We wish to introduce End Jew Hatred Canada to all members of the Senate and ask for your attention to the importance of combatting the virus of antisemitism. All of Parliament, and its constituent parts must work together. This is not a partisan issue, not just a government issue, nor is it just an issue that affects the Jewish communities across Canada. Jew hatred affects the very fabric of our society and is a threat to the safety of our democracy. We welcome the opportunity to work with every member of the Senate to End Jew Hatred.
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of Antisemitism, adopted by Canada states: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” This hallmark definition includes 9 principles, several of which relate to the denigration, demonization and double-standard applied to the only Jewish state, the ancient homeland of the Jewish people, the State of Israel. The definition is an important tool in combating this hatred.
There has been a disturbing increase in attacks and harassment against Jews and the Jewish community in Canada paralleling a frightening trend around the world. Despite the fact that Jews in Canada make up only 1.2% of the population, the community experiences 30% of religious-based hatred and abuse. All too often there is an unspoken acceptance of antisemitism which is affecting many societal sectors. Today anti-Zionism, as set out in the IHRA definition, is the cover for much of the Jew hatred we are experiencing. Today, lies and bigotry against Israel, whether coming from the extreme left, the extreme right, or Islamism, translate into Jew hatred.
When Israel was attacked by Hamas forces in Gaza this past spring, we heard from Jewish individuals and families regarding a deep concern about their safety as acts of hate were rampant on our streets. Jews reached out to us and asked if it was safe to be a visible Jew on the streets of Canada. Children asked their parents to remove the mezuzahs (mezuzot Heb.) marking their homes as Jewish out of fear. Vandalizing and desecrating Jewish homes and institutions by destroying mezuzahs is not a new phenomenon by any means. In 2017, Toronto apartment dwellers were terrorized by repeated attacks on their doorposts. Each year police record such vandalism in their hate crime reports. In August 2021, Jewish university students in the US were harassed by fellow students when their mezuzahs were regularly torn down from their housing units. This has raised fear of the same by Canadian Jewish students.
So, we turn to you as one of our senators to put combatting Jew Hatred at the top of your agenda. By doing so you will be upholding the highest of Canadian values including respect for diversity, religious freedom, and human dignity. Will you speak out against Jew Hatred?
As you begin to fulfill your new mandate, we ask that you ACT UP by:
speaking out against antisemitism and Jew Hatred whenever you see it and supporting legislation to counter it;
ensuring that the IHRA definition is adopted and incorporated at all levels of Government and in every facet of society.
Enclosed in your package you will find a mezuzah case. Placing the mezuzah on the doorpost of a Jewish home is an ancient Jewish practice going back to the Torah, marking the home with a blessing and a commitment to one’s faith, culture and peoplehood. We view it as an important reminder of Jewish pride and resilience over thousands of years, and also reject any acts to remove it through intimidation.
Will you take a moment to hold up the mezuzah and send us a picture with a message that you
pledge to Act Up against Jew Hatred,
commit to defy and shut down the oldest, most vile and dangerous of hatreds,
will do all in your power to ensure that Jews in Canada can live openly and proudly?
Please join us in this fight against antisemitism, and support Jewish pride and dignity. We will share all the postings and messages from those who commit to Act Up against Jew Hatred and join the movement to End Jew Hatred once and for all.
With your help we believe it can be done.
Andria Spindel & Anita Bromberg, Co-Chairs
End Jew Hatred Canada