B'nai Brith Canada claims the recession is behind what it claims is a marked increase in anti-Semitism in this country.
"Any time there's bad economic times, the Jews get blamed for it," said Marvin Kurz, national legal counsel for B'nai Brith Canada, which released yesterday an audit of reports of anti-Semitic incidents made to the group.
"The ancient tie between Jews and money that predates Shakespeare and Shylock continues to be stuck in some aspect of our collective memories."
In the audit released, B'nai Brith stated that anti-Semitic incidents in Canada jumped by 8.9 per cent last year to 1,135, a high for the 27 years the group has recorded the reports. Almost half, 547, were in the last four months of the year as the economy worsened.
Define "incident." With the new, improved and vastly expanded definition of "anti-Semitic" that includes legitimate criticism of Israel's policies toward the Palestinians. Having blamed the increase of anti-Semitism on the recession, Mr. Kurtz seemed to trip and stumble when he then blamed it on anger toward Israel:
"Whenever something happens in Israel, anti-Semitism in Canada and around the world increases," added Kurz.
Middle East tensions – often a trigger for anti-Semitic behaviour in past years – were largely absent throughout the fall, the audit states. However, once fighting broke out in Gaza in December, there was another spike in incidents.
Across Canada, there were 151 incidents in December, 70 of which coincided with fighting in Gaza and 36 of which occurred in the closing days of the year, as tensions in the war-torn area heightened.
...In the audit, B'nai Brith calls for tougher restrictions on racist groups and their symbols, and suggests that racist motivations be given greater prominence during the investigation of a crime, rather than just at sentencing.