Canadian police have opened an investigation into a spate of anti-Semitic hate mail sent to several synagogues in Canada over the weekend.
B’nai Brith Canada said synagogues in Toronto, Montreal, Hamilton and Edmonton received identical letters featuring a swastika inside inside a bleeding Star of David with the phrase “Jewry must perish.”
“It’s scary. It’s obviously a hate letter,” Julian Lewin, executive director of Shaare Zedek in Montreal, told Radio-Canada on Sunday.
Michael Mostyn, chief executive officer of B’nai Brith Canada, warned of the 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,” Mostyn said in a statement. “Today, it is more imperative than ever that we condemn this symbol of racism and hatred.”
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 Canada set a record in 2016, rising by 26 percent from 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.