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Anti-Semitic violence, harassment increased in Manitoba last year: report

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Manitoba stood out in Canada for anti-Semitic acts of violence, according to an annual report released Monday.

The annual audit on anti-Semitism compiled by The League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith in Canada stated that reports of violence against Jews dropped nationally but rose in Manitoba.

The report counted three cases of violence here, including an incident in which a Jewish high school student’s hair was set on fire with a lighter.

The report also singled out for mention other cases, including photos where five students posed with graffiti including swastikas they drew on a vehicle outside a Winnipeg public school.

By comparison, there were no cases of violence anywhere in the province in 2010 and two in 2009.

Manitoba also departed from the national trend in other ways. Acts of harassment dropped nationally but rose in Manitoba, while vandalism rose elsewhere but dropped off in Manitoba.

In Manitoba there were 78 reported cases last year, compared to 60 in 2010.

Nationally there were 1,297 reports of acts motivated by hate, including harassment, vandalism and violence.

"The overarching finding of the report demonstrates a sustained, ongoing undercurrent of anti-Jewish bias in Canada, with appalling instances of harassment, vandalism and even violence," Frank Dimant, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada, in a statement Monday.

The report painted a dismal year for anti-Semitism in Canada even though reports dipped slightly across the country. They were down 0.7 per cent from the previous year, but the drop was considered so minimal, that B’nai Brith concluded the level of anti-Semitism in Canada remains at record levels.

"The 2011 findings clearly indicate that anti-Semitism in Canada has continued in elevated levels unabated," the executive summary with the report read.

B’nai Brith Canada’s annual Audit has been recognized for the past thirty years as an authoritative study of patterns of prejudice in the country.

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