After synagogues targeted, Trudeau says ‘no place’ for anti-Semitism in Canada
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After synagogues targeted, Trudeau says ‘no place’ for anti-Semitism in Canada

Police open investigation into identical swastika pictures sent to Jewish houses of worship in Toronto, Montreal, Hamilton, Edmonton and several other sites

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaking during a press conference on the last day of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Lima, November 20, 2016. (AFP/RAFAEL ZARAUZ)
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaking during a press conference on the last day of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Lima, November 20, 2016. (AFP/RAFAEL ZARAUZ)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded Tuesday to a spate of hate mail sent to several synagogues in Canada over the weekend, saying that there was “no place” for anti-Semitism in the country.

“Sending my full support to the Canadian Jewish community,” Trudeau wrote on Twitter, linking to an article about the incidents.

“These recent acts of hatred & anti-Semitism have no place in our country and we will not tolerate it,” he wrote.

Canadian police have opened an investigation into hate mail sent at least five synagogues across the country.

B’nai Brith Canada said Monday that synagogues in Toronto, Montreal, Hamilton and Edmonton received identical letters featuring a swastika inside a bleeding Star of David with the phrase “Jewry must perish.”

A number of further incidents have not been reported, police said Tuesday, according to local news reports.

“It’s scary. It’s obviously a hate letter,” Julian Lewin, executive director of Shaare Zedek in Montreal, told Radio-Canada.

Michael Mostyn, chief executive officer of B’nai Brith Canada, warned of a resurgence of anti-Semitic vandalism across the country.

“Sadly, we’ve seen the swastika make something of a comeback this year, defacing the walls of high schools, university campuses, and public property,” he said in a statement. “Today, it is more imperative than ever that we condemn this symbol of racism and hatred.”

Anti-Semitic hate mail sent to synagogues in Toronto, Montreal, Hamilton and Edmonton on December 18, 2017. (B’nai Brith Canada)

The letters coincide with the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, which began December 12 and ends the evening of December 20.

Earlier this year, B’nai Brith Canada reported that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the country was record-high in 2016, rising by 26 percent over the previous year.

According to the group’s annual audit that was released in May, B’nai Brith recorded 1,728 anti-Semitic incidents in 2016, compared to 1,277 incidents in 2015. The previous record of 1,627 incidents was set in 2014.

The audit attributed the increase in anti-Semitic incidents, including Holocaust denial, to anti-Zionist activism on social media and on college campuses along with anti-Israel sentiment found in some Arabic newspapers.

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