Canada's Top 10 List of Anti-Semitic/Anti-Israel Incidents in 2017
By Avi Benlolo
The Simon Wiesenthal Center released its Top 10 List of Worst Global Anti-Semitic and Anti-Israel Incidents in 2017. Aptly, the hate and intolerance which manifested in Charlottesville this past summer topped the list. It's still incomprehensible for any sensible person to imagine that in 2017 a massive group actually marched with torches in hand yelling "Jews will not replace us."
Sadly, this is the reality of the situation and it led me to consider, what would Canada's top 10 list of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel incidents look like?
1. Your Ward News
With so many competing possibilities for first place, Ontario's Attorney General has already chosen the worst of the worst offenders by pressing hate crime charges on the so-called newspaper called Your Ward News. In fact, its editors were once again in court just yesterday relating to charges of 1) "willful promotion of hatred against an identifiable group, namely Jews" and 2) "Willful promotion of hatred against an identifiable group, namely women."
2. Al Quds Day Rally at Queen's Park
In second place would have to be the annual Al Quds Day rally at Queen's Park in Toronto, Ontario. What an offensive gathering of hate mongers who subscribe to the Iranian Ayatollah ideology with aspiration to destroy Israel and capture Jerusalem. In so doing, they have had speakers that call for Israel's elimination and worse, promote the killing of Jews. This year, organizers reportedly played a song which called for running them over, cutting off their heads and stabbing them in Israeli cities. This is in addition to several cases of spiritual leaders who have had hate speech complaints filed against them.
3 & 4. Antisemitism on Canadian University Campuses
Third and fourth place would have to be designated to the vicious antisemitism on Canadian university campuses. This year (and perhaps even last), McGill University tops our list after a Jewish student was not ratified on the Students' Society Board of Directors because, in his words, "I was blocked from participating in student government because of my Jewish identity and my affiliations with Jewish organizations...the BDS movement had accomplished their mission. They had succeeded in barring a Jewish student from participating in McGill's student government."
Ryerson, York and McMaster Universities top fourth place for antisemitism on campus. At Ryerson, it was discovered this past May that a Jewish social work student was denied placement by an administrator at two Jewish organizations of her choice. York University remains near the top of our list for the contentious mural that inspires armed struggle against Israel and continues to hang in the Student Centre. In December, a report was released revealing shocking hateful social media posts from McMaster University students, many of whom have been connected with the campus group Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights. Posts included outright antisemitism, praised Hitler, equated Zionists with Nazis, supported terrorist groups and demonized Jews while calling for violence against them.
5. Hateful Graffiti Found North of Toronto
In fifth place is the hateful graffiti that appeared mostly in the north end of Toronto this past summer. On at least two known occasions, someone spray painted the words, "Hitler Was Right" on Highway 400 - one of the most travelled highways in Ontario. In another incident, at Woodbridge College in Vaughan, Ontario, swastikas were drawn on school buildings, along with a picture of the Nazi flag and a plane crashing into the Twin Towers with the words, "Jews did 911" scrawled above.
6. Pro-Palestinian Protester Holding a "911 Was a Zionist Job" Sign
In sixth place was a pro-Palestinian protester (and hundreds of bystanders) who participated in a rally against Trump's Jerusalem declaration with a poster hanging from his neck that read "911 was a Zionist Job." The promulgation of conspiracy theories is a known factor in the creation of antisemitism and hatred of the Jewish state.
7. Threatening Letters Delivered to Canadian Synagogues
In seventh place, synagogues in multiple Canadian cities - including Edmonton, Hamilton, Toronto, Montreal and Victoria - received a disturbing and threatening letter. The unmarked letter depicted in graphic style a swastika embedded in a yellow Jewish star dripping with blood accompanied by the words "Jewry Must Perish."
8. Fires Set at Edmonton's Talmud Torah
The possible firebombing or arson at Edmonton's Talmud Torah over the summer takes eighth place. Police are investigating two separate fires that appear to have been deliberately set at a Jewish school in Edmonton on July 15th and 16th, 2017. The Israeli and Canadian flags were stolen from the Orthodox synagogue down the street from the school one day later as well.
9. White Supremacist Activity Across Canada
In ninth place is the white supremacist activity from British Columbia to Nova Scotia, with flyers promoting Stormfront being spotted outside a Burnaby library while residents of East Vancouver found Nazi flyers in their mailboxes with an image of Adolf Hitler and the headline, "The World Defeated the Wrong Enemy." The Universities of British Columbia and Victoria, in addition to several other campuses, were also impacted by a rash of white supremacist flyers and activity - with apparent intent to recruit. In Nova Scotia, campaign election signs were spray painted with swastikas and with the phrase "Seig Heil."
10. Jewish Population Most Targeted by Hate Crimes
In tenth place is the National Statistics Canada survey on hate crime released in November 2017 but reported for the year previous. Of the 460 hate crimes targeting religion, 221 incidents targeted the Jewish population - accounting for 48% of hate crimes motivated by religion, and comprising 16% of all hate-motivated crimes in 2016, making the Jewish population once again the most targeted group for hate crimes overall, followed by the Black (214) and Muslim (139) populations.
Note: For further comprehensive information about antisemitism, please visit our website, www.fswc.ca, and click the "Antisemitism" tab.
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