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Press Release: Toronto Jewish Community Raises Concerns About Massive Spike In Local Antisemitism

May 28, 2021 | Antisemitism, Press Releases, Toronto

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Toronto, ON – Today, UJA Federation of Greater Toronto and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) urged authorities to take strong, concrete action in response to a documented rise in antisemitism targeting the local Jewish community over the past month.

More than 50 antisemitic incidents have been reported to-date in May – five times the previous monthly average for 2021 – according to a new report by UJA Community Security. This five-fold spike in reported antisemitic incidents in the GTA is clearly tied to recent, renewed hostilities between Israel and Hamas, and the resulting increase in anti-Israel activism across Canada.

In an unprecedented decision, UJA Community Security has decided to publicly release this data in a report containing real examples of incidents submitted by community members through UJA Community Security’s 24/7 hotline and website.

Disturbing examples of these recent antisemitic incidents include:

  • Hateful graffiti targeting the parking lot of a synagogue and Jewish daycare;
  • A Jewish customer verbally harassed and chased out of a retail business for being Jewish;
  • A Jewish father and his young child verbally harassed on the street with antisemitic slurs, including comments that they should have been “gassed” and “burned”;
  • Mock eviction notices posted on the doors of multiple Jewish homes, as part of an anti-Israel boycott campaign
  • A family verbally harassed by occupants of a vehicle flying a Palestinian flag, calling the family “baby killers”.

“Over the past few weeks, we have seen a critical mass of incidents that overwhelmingly confirm that our Toronto Jewish community has experienced an alarming surge in antisemitism,” says Adam Minsky, President & CEO of UJA Federation of Greater Toronto.

 

“This isn’t the first time that escalations in the Israel-Hamas conflict have been used as an excuse to spread hatred of Jews. But the volume and vicious nature of the recent incidents we’ve seen right here in our city should be a wake-up call for all Canadians. As UJA Community Security continues working to protect our community in close cooperation with police, we encourage community members to adopt a sense of healthy vigilance. If you see something concerning, please say something.”

 

“We are witnessing a dangerous rise in antisemitism manifesting in our communities as well as in online spaces, where we are spending a significant amount of time due to the pandemic,” said Noah Shack, GTA Vice President at the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA).

 

“History has taught us that what starts with Jews, never ends with Jews. Combating antisemitism is not only about protecting Jews; it is essential to insulating all of us from the threat hatred poses to the very fabric of our society.”

 

“We are calling for the Government of Canada to convene an emergency summit on antisemitism to bring together all levels of government to address this troubling situation. We need a true all-of-government effort to establish a comprehensive program to combat Jew-hatred – the oldest and most enduring hate the world has ever experienced.”

UJA Federation of Greater Toronto’s mission is to preserve and strengthen the quality of Jewish life in Greater Toronto, Canada, Israel, and around the world through philanthropic, volunteer, and professional leadership. UJA works to alleviate poverty and vulnerability in the local community; build and strengthen Jewish identity and education; invest in programs in Israel and overseas; and counter antisemitism and other forms of hate in Canadian society – while also creating infrastructure throughout the GTA that benefits the Jewish community and local residents of all backgrounds.

Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is the advocacy agent of Canada’s Jewish Federations, including UJA Federation of Greater Toronto

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Information:

The full report by UJA Community Security may be accessed here.

In response to reported incidents, UJA Community Security follows up with witnesses and victims to verify details, provide security advice, and ensure proper criminal reporting. Community members are encouraged to immediately call 911 if they are in danger or if they witness a possible crime in progress. Once in a safe location, we ask community members to contact police and then UJA Community Security. UJA Community Security remains in ongoing communication with local law enforcement about reported incidents as well as efforts to coordinate security measures in our community.

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