against its publishers, the publication is still being posted online and being hand delivered in neighbourhoods.
A man in Waterloo was sentenced to 18 months in June after being found guilty of inciting fear and hate, harassing the local Jewish community with phone calls and "vile" emails. In his messages, left for a local Rabbi and lawyers, the man said Adolf Hitler was right and lauded Hitler's Final Solution.
After numerous Jewish insitutions and businesses across Canada reported receiving hate mail, FSWC was informed about antisemitic mail received at a law firm in Toronto. The two-sided letter blames Jewish people for a "genocide of the white race via immigration" and calls for "genocide of the Jews." Police are investigating the incident. Police are investigating. A week later, FSWC learned about another law firm in the city that also received the mail.
A few week earlier, a Jewish community centre in Windsor received disturbing hate mail calling for the expulsion of Jews, borrowing on medieval images and references. Windsor police confirmed that the hate mail was being investigated. After FSWC reported on the hate mail received at the JCC, more Jewish institutions later reported receiving the hate mail as well - including a Jewish community centre in Victoria, the Forest Hill Jewish Centre in Toronto, and B'nai Brith's office in Montreal.
On December 18, 2017, FSWC was dismayed to learn that synagogues in multiple cities - including Edmonton, Hamilton, Toronto, Montreal and Kingston - received disturbing and threatening antisemitic mailings. The unmarked letters depicted in graphic style a swastika embedded in a yellow Jewish star dripping with blood accompanied by the words "Jewry Must Perish."
Prior to a Holocaust Education Week lecture hosted by the Kehillat Shaarei Torah synagogue in Toronto, the synagogue received a hateful antisemitic letter. The letter, addressing the synagogue's rabbi and board, was received on November 3, 2017.
During an anti-Israel rally in Toronto on December 9, 2017, the chairperson of the Ontario branch of the Canadian Federation of Students took the stage stating that she had "the privilege of representing over 350,000 students across the province of Ontario." She then went on to claim that students' tuition money was "going to pay for military resources in Israel to kill children just like me" and that "this is about Zionism, and Zionism is rooted in white supremacy, it is rooted in racism, it is rooted in anti-blackness...this is colonialism and we cannot allow them to divide us." FSWC reported the hateful speech to Toronto police. At this same rally, a photo was taken of a man holding a sign that said "9/11 Was A Zionist Job," a conspiracy theory widely circulated to rationalize and fuel global antisemitism and hatred for Israel.
For the last two years, homes across Ontario including Jewish targeted homes have been hit by a pamphlet called "Your Ward News" - a disturbing publication which promotes Hitler, Nazism, book burnings and Nuremberg like Nazi Marches. The pamphlet also has targeted other groups, minorities, politicians and social advocates. In June 2017, the editors were charged for hate crime by the Justice of the Peace due to a privately laid complaint. Canada Post has banned its distribution and as a result, an Independent Review tribunal has been struck to challenge this order. In November 2017, hate crime charges were laid against both the editor and publisher.
In June of 2017 a hate speech complaint was filed against Maulana Syed Mohammad Zaki Baqri of The Council of Islamic Guidance and Resident Alim of the Al Mahdi Centre. In a speech at Al Quds Day at Queens Park on June 24, 2017 (not the Legislative Precinct), Imam Baqri allegedly said the following: "Israel, Zionism, should and must know (speaking Arabic)... It is the law that whoever oppresses, he has to be eliminated. One day or the other." The following video has been provided to police: https://www.dropbox.com/s/uhf1s45117y6ped/Maulana%20Syed%20Mohammad%20Zaki%20Baqri%20Speech.MOV?dl=0
Earlier this year in February 2017, Toronto Police launched an investigation into alleged hate speech that took place at the Masjid Toronto mosque in 2016. A former Israeli intelligence colonel found translated sermons from two imams at the mosque; the sermons included stating the need to "purify" the Dome of Rock mosque in Jerusalem of the “filth of the Jews” and slaying non-believers, infidels and polytheists. The Muslim Association of Canada also began an internal investigation into the claims, temporarily suspending a mosque employee and reportedly reaching out to leaders of the Jewish community to apologize.
Elderly Jewish residents of a Willowdale apartment building were also targeted by hate speech and crime in February 2017. An apartment building was attacked by vandals who ripped mezuzas off of doorways and left sticky notes behind with messages that said "No Jews" and swastikas. The residents of the building were shaken up and police continues to investigate.
On December 11, 2016, owners of a cinema in London, Ontario were shocked after their website was hacked by someone who posted a racist manifesto titled "The Declaration of the Independence of Atlantis" and a link to an antisemitic video. The same content was sent to the cinema's database which has thousands of emails. The owners quickly shut down the website and contacted police.
