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Friday, March 7, 2003
ANTISEMITIC INCIDENTS IN CANADA UP BY OVER 60%

ANTISEMITIC INCIDENTS IN CANADA UP BY OVER 60%
League for Human Rights releases statistics for 2002
Toronto, March 6, 2003
For Immediate Release

Toronto, March 6, 2003 - The League for Human Rights of B'nai Brith Canada
has just released the 2002 Audit of Antisemitic Incidents, its annual study
of patterns of prejudice in this country. The Audit indicates that
antisemitic activity in Canada is on the rise, with a 60.48% increase
country-wide compared to 2001. In total, 459 incidents were reported which
is the highest number in the twenty-year history of the Audit. In the past
five years alone, the number of incidents has more than doubled. In 2002,
282 (62%) of these incidents were classed as harassment, 148 (32%) as
vandalism and 29 (6%) as violence. While incidents were reported across the
country, the most significant statistics were collected in Quebec and
Ontario, areas of residence for the majority of Canadian Jews. In Ontario as
a whole there were 329 incidents, 217 of which took place in the Greater
Toronto Area (GTA). In Quebec there were 89 incidents, of which 87 took
place in Greater Montreal.

Rochelle Wilner, National President of B'nai Brith Canada, commented: "The
findings of the 2002 Audit are alarming. In addition to the marked rise in
incidents, there is a disquieting trend towards violence. 29 cases of
physical assault is 29 cases too many. We want to know why the anti-racist
community in Canada remains so silent about antisemitism."

Frank Dimant, Executive Vice President, noted: "The first important step is
to understand the reality and not to sink into a denial mode. The Jewish
community must call on its friends to ensure that antisemitic remarks and
actions are simply not tolerated in any segment of Canadian society, be it
in parliament, the media , academia or on the streets. In order to
effectively fight all forms of antisemitism, community members should come
forward to report all incidents by calling B'nai Brith's confidential
Anti-Hate Hotline at 1-800-892-BNAI (2624)."

ADDITIONAL DATA ON THE 2002 AUDIT
In regional Ontario outside the GTA and Ottawa, there were 69 cases compared
to 46 in 2001. This represents a 50% increase in antisemitic incidents.
These incidents included serious acts of harassment, distribution of hate
propaganda, acts of vandalism and physical assaults. There were 217
incidents in the GTA, including death threats, bomb threats, physical
assaults, anthrax scares with a hate/bias orientation, serious acts of
vandalism and cemetery desecrations. This marked a 87% increase in reported
antisemitic incidents in the GTA over the 2001 figure of 116. There were 43
reported antisemitic incidents in Ottawa, including graffiti, vandalism and
threatening e-mails and two cases of physical assault. This represents an
increase of 79% compared to the 2001 figures. The League received reports of
87 antisemitic incidents in Greater Montreal, which represents an increase
of 11.5% over the 2001 figures. Although the percentage increase is less
marked than in other areas of the country, 14% of the total incidents in the
Montreal area were violent acts, compared to 6% for all of Canada. An
additional 2 incidents were reported in regional Quebec in 2002, including
the firebombing of Quebec City's only synagogue, representing an increase of
7.2%. In Winnipeg, 23 incidents were reported compared to 6 in 2001. 5
incidents were reported in British Columbia, 4 in Vancouver and 1 in
Victoria. This is the same level of activity as in 2001. There were 6
incidents reported in Alberta and 4 in Saskatchewan, whereas in 2001 there
were 5 reports antisemitic incidents in 2001 for both provinces combined.
There were 3 reported antisemitic incidents in the Maritimes in 2002,
compared to just 1 in the previous year. One involved Right wing activities
in Prince Edward Island, the others took place in Newfoundland and Nova
Scotia.

-30-

For further comment, Joseph Ben-Ami, Director of Communications at
613-294-7313

B'nai Brith has been active in Canada since 1875 as the community's foremost
advocacy and volunteer organization.
http://www.bnaibrith.ca/

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