Jews remain most targeted religious group in 2021

New data shows Jews remain the religious group most targeted by hate crimes. 

Locally, 2021 data from Ottawa Police Service show that hate crime motivation against Jews is up 60 per cent, with 64 reported incidents. In total, local hate crimes are up 43.6 per cent, to 280 incidents from 181. 

In 2021, hate crimes across Canada increased by 27 per cent, up to 3,360 incidents from 2,646 incidents in 2020, according to a recent report from Statistics Canada. The jump from 2019 to 2020 was another 36 per cent. Non-violent hate crimes increased by 26 per cent, and violent hate crimes increased by 29 per cent. 

Police-reported hate crimes targeting Jews alone were up 47 per cent. There were 487 reported hate crimes against Jews in 2021. 

Jewish Federation of Ottawa CEO Andrea Freedman called the treatment of Jewish people a “litmus test” for how much hate a society will tolerate. 

“Sadly, this is a test that we are currently failing,” she added. “Antisemitism cloaked as anti-Israel sentiment is openly tolerated by far too many in our society. This has to change as Jews, particularly students attending publicly funded institutions, should feel safe to express all aspects of their identity, including an affinity with our ancestral homeland, Israel."

According to the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, Canadian Jews are statistically 10 times more likely to report being the target of a hate crime than any other Canadian religious minority. 

“This report should be a call to action for all Canadians to stand against antisemitism and all forms of hate. Like the Jewish community, many racialized and minority communities experienced a spike in hate crime last year, further underscoring the need for concerted efforts to stop this worrying trend,” said Shimon Koffler Fogel, CEO of CIJA.

“This disturbing trend clearly proves the need for proactive measures to stop the rising hate targeting diverse Canadians based on their identity.”  

Fogel said the report should be a ‘call to action’ for all Canadians to stand against antisemitism. 

“Although Canada remains one of the best countries in the world in which to be Jewish, or any other minority for that matter, these numbers should concern all Canadians,” he said. “One hate crime is one too many.” 

Freedman pointed to education as key to reversing the trend. 

“The IHRA definition of antisemitism, adopted by both Ontario and Canada, has to be used as a tool on university campuses and in public schools,” she said. “The Jewish Federation of Ottawa, together with our advocacy partner CIJA continues to work tirelessly to work with all levels of government to implement recommendations from the Emergency Summit on antisemitism. There have been some notable successes and more work still to be done."