Arab-language media in Canada is promoting Holocaust denial while it spreads other anti-Semitic information, says Amanda Hohmann, national director of B’nai Brith Canada’s League for Human Rights.
B’nai Brith Canad is part of an international Jewish human rights organization that tracks anti-Semitism.
“Unfortunately, Holocaust denial is no longer only coming from its traditional home in the extreme right,” Hohmann told the Canadian Press on Tuesday. “More and more, Islamist extremists are also co-opting this position and spreading the rhetoric of denial, especially within Arab-language media right here in Canada.”
Holocaust denial accounted for 20 percent of anti-Semitic incidents in 2016, way up from five percent in 2015 percent.
B’nai Brith CEO Michael Mostyn cited numerous examples of instances where Arab media has dismissed the Holocaust as a Jewish-inspired hoax or suggested that the Jews deserved what they got under the Nazis. London, Ontario’s al-Saraha newspaper actually argued both claims in a “report” last summer.
The paper was actually promoted as a suggested reading by a local immigration settlement organization that received government funds.
Mostyn said anti-Semitism in increasing in what he described as a “made in Canada” fashion that has nothing to do with immigration or refugee concerns south of the border.
Hohmann echoes that sentiment, saying anti-Semitism in Canada cannot be blamed on events south of the border.
“While some have sought to link the global increase in anti-Semitism to November’s presidential election in the United States, it’s worth noting that the months of September through December actually saw a relative decrease in anti-Semitic incidents in Canada, in relation to previous years,” Hohmann said.
B’nai Brith Canada is reporting 1,728 such acts for 2016, a 26 percent increase from the year before and the most the group has ever assessed.
“That means an average of four to five incidents of anti-Semitic harassment, vandalism or violence occurring every day in our country, a country where we pride ourselves as being one of the most tolerant in the world,” Mostyn told the Canadian Press.
The numbers, included in the group’s 2016 report that was released Tuesday, were based on phone calls to their anti-hate hotline and police data.
Barbara Perry, a professor at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, told the Canadian Press that the scope of anti-Semitism in Canada is expanding, moving from its traditional base in Toronto and Montreal to a more national movement, as a result of global pressures.
Although Mostyn says the people who report anti-Semitic incidents are not always Jewish, the percentage of Arab-speaking complainants is very low.