Toronto

Anti-Semitism reports rising: B'nai Brith

B'nai Brith Canada says reports of anti-Semitic incidents in Canada are on the rise.

Incidents of anti-Semitism in Canada are at an all-time high since B'nai Brith Canada began its annual audit 28 years ago, the group said Wednesday.

The group's League for Human Rights found there were a total of 1,264 incidents reported across the country in 2009, an 11 per cent increase over the previous year.

"We note that the highest number of incidents ... occurred in January 2009, coinciding with the war in Gaza," B'nai Brith Canada executive vice-president Frank Dimant said.

"This is a pattern elsewhere in the world as well."

Unlike Europe where the anti-Jewish incidents began to decline in February and March, Dimant said anti-Semitic incidents in Canada remained high throughout the year.

"We are also concerned about the spike in incidents in September during the high holiday period," he said.

"Ten synagogues were vandalized, including four in Quebec in one night."

According to the audit, there were 884 cases of harassment and 348 incidents of vandalism nationwide in 2009. There were also 32 incidents of violence — double the number reported in the previous year.

Fifty incidents targeting synagogues were reported, 48 cases involved incidents in the workplace and 73 involved schools.

The largest number of hate incidents occurred in the Toronto area which saw 479, followed by Montreal with 319.

The league received 435 reports of web-based hate activity involving Canadians and there were 51 cases of Holocaust denial.

The incidents are reported to a hotline and collected through web-based reporting. The group also has police partners it works with across the country.

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