Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Anti-Semitic incidents down in province in '12

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INCIDENTS of anti-Semitism decreased in Manitoba in 2012, in sharp contrast to the picture nationally and internationally.

There was a 3.7 per cent increase across Canada, and an appalling 30 per cent increase internationally.

Examples of anti-Semitism in Manitoba in 2012

  • A well-known business owned by a visibly Jewish family was vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti.
  • A young girl whose hair was set on fire in a particularly ugly assault in 2011 continued to be victimized via Facebook in 2012.
  • A Rabbi was harassed by a passersby while walking to the local synagogue.
  • A person commenting on a media story about Canada cutting diplomatic ties with Iran called for the Jewish state to be wiped off the map.

"It's down in Manitoba from (2011) but (2011) was much higher than anyone would have hoped," said Lyle Smordin, the local spokesman for B'nai Brith.

The national organization reported in its annual audit of anti-Semitic incidents, a 28 per cent decline in the number of reported cases of anti-Semitism in Manitoba: 56 cases in 2012 compared with 78 cases in 2011.

Most of the incidents took place in Winnipeg.

The Manitoba situation contrasts with the national average, which saw a 3.7 per cent increase in hate incidents against the Jewish community, the audit found.

"The fact that it is down in Manitoba is insignificant due to the fact that in Canada it increased by some 30 per cent and especially out east in Quebec," Smordin said. "This is reflective of what is happening in Europe where increases have gone really out of sight."

The report states that across Manitoba in 2012, there were 39 cases of harassment, 16 cases of vandalism and one case of violence.

Included in the national survey is a poster incident in downtown Winnipeg. A copy of the first poster written and distributed by blogger Gordon Warren is included in the annual report.

Warren accused Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz and 12 other business people — all but one of whom are Jewish — of being involved in a criminal conspiracy to loot city hall and called on police authorities to investigate their actions.

Businessmen brothers Sandy and Robert Shindleman, two of the individuals named in the posters, have sued Warren for defamation and recently obtained an injunction prohibiting Warren from communicating about them or their company.

The annual report criticizes the lack of criminal charge against Warren.

Another 2012 incident involved a business owned by a Jewish family being vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 25, 2013 A11

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Updated on Thursday, April 25, 2013 at 9:30 AM CDT: adds factbox

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