Community Intelligence Brief: February 3, 2021

February 3, 2021

Intelligence Brief

Deepest Condolences on the Passing of Seymour Saitowitz z'l

Board Chair Fred Waks, President and CEO Michael Levitt and all at FSWC would like to express our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Seymour Saitowitz z’l. Seymour and his wife Bev, a member of FSWC's Board of Governors, have been long-time supporters of our organization, and Seymour was active in many Jewish community causes. May his loved ones find strength and peace during this difficult time, and may his memory forever be a blessing.

Canada Labels the Proud Boys, Other Neo-Nazi Groups as Terrorists

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair announced today that the federal government will designate 13 groups as terrorist entities, including four white supremacist groups and nine groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda and ISIS.

"Given the increasing threat posed by extremist groups in Canada and around the world, we are pleased to see the Canadian government take this important step in protecting the safety of its citizens and combating extremist groups that promote and commit hateful and violent acts," said Michael Levitt, FSWC President and CEO in a statement.

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Canadian Sailor Discharged from Army Due to Neo-Nazi Ties

A sailor with neo-Nazi ties was discharged from the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) after his checkered past made it back to light. The Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center ran an advocacy campaign to have the Calgary-based naval man released from his Canadian unit.

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Downtown Storefronts Hit with Antisemitic Graffiti

Storefront windows in London's downtown were vandalized with antisemitic graffiti, including swastikas and other symbols, prompting police to launch an investigation and the mayor to condemn the act. In an online post, FSWC thanked the city's mayor and chief of police for publicly condemning the vandalism.

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Future of Holocaust Research in Poland Hinges on Libel Case

Two Polish historians - Barbara Engelking and University of Ottawa professor Jan Grabowski - are facing a libel trial for a scholarly examination of Polish behaviour during the Second World War, a case whose outcome is expected to determine the fate of independent Holocaust research under Poland’s nationalist government.

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Nicolas Maduro and COVID-19: Venezuela’s Perfect Storm of Suffering

"The suffering of millions of Venezuelans at the hands of the repressive and brutal Maduro regime was the tragic reality long before COVID-19 further ravaged their country, but the current trajectory is even more dire," writes FSWC's Michael Levitt in his latest column in the Toronto Star. "The Venezuelan people need our support now more than ever."

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Muslim-Majority Kosovo Forges Ties with Israel; Will Open Embassy in Jerusalem

Israel and Kosovo formally established diplomatic ties on Monday, with the Muslim-majority territory also recognizing Jerusalem as the Jewish state’s capital. In a ceremony held over Zoom, Israel's foreign minister and his counterpart from the Republic of Kosovo signed a joint declaration establishing ties.

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Biden Administration 'Embraces and Champions' IHRA Definition of Antisemitism

A senior US State Department official announced on Monday that the Biden administration "embraces and champions" the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, an important and helpful tool to counter antisemitism.

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170 Celebs, Execs to Launch New ‘Black-Jewish Entertainment Alliance’

More than 170 leaders of the entertainment industry released a unity statement on Monday after launching the Black-Jewish Entertainment Alliance (BJEA), a joint initiative by Black and Jewish entertainment industry professionals devoted to countering racism and antisemitism.

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Report Antisemitism and News of Concern to FSWC

If you would like to report antisemitism or news of concern to Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, please email jaime@fswc.ca.

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