LEVY: COVID-19 blamed on Jews and Israel, says B’nai Brith
Jews are being blamed by anti-Semites in Canada and the rest of the world for the coronavirus pandemic, B’nai Brith officials confirmed with a note of sadness Monday.
Allegations include the “utterly false” notion that the state of Israel developed the virus and is “deliberately spreading it around the world” to boost their pharmaceutical industry and that the Orthodox Jewish community is “deliberately” trying to spread it, said Ran Ukashi, national director of the League for Human Rights.
He said Zoom bombing has also occurred in the past two months as synagogues try to observe religious rituals or festivals online — with often very graphic images that are “quite disturbing.
“That’s the nature of the anti-Semitic activity that we are hearing regarding the alleged culpability of Jews in COVID-19,” he said, following the release of a B’nai Brith audit on the rise in anti-Semitic incidents across the country in 2019.
B’nai Brith CEO Michael Mostyn said 2019 was the fourth consecutive record-breaking year of anti-Semitic incidents in Canada.
There were 2,207 recorded incidents last year, equating to more than six each day.
According to police statistics, Jews remain the country’s most targeted minority, accounting for 19% of the hate crimes, while being only 1% of the population, added Ukashi.
While harassment accounts for 83% of the anti-Semitic incidents, he said acts of vandalism and violence are occurring in “much more brazen fashion” – often in broad daylight in the presence of eyewitnesses.
Ukashi said the greatest rise in incidents occurred in Quebec – including “several physical assaults” against distinctly observant Jews.
In Ontario, he said they also saw assaults against Jews, the defacing of public property with violent threatening graffiti, as well as political candidates using “anti-Semitic stereotypes and slurs.
“Canada is not immune to an observed global rise in anti-Semitism,” Mostyn added.
He said it’s coming from both the radical right (neo-Nazis) and from the far left and radical Islamist sources – all unified in the “hatred of Jews.”
He noted that there’s been a dramatic increase in online hatred in recent years – forums where radicalization takes place most often and where anti-Semitism is “promulgated,” regularly by anonymous sources who advocate genocide against Jews.
What adds to the rise, it appears, is that a shocking 20% of Millennials can’t name a single concentration camp or know how many Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, making many “susceptible” to the ideas of Holocaust deniers.
“It’s no coincidence that where such ignorance exists, it will be exploited by those who wish to promote anti-Semitic conspiracy theories,” said Mostyn.
He said elected politicians and candidates for office have also been observed as admiring terrorist entities.
On Canadian university campuses, he said Jews have been spat on and denied the provision of kosher food on campus (this occurred at UofT) because the student groups were deemed pro-Israel.
Who can forget the angry mob at York University (including several anti-Israel groups on campus as well as NDP-affiliated and union groups) last November who attempted to shut down an approved appearance by reservists from the Israel Defense Forces, Mostyn said.
Ukashi said public spaces have also been used to “whip up anti-Semitic frenzy” – singling out the annual Al Quds Day hatefest (which used the space outside 361 University Ave. last June and occupied University Ave. without a permit.)