An antisemitic post on a Facebook group initiated an exchange of memes and jokes about the Holocaust between Ryerson University students. According to a December 2016 CTV News report, the initial post included a split image with a photo of Hitler and a photo of a woman, with the following words written over it: "Removes Polish with chemicals nobody bats an eye... removes Polish with chemicals everybody loses his s*#@!." While some members of the group spoke out against the post, others posted other discriminatory images and comments.
A young woman from from the Greater Toronto Area had her laptop and notebooks seized at the airport for the promotion of hate propaganda after she posted a video on YouTube calling for a "white" only Canada. In the video, she used racial slurs, blamed increasing crime rates on immigrants and refugees, and sang Happy Birthday to Hitler. According to a Global News report in November 2016, she stated that if Jewish people whose families died in the Holocaust "had a sense of humour they would find it funny." Her video has been repeatedly removed from the site, but has been reposted by other users.
Following last year's Al Quds Day, a Mississauga teacher was suspended for comments she made at the July 2016 anti-Israel event. A complaint was filed after she allegedly called on the public to “support the resistance (against Israel) in any form.”
A monthly magazine came under fire in July 2016 after publishing an antisemitic editorial that attempted to justify the Holocaust. Printed in Arabic, the article - titled "The Question Which Everyone Ignores: Why Did Hitler Kill the Jews?" - claimed that the number of people killed is overestimated and outlined reasons why the Holocaust was justified.
York Regional Police are investigating after swastikas drawn on snow were discovered in Aurora and Thornhill. The first incident took place in October at a playground in Aurora, while the second occurred on Friday at a community centre in Thornhill Woods.
As the Jewish community was marking Yom Kippur, a group of young people were found marking a bench in a park with hateful graffiti. Antisemitic, Islamophobic, racist and homophobic slurs were discovered on the bench. The culprits were identified as students of Danforth Collegiate and Technical Institute and Greenwood Secondary School.
Following a Blue Jays game in Toronto, an FSWC member described spotting a red swastika spray-painted on the side of a building on Front Street W. and Blue Jays Way.
A hate crime investigation was launched after a swastika and the letters "SF" were spray painted on a rainbow crosswalk in Toronto's Gay Village.
On the weekend of Tisha B'Av, a sign promoting Holocaust education and featuring Max Eisen was found vandalized with the German word “Achtung” – which translates to “danger” or “attention” – spray-painted across. Toronto police are investigating the incident as a hate crime.
Police in Owen Sound are looking for a suspect after hate graffiti was discovered on the Beth Ezekiel Synagogue just before 7 a.m. on May 9. While the content of the graffiti will not be released, police are appealing to the public to identify the suspect wanted in a possible hate crime.
In early May, graffiti that included an antisemitic slur was discovered in Mississauga. Peel Regional Police confirmed that they are looking for the culprits and are treating the slur as a hate crime.
Three teenagers were charged by Ottawa police after graffiti, including racist and antisemitic graffiti, was found on several homes, cars and a playground in the neighbourhood of Old Ottawa East on April 29. FSWC commended police for taking quick action against the suspects.
On the evening of April 25, Toronto Police responded to a call about vandalism at an apartment in Toronto's Yonge and St. Clair neighbourhood. A swastika was discovered etched into the hallway door of a residential unit, along with scratches to a number of other doors on the same floor and significant damage to hallway lights and wood struts.
On March 30, the first night of Passover, a woman spotted two teenagers creating a swastika at a park in Thornhill. Police began a hate crimes investigation, reaching out to schools in the area to help identify the culprits.
On March 21, a York Region synagogue, Chabad Flamingo, was vandalized in the morning in broad daylight. Security camera footage captured a person picking up a heavy rock from the ground and throwing it multiple times at the building’s front doors until the glass panes shattered. York Regional Police began investigating what they called a "hate-motivated" crime.
On February 13, 2018, locals in the Toronto Beach neighbourhood discovered antisemitic and racist graffiti on a historic structcture, the Leuty Lifeguard Station. Graffiti included a swastika, the words “Hail Hitler” and anti-Black slurs. The graffiti was later painted over, and Toronto Police Service launched a hate crime investigation.
FSWC expressed its concern about numerous reports of swastikas being found in many locations across Ontario in January 2018. Within days of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a swastika was discovered spray painted on a sidewalk at Catherine Street Park in St. Catherines. In Newmarket, a woman discovered cigarette package with a swastika and the words "Islam Out 9/11" discarded on the property of a serniors' residence.
On January 13, 2018, swastikas were found drawn on at least two cars in the area of Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue in Toronto. The cars were parked overnight on a residential street. Police are investigating the incident.
