Anti-semitism has been getting worse over the last couple of years on the prairies.
The regional director of Manitoba’s B’nai Brith, Dr. Ruth Ashrafi, tells Global News in Manitoba and Saskatchewan there was a 125 percent increase from 2020 to 2021, with 228 last year compared to 101 in 2020.
And while there’s no numbers yet for 2022, Ashrafi says she’s observing a concerning amount.
“What I see is swastikas on businesses and there are so many Facebook posts and websites with anti-semitic statements, such as ‘Jews are responsible for COVID’, or ‘The Holocaust never happened’ or “Jews control the media, they own the banks.’”
Dr. Ashrafi says 56 percent of reported hate crimes against religious minorities are directed at Jews in Canada, even though they only make up 1.25 percent of the population.
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Winnipeg Rabbi Kliel Rose thinks the rise could be due to the economic challenges around the country.
“There’s often a correlation between that issue and the rise in anti-semitism, which is really unfortunate,” said Rabbi Rose.
He says there’s a great deal of fear and worry in the Jewish community and says they’re looking for solutions within.
“What do we need to do as a Jewish community to help combat some of this? Instead of becoming defensive, can we be constructive and reach out to our allies and have them support and call out some of the anti-semitism we’re starting to notice in a serious way.”
As for what those outside the Jewish community can do, Rabbi Rose says they need to be mindful of the language they use.
“What are some of the anti-semitic tropes that they hold on to? What are those bad jokes and the humour that comes at the expense of Jewish people? Can we identify these statements and reframe how we talk about Jews and really be more conscious of what comes out of our mouths?”
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