TORONTO (JTA) – Recorded anti-Semitic incidents reached an all-time high in Canada last year, indicates the annual audit released by B’nai Brith Canada (BBC).
The yearly tally, released June 11, shows there were 1,627 reported anti-Semitic incidents in 2014, a 28 per cent increase over the year before.
The previous record was 1,345 incidents in 2012.
Most cases last year – 84 per cent or 1,370 incidents – involved harassment; there were 238 reported incidents of vandalism, or 15 per cent of all cases; and one per cent of recorded incidents, or 19 cases, involved violence.
Reported incidents of vandalism in 2014 declined over the year before by nearly 40 percent. But cases of harassment increased by nearly 30 percent.
Overall, most incidents – 961 – were in Ontario, followed by Quebec and Atlantic Canada at 259. That is “consistent with years past,” BBC stated.
Canada saw “dramatic spikes” in anti-Semitic activity in July and December, coinciding with the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers and July’s Israeli ground offensive against Palestinian militants in Gaza.
The summer incidents “mirror what has occurred in previous years when Israel is in a state of conflict,” the audit stated.
The spike in December was expected, said the audit, as white supremacist groups began their annual campaign accusing Jews of mounting an attack on Christmas. Much of the December activity was online.
Canada’s overall increase in anti-Semitic incidents is consistent with data gathered by other human rights organizations around the world, including the U.S.-based Anti-Defamation League, which reported a 21 per cent rise over the previous year, BBC noted.
In 2014, “a clear pattern emerged. It has become too easy to deny anti-Semitism, as long as it is reframed under the legitimizing veil of anti-Zionism,” said Michael Mostyn, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada.
It’s also important to consider technology, the group added.
“The landscape for spreading anti-Semitic messages has grown exponentially, so it is only reasonable to expect the actual number of incidents to have increased along with it.”