Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Anti-Semitic posters raise alarm

Names of 13 people crossed off

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An alarming variation on last month's anti-Semitic posters has appeared in the heart of downtown -- this time with the names of 13 people crossed off.

Featuring a reference to Hitler embellished with a dollar sign, the poster on a pole in the middle of Broadway lists 13 people -- most of them Jewish -- and talks about cliques, corruption and organized crime.

"That, to me, links it to anti-Semitism," David Matas, senior counsel to B'nai Brith, said Friday night. "The police have to take this very seriously."

Matas said police have had plenty of time to track down who's doing it, especially since the person allegedly responsible has been on the Internet trying to justify his actions.

"That should be traceable. It looks to me as though the police have not caught the culprits and shut down the operation," Matas said.

The man who spotted the poster near the front of the federal tax office said he couldn't believe what he was looking at.

"It perhaps has escalated," he said, requesting anonymity.

He said people were walking by the pole, but no one else appeared to be looking at the poster or even noticing it.

"It caught my eye," said the man, who has not noticed any others in the immediate area. "I looked closer, and I removed it. It needed to get in the right hands. I didn't want something like that attacking me and my people in a public place."

Similar posters first appeared in mid-September, coinciding with the Rosh Hashanah Jewish new year holiday.

"It was similar, except that the names were crossed out," the man said. "I took that as a threat -- a physical threat, a political threat. I knew it was something very serious.

"I'm troubled by the note, which is awful. It identifies hate speech towards an identifiable minority," he said, noting he has contacted B'nai Brith, the Jewish human rights organization, and will be taking the poster to police.

"It's a very odd list of names," added Matas. "Some of those people don't live in Winnipeg."

Matas said everyone on the list appears to have had a business link to Mayor Sam Katz at some point. If someone has been searching business records at the provincial companies branch, that would be recorded and available to police, Matas said.

Some people could interpret the crossing off of the names as a threat, Matas said.

The man who found it said B'nai Brith had told him he was not the first person to alert the organization to the new posters.

"I don't want my name to be mixed up in it, because I don't want to be a target," he said.

The man said he does not admire the politics of some of the people on the list, but is angered they appear to be targeted because they are Jewish.

"I visited Auschwitz (Nazi concentration camp) and the Krakow ghetto," the man said. "Could this be my city?"

Winnipeg Police Service spokesmen were not available for comment late Friday afternoon.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 13, 2012 A3


Updated on Saturday, October 13, 2012 at 1:12 PM CDT: replaces photo

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