Fewer anti-Semitic incidents in 2022, but more cases of vandalism
Swastikas on the facade of the Bagg Street Shul Synagogue, March 28, 2023.
In 2022, there were nearly 13% fewer anti-Semitic incidents in Quebec compared to the previous year, according to data from the Jewish organization B’nai Brith, which has been documenting everything since 1982. With 722 events listed, this still makes it the second worst year in terms of anti-Semitic episodes, just after the year 2021, when 828 cases were recorded.
“There has been an improvement in terms of anti-Semitic incidents in Quebec, but let's say that we are not jumping for joy when we see the numbers,” said B’nai Brith national director Marvin Rotrand. While instances of harassment, online violence and physical violence have decreased compared to 2021, instances of vandalism have increased from 24 to 34, according to our report. There are still some today elsewhere.”
He mentions as an example the vandalism by graffiti of swastikas on the Bagg Street Shul synagogue, the oldest in Quebec, located at the corners of Clark and Bagg streets in Montreal. Mr. Rotrand recalls that solutions exist to raise public awareness of anti-Semitism and that Quebec could adopt some now.
A definition of anti-Semitism
In addition to making courses on the Holocaust mandatory in elementary and secondary schools in Quebec, B’nai Brith suggests that Quebec adopt a law in which we find the universal definition of anti-Semitism. This is what is enacted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHMA), a group of governments and experts working to strengthen and promote education, memory and Holocaust research.
“Although Canada is a member country of the AIMH, Quebec could do more and legislate by adopting the definition of the AIMH in order to have a common vision on anti-Semitism. By adopting a law to this effect, a special envoy could offer training to various public authorities, such as the police, so that they are more aware of this issue and can target anti-Semitic acts more quickly. We would be on the same wavelength on what is anti-Semitism and what is not.
Mr. Rotrand emphasizes that his organization has good relations with the Government of Quebec. “There is a consensus against anti-Semitism here. We will continue to work to fight against anti-Semitism, and it is too early to declare victory,” he adds.
AIMH’s working definition of antisemitism
Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews that may manifest as hatred towards them. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism target Jewish and non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, community institutions and places of worship.