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Jews ‘most targeted’ in 2019, according to Toronto hate crime report

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Slight increase seen in hate crimes from 137 in 2018 to 139 in 2019

By ILANIT CHERNICK

Nearly a third of all hate crimes reported in the Canadian city of Toronto over 2019 were antisemitic, a new report has said.

According to the Toronto Police Service, which issued its “Annual Hate Crime Statistical Report,” there was a slight increase in hate crimes from 137 in 2018 to 139 in 2019, 32% of which were antisemitic in nature.

The report stated that 44 out of the 139 incidents were antisemitic.

The report highlighted that In 2019, the Jewish community, followed by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community, the Black community, and the Muslim community were the most frequently victimized groups. 

“The three most frequently reported criminal offences motivated by hate in 2019 were mischief to property, assault and utter threats,” it said. “The Jewish community was the most frequently victimized group for mischief to property and utter threat occurrences.”

Following the release of the statistics, Canada’s Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) said that Toronto’s Jewish community constitutes “a tiny fraction of the city’s population but was the most frequently targeted group for hate crime.” 

CIJA made it clear that York Regional Police, which published its hate crime data in late April, reported similar trends. 

“The Jewish community was the victim of more than 70% of all hate crimes motivated by religion and of more than 30% of hate crimes overall,” the Jewish group said. “Hate crimes targeting the Jewish community in York Region rose 38% from 2018.”

In response to the report, Barbara Bank, CIJA Toronto chairwoman said in a statement that “sadly, these statistics are no surprise to members of the Jewish community in Toronto.” 

She pointed out that year after year, Jewish Torontonians are the most frequently targeted group when it comes to hate crime. 

“Whether the immediate targets of hate are individuals or community institutions, these crimes leave a lasting, harmful impact on victims and the broader community,” Bank stressed.

She said that Canadian leaders at all levels of government “should be deeply troubled by the most recent hate crime data. 

“We must be vigilant against hate as a society, knowing that what starts with Jews never ends with Jews,” Bank continued. “It is time to take action to protect all Canadians from the dangers of hate.”

She called on all Members of Provincial Parliament to support Bill 168: An Act to Combat Antisemitism, “which empowers government agencies to more effectively address the threat of contemporary antisemitism.”

Bank concluded that by doing so they “affirm their commitment to combating antisemitism.”

B’nai Brit Canada’s CEO Michael Mostyn commented on the matter saying: “We are sad to see that the trends we’ve been warning of for some time now are coming to fruition, and the alarming rise of antisemitism is continuing to expand.”

He urged the Canadian government to recognize the urgency of the problem and to “combat antisemitism immediately.” 

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