Audit records dip in anti-Semitic incidents in Canada, larger decrease in Manitoba

A yearly audit found Manitoba recorded a higher decrease in anti-Semitic incidents than the national average, but the level of hate against Jewish Canadians remains ‘unacceptably high.’

The Annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents is a probe B’nai Brith Canada’s League for Human Rights has conducted since 1982.

The 2022 data revealed 2,769 recorded anti-Semitic incidents across Canada, which was a 1.1 per cent decrease from the year before. It is also the first year-over-year decrease since 2015, when the audit reported a 21.5 per cent decline from 2014.

Numbers are notably lower in the Prairies and Nunavut, with 67 incidents in total, which represents about a 70 per cent decrease from 2021, which recorded 228 incidents.

Fifty-one incidents were recorded in Manitoba in 2022, the audit found.

“Winnipeg is actually a good news story,” said B’nai Brith regional director Ruth Ashrafi.

She notes the provincial government’s adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism could have played a part in deterring such incidents.

However, the numbers across the country and here in our province are still disturbing.

“Jews, unfortunately, also here in Manitoba, are still the most targeted ethnic and religious minority,” Ashrafi said.

To compile the data, the organization contacted 92 police departments across Canada and consulted organizations that monitor hate. The report notes audits of this kind will inevitably be an undercount as some incidents will be missed.

Quebec and Ontario accounted for the highest number of incidents in 2021, while the Atlantic provinces had the lowest rate of incidents.

The report said this is commensurate with historical trends, given that the largest and smallest Jewish communities in Canada are concentrated in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada, respectively.

Ashrafi said these incidents happen primarily online, though in-person harassment and violence are still prevalent.

“These platforms do not control themselves very well, as we also know, so that is quite disturbing, and we need to do something about that.”

Sample incidents from Winnipeg show anti-Semitic graffiti on a Taylor Avenue sidewalk in July 2022, as well as the toppling of 79 headstones at the Congregation Shaarey Zedek’s cemetery.

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