Antisemitism on rise during election campaign, Jewish human rights group says

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A Jewish human rights organization says it has seen a rise in antisemitic vandalism coinciding with the federal election.

B’nai Brith Canada says the Beth Sholom Synagogue in midtown Toronto was vandalized with a swastika symbol and other graffiti.

In a similar incident earlier this week, the campaign signs of two Jewish MPs running for re-election in Montreal were defaced with swastikas.

B’nai Brith Canada says a sign drawing awareness to antisemitism in Toronto was also vandalized with antisemitic rhetoric Wednesday.

And a school in a Jewish neighbourhood in Thornhill, Ont., was hit with swastikas and other obscene graffiti on Monday.

Police in Toronto, Montreal and York Region say they are investigating the incidents.

"The continued use of the Nazi swastika in an attempt to intimidate Jewish communities is reprehensible and unacceptable," said Michael Mostyn, chief executive officer of B’nai Brith Canada, in a statement.

"We trust that our law enforcement partners will investigate these matters diligently and do everything possible to apprehend the perpetrators."

B'Nai Brith also said that May had the highest number of antisemitic assaults since it began keeping track in 1983.

"More antisemitic assaults were reported to B'nai Brith in May of 2021 than in all of 2020, 2019 and 2018 combined," the organization said.

It also noted that incidents of antisemitism "tend to increase during election campaigns in Canada, whether federal or provincial."

The federal election is set for Sept. 20.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 19, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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