Toronto police are looking into separate incidents where two storefronts in Bloorcourt were targetted by a string of vandalism ranging from broken front windows to antisemitic and racist graffiti - including swastikas and the phrases "I heart Nazis" and "I heart KKK" - appearing a community blackboard. The incidents began in November 2016 and have since continued.
On December 19, 2017, FSWC received a report that a car was discovered in a parking lot at Yonge and Eglington in Toronto with two swastikas marked onto the snow of the windshield. The snow was removed and police were contacted.
Most recently, a leasing sign belonging to a Jewish-family owned realty company was defaced with a swastika in the area of Steeles Ave. West and Dufferin St. north of Toronto. FSWC reported the graffiti to York Regional Police on September 27, 2017 and to the hate crimes unit. The company owners confirmed that this appears to be an isolated incident and that the sign would be replaced.
On September 19, 2017, CBC News reported that antisemitic and racist graffiti was reported in Kitchener after a local high school teacher found a racial slur spray painted above a hangman figure as well as a swastika over the number 88 at a skate park. FSWC reached out to the Waterloo Regional Police Inclusion and Equity Officer, who indicated that the graffiti will be cleaned up.
On September 1, 2017, FSWC was was alerted to antisemitic graffiti on Highway 400 by Vaughan Mills that stated "Hitler was right." FSWC reported the hate crime to York Regional Police and the mayor's office, and work crews quickly cleaned up the graffiti. FSWC's President and CEO, Avi Benlolo, was at the scene of the incident and posted a video online asking "the government and the Attorney General of Ontario to take these matters seriously." Less than a week later, the same phrase was spray-painted on the Aurora Road overpass on Highway 400.
A hateful message was discovered in the quiet city of Cornwall, Ontario by a local resident who was walking on a pathway on August 22, 2017. The message included a swastika spray-painted beside the number 613. The graffiti was later covered up.
Days after the events in Charlottesville, an incident took place in Halton Hills where a swastika and the words "Hail Hitler" was spray-painted on an abandoned building near Regional Road 25 and Side Road 15. The graffiti was discovered on August 15, 2017.
On July 6, 2017, Niagara Regional Police began an investigation in Fort Erie after Nazi symbols and crude images were found spray-painted on a children’s playground and nearby clubhouse. A local business has since donated surveillance equipment to ensure such an incident does not occur again, and a cleanup effort was organized. FSWC reached out to the clubhouse to offer assistance in dealing with the situation.
In May 2017, antisemitic and racist graffiti was discovered in multiple locations in Woodstock, Ontario. A swastika was spray-painted on the Springbank Snow Countess Monument, and comments and profanities were found on a church, vehicles, garage doors, and th side of a house. The graffiti caused an estimated $2,000 in damage.
Military Police began an investigation in April 2017 after the owner of a barbershop at Canadian Forces Base Kingston discovered a piece of paper with a swastika drawn on it stuck to her business door. The owner, who is of Jewish faith, said a similar incident had occurred in February.
That same month a former community school in Meaford was vandalized with antisemitic graffiti. Swastikas were found spray-painted on the former Meaford Community School building, saddening local residents and resulting in a cleanup a week later.
Numerous homes, vehicles and mailboxes in Caledonia were the targets of a serial spray-painter who spray-painted graffiti - including a swastika, male genitalia and obscene words - in March 2017. While crews were sent out to clean up municipal property, residents were left responsible for cleaning their own property.
Hamilton has experienced several antisemitic incidents, including a swastika drawn in a McMaster University bathroom and chalk swastikas drawn on the ground near Locke Street. Most recently in February 2017, Hamilton police began an investigation after antisemitic graffiti - including a swastika and the words "gas the Jews" - was found spray-painted on the ground on the Escarpment Rail Trail.
A columnist for a Canadian Jewish publication discovered a swastika and sexist slur drawn in the snow outside her home in Sault Ste. Marie in January 2017. As a writer who often writes about antisemitism and lives in a small city with a small Jewish population, she felt targeted. Police began an investigation but did not have suspects.
In Burlington, Halton Regional Police began appealing to the public for information after "Aushwitz" was spray-painted on a children's playground and a number of swastikas were spray-painted throughout Tansley Woods Park between December 10 and 11, 2016.
There were several cases of antisemitic graffiti in Toronto in November 2016. According to a Toronto Star article, two swastikas were found in a neighbourhood in the Moss Park area - one at an abandoned building and another on a parked vehicle at a dealership. Antisemitic messages were also drawn on the windows of the Mimico Centennial Library, which were reported to police and quickly removed.
On November 18, 2016, racist graffiti was discovered on the doors of a church and Muslim association in Ottawa. The front doors of Parkdale United Church were spray-painted with two Swastikas, the word "n--gers," and the numbers 14 and 88 - which stand for the white supremacist slogan and "Heil Hitler." The front doors of the Ottawa Muslim Association were spray-painted with the words "F--k Allah," "Go home, "666," and a swastika.
