SPVM investigating incident as a hate crime after video posted on social media
MONTREAL, QC – April 27, 2023 – Yesterday, as thousands of Montrealers celebrated Israel’s 75th anniversary at Yom Ha’Atzmaut events and rallies across the city, two male teenagers removed Israeli flags from the fences of Hebrew Foundation School, a private Jewish elementary school in Dollard-des-Ormeaux, and subsequently burned them at a different location. The incident happened at approximately 3:30 p.m., after students had been dismissed for the day. The youths, one seen with a Keffiyeh on his head and the other filming, posted the video of the incident as a Reel on Instagram that evening.
Screenshots from the video posted on Instagram Reels
Upon becoming aware of the incident, school administration informed both the police and Federation CJA’s Community Security Network (CSN). Originally thought just to be an act of vandalism, the social media video revealed the intention, instead, to be one of hate. The SPVM Hate Crime Unit is investigating the incident.
Today, the SPVM and D.D.O. Security will increase their presence around the school and Federation CJA’s CSN volunteers will be deployed in large numbers around Jewish institutions across the city. Federation CJA and the CSN remain in contact with the SPVM to ensure the safety and security of the community.
In response, Eta Yudin, Quebec Vice President, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, released the following comment:
“Yesterday, Montreal’s Jewish community celebrated the 75th anniversary of the founding of the modern state of Israel in the Jewish people’s indigenous homeland. Rising antisemitism across the globe is punctuated by incidents of blatant hatred such as these, reminding the Jewish community of the need for Israel, the world’s only Jewish country, and why it remains as relevant today as it was following thousands of years of persecution, culminating in the Nazi genocide of more than six million Jews in the Holocaust."
“This incident is a sad reminder that youth are being radicalized so young and underscores the need for the Jewish lived experience, antisemitism, and Holocaust education to be included in anti-hate and anti-racism initiatives in schools. Education is one of the most important tools in the fight against hate.”
Yair Szlak, President and CEO, Federation CJA, added:
“We will continue to stand up to hatred. Those who seek to intimidate us with hate and threats of violence will not succeed. Our community will continue to stand proud and strong in the fight against antisemitism and hate.”
Glenn Eisenberg, Executive Director (Interim), Hebrew Foundation School, said:
“Our student’s security and wellbeing are of utmost importance to us. Federation CJA’s Community Security Network has been invaluable during this time, guiding us and providing support to our administration and community, who are shaken by this act of overt Jew-hate.
“We are grateful for the quick response of the SPVM, who are taking this incident very seriously and investigating it as a hate crime. There is no doubt that this was motivated by antisemitism and that the Jewish community was specifically targeted.”
- Statistics Canada police-reported hate crime data for 2021 revealed, once again, Jewish Canadians remain the most targeted religious minority for hate crime and second overall.
- There were ten times more hate crimes against Jews reported than any other religious group across the country.
- In Canada, according to Statistics Canada, on average, more than one hate incident targeted Canada’s Jewish community every single day in 2021, which is more than nine per week or 40 per month.
- Not all hate crimes or incidents of antisemitism are reported or recorded. Not all incidents meet the threshold of a crime, especially in schools, so national hate-crime stats do not accurately reflect total antisemitic incidents.
- Currently, no comprehensive hate incident data for schools are available nationally.
- In 2022, CIJA partnered with the Toronto Holocaust Museum and Facing History & Ourselves Canada to create Unlearn It, a ground-breaking educational resource to support parents and educators in teaching youth how to identify, unlearn, and stand against antisemitism both in person and online.
- Press release: Jewish Community Troubled Over Plea Deal in Case Stemming from May 2021 Threats
- Press release: Clear Conditions to Protect Jewish Community Imposed Against an Individual Behind May 2021 Threats
About the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is the advocacy agent of Jewish Federations across Canada. CIJA is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve and protect Jewish life in Canada through advocacy and to advance the public policy interests of Canada’s organized Jewish community.
About Federation CJA
For over one hundred years, Federation CJA has been at the heart of the organized Jewish community in Montreal. In partnership with a vast network of agencies and organizations locally, nationally, and internationally, Federation CJA builds and sustains this community by providing leadership and by supporting the delivery of services and programs to care for the vulnerable and those in need, to ensure a bright Jewish future, to represent communal interests, and to positively affect issues in the wider society.
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