Jewish Canadians are 10 times more likely than members of any other religious community to be the target of a hate crime.
This startling number came from a Statistics Canada report on police-reported hate crimes, issued this month.
As we have seen in the past, many Canadians will scan this report and dismiss it. We tell ourselves that other groups suffer too. We comfort ourselves that, if only an endless Middle East conflict were resolved, harmony would return at home. Most disturbingly, perhaps we harbour our own prejudices about Jewish people as a collective and believe, consciously or not, that they are not a group with which we need to concern ourselves.
It is often said that antisemitism is a symptom of a more insidious social disorder. This may be true. But it conversely serves as yet another reason to dismiss it as a problem in itself.
Canada is fortunately far more welcoming and safer than many or most other places on earth. But this is a product of concerted action against discrimination and the celebration of differences. It does not happen by accident.
The latest in a litany of evidence about anti-Jewish attitudes and behaviours in Canada calls out for us to act.
A new, grassroots movement of Canadians is standing with our Jewish neighbours against discrimination. In our unions, on our campuses, in our social circles and our places of worship, at our dinner tables and anywhere that presents an opportunity to advance Canadian values of acceptance, we are making our voices heard against antisemitism.
We invite you to learn more and, if you like, to join us at UpstandersCanada.com.
Director, Upstanders Canada