Earlier that week, Ottawa police were notified of a third hate crime in a week after antisemitic graffiti was discovered on Machzikei Hadas synagogue. Two swastikas were spray-painted on the front doors and another two were spray-painted on a nearby sign. The synagogue's outside walls were also spray-painted with several offensive messages. According to the CBC, this incident came just a few days after a swastika and the word "k--e" were found on the door of a woman who runs a Jewish prayer centre, as well as graffiti found at Ottawa's Torah Institute. A teen was sentenced to a year in custody and probation for two years after he pleaded guilty for spray-painting the antisemitic and racist graffiti on religious buildings in Ottawa.
A cenotaph in Cobourg was vandalized with antisemitic graffiti on April 9, 2016. Police received a report after someone drew a swastika on the cenotaph in Victoria Park. The swastika had already been washed off when Cobourg Police arrived at the scene
A business owner in Waterloo discovered a swastika scratched into his car, which was parked outside a clothing store, on April 1, 2016. The antisemitic vandalism was reported to police.
As officials continued investigations into more than 120 bomb threats made towards Jewish community centres throughout the U.S. and Canada, two Jewish community centres in Ontario received bomb threats on March 7, 2017. Shortly after 10 a.m., Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre in Toronto forced toddlers and young children at a day care to evacuate. At almost the same time, a Jewish community centre and nearby apartment building in London, Ontario were evacuated for a second time due to a bomb threat.
A bomb threat forced the evacuation of the same community centre and building less than six weeks earlier on January 31, 2017. Police allowed employees back into the community centre after nothing suspicious was found.
During the annual general meeting, the Canadian Federation of Students passed a motion supporting the anti-Israel, antisemitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
Numerous antisemitic and neo-Nazi posters were reportedly found in midtown Toronto in May 2018. The stickers claimed "Nazi youth are here", and some included links to neo-Nazi websites.
Prior to the NDP's 2018 convention, FSWC learned that some 14 anti-Israel resolutions were on the convention agenda, including one that claimed the "two state solution is dead" and called for a "one person, one vote, democratic secular Palestine." Other resolutions called on the NDP to implement economic sanctions against Israel and its products and to condemn the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. One resolution passed at the convention, calling on the NDP to condemn the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
On February 2, 2018, FSWC launched a petition against Amnesty International Canada's antisemitic boycott campaign against Israel which targets Jewish people.
On September 16, 2017, CP24 reported that an online seller was peddling Christmas ornaments carrying the swastika on Craigslist. According to the seller, "swastika tree-toppers" and "Hitler Christmas cards" were also being sold. FSWC has since learned that the items have been removed from the website.
On August 21, FSWC encouraged Holt Renfrew to remove a dress with the Yellow Star from its stores. In a statement, FSWC said the Yellow Star on the upper left side of the clothing, which is part of the Miu Miu clothing line, connotes a painful past. The next day, Holt Renfrew President Mario Grauso confirmed that “all products with the star have been removed from the floor.” Miu Miu – the Italian design company behind the dress – also reportedly decided to remove the item from its collection.
On August 10, 2017, FSWC expressed its disappointment after observing a vendor at an antiques market in Pickering selling Nazi memorabilia. The collection was worth approximately $5,000 and included a deck of cards printed with swastikas, stamps featuring Hitler, a 1942 Der Schulungsbrief - the Nazi Party's monthly magazine for political education, Hitler Youth pins, letterhead belonging to the General Governor of Krakow, identification cards of German workers, a Nazi flag, among many other items. FSWC lodged complaints with the owner of the market, the mayor of the city and with local police.
A day after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency made its
decision to ban certain wines made in Israel, a group with ties to the neo-Nazi
and Holocaust-denying movement gathered at a public library in Etobicoke on July 12, 2017. The
gathering was a memorial for Barbara Kulaszka - who previously acted as co-counsel for infamous
Holocaust denier Ernst Zündel - and was attended by white nationalists
Paul Fromm and Marc Lemire, and Ernst Zundel defender Lynda Mortl. FSWC had
reached out to the library expressing its concern.
On July 11, 2017, the CFIA requested LCBO to discontinue the importation and sales of wines from the West
Bank labelled as “Product of Israel.” CFIA stated that Israel would not be an
acceptable country of origin for products made in the West Bank. After hearing
about the incident, FSWC reached out to government officials expressing concern
regarding a letter that was sent by the LCBO. The CFIA quickly reversed
its decision, releasing a statement on July 13 that stated the Canada-Israel
Free Trade Agreement was not fully considered, that “these wines adhere
to the Agreement” and can therefore be sold as labelled.
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