Community Intelligence Brief - May 17, 2017

May 17, 2017

Intelligence Brief

‍Retired Security Service General Vasyl Vovk

1. Wiesenthal Center Urges Ukrainian Authorities to Take Action Against General Who Threatened to Murder Jews

In a letter sent to the  Ukrainian ambassador to Israel, Simon Wiesenthal Center's Jerusalem office urges the Ukrainian government to take legal action against retired Security Service General Vasyl Vovk - who had recently published a Facebook post  stating he intends to murder Jews, including Jewish MP Vadim Rabinovych.

"I am aware of the fact  that the embassy here in Israel responded to express your regret about the  'highly provocative post of [an] anti-Semitic character,' but there is no indication that any legal action of any sort has or will be taken against  General Vovk," the Center's Director of Eastern European Affairs, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, wrote in the letter. "We urge you to convey our concerns to the authorities in Kiev with a demand that appropriate and resolute action  be taken against General Vovk, to send a clear message that in democratic Ukraine there will be no tolerance whatsoever for anti-Semites and bigots of  any type."

‍Antisemitic graffiti scrawled on CBC building in Halifax.

2. CBC Building in Halifax Vandalized with Antisemitic Graffiti 

FSWC is horrified by the antisemitic vandalism of a CBC building in Halifax, which features the phrase "CBC=Juden" and a Star of David with a cross through it. The Halifax Regional Police has confirmed that the antisemitic graffiti scrawled on the CBC building is being investigated after a passerby reported it on Tuesday. According to a spokesperson for the Halifax Regional Police, the investigation is ongoing and "any determination on the sections of  the criminal code that apply would be through the course of the investigation."

3. FSWC Condemns Two Antisemitic Incidents at Toronto Jewish School

FSWC has learned about  antisemitic incidents that took place at a Toronto Jewish school on Monday. According to an email sent to parents of students at the Eitz Chaim Patricia campus, two antisemitic incidents occurred in the school's play area. The first incident took place during lunch recess, during  which time a group of people walked by throwing rocks at middle school students who were in the play area. The second incident likely took place during after-school hours and involved swastikas being scratched onto asphalt  in the same play area. The school's administration has reported both  incidents to police, who responded and have taken photos, statements and opened a file. The swastikas have since been removed. FSWC has reached  out to the school to offer assistance in handling the situation.

‍Satellite image of what US State Department described as a building modified to support a crematorium.

4. US State Department: Syria Using Crematorium to Hide Evidence of Mass Killings of Prisoners

The US State Department is alleging that the Syrian regime, led by Dictator Bashar al-Assad, has constructed and is using a crematorium at a large military prison complex  near Damascus to secretly dispose of the bodies of murdered political prisoners - a harrowing  throwback to the tactics used by the Nazi Germans during the Holocaust. The  US Assistant Secretary of State, Stuart Jones, told media that "if you have that level of production of mass murder, then using the crematorium would allow the regime to manage that number of corpses without evidence. We believe that the building of a crematorium is an effort to cover up the extent of mass murders taking place in Sednaya prison." The US State Department has also provided the media and public with satellite pictures of  the site of the alleged crematorium.

5. Canadian Senate Passes Canadian Jewish Heritage Month Act

FSWC is pleased to hear about  yesterday's unanimous passage of the Canadian Jewish Heritage Month Act by the Senate of Canada. Bill S-232 recognizes May as Canadian Jewish Heritage Month, legislation which mirrors legislation passed in the Province of Ontario and the Congressional Resolution and Presidential Proclamation in the US.

"It is my hope that with the establishment of Canadian Jewish Heritage Month, all Canadians will have  the opportunity to learn about the culture and history of Jewish Canadians, appreciate the integral role that the Jewish community has played in shaping Canada, while also accepting that the challenge of mutual understanding and  compassion is ongoing and everlasting," Senator Linda Frum stated during  her speech at Third Reading.

The House of Commons will now debate and study the Canadian Jewish Heritage Month Act - which will be sponsored by Michael Levitt, Member of Parliament for York Centre.

6. FSWC at Work

FSWC's annual Spirit  of Hope Gala is nearly  here! This year's gala features former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney  and our keynote speaker, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom  David Cameron. Our annual gala helps support FSWC's ground-breaking  initiatives such as the state-of-the-art, award-winning, mobile learning classroom - the Tour for Humanity - our tolerance and diversity training workshops for government officials and front-line public service workers such as local  police and teachers, and our community support and awareness campaigns.

PHILANTHROPY CORNER

FSWC is a designated Canadian charitable organization that provides tax receipts for charitable contributions. A donation to FSWC is tax deductible and provides an incredible footprint of direct action in our community. If you want to change lives and provide for positive community development, consider extending your philanthropy to Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center this fall. Make it count.

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