Anti-Semitism on rise on Canadian university campuses
By Beatrice Fantoni, Postmedia NewsJuly 7, 2011 10:03 PM
OTTAWA – Anti-Semitism on Canadian university campuses is a
growing threat and the Canadian government needs to do more to
tackle hate crimes against Jews, a parliamentary inquiry has
The Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism
released its report Thursday after two years of hearings.
It says anti-Semitism is on the rise in Canada, especially in
universities. The report makes several recommendations, including
working with police services across Canada to clearly define what
constitutes an anti-Semitic crime and looking at rising
international anti-Semitism when designating source countries for
“We have a limited ability to measure (hate crimes against Jews)
across the country,” Conservative MP Scott Reid, who headed the
coalition’s steering committee, said Thursday.
More accurate reporting is needed to understand the nature of
criminal and non-criminal anti-Semitic acts, he said. “We need to
make (definitions) comparable across the country and comparable to
The coalition was formed in late 2009, following an international
conference on anti-Semitism in the U.K. Its aim was to find out
more about how anti-Semitism is playing out in Canada.
A total of 74 witnesses testified at 10 hearings, and more than
150 written submissions were made between November 2009 and
The coalition was composed of more than 20 MPs and senators, both
Jewish and non-Jewish, from all political parties. Bloc Québécois
members dropped out in 2010, claiming the coalition was biased.
Former Liberal MP Mario Silva, who chaired the hearings, said he
was especially disturbed to hear how many Jewish university
students felt intimidated or unsafe on campus in light of events
such as Israeli Apartheid Week, which the coalition considers to
be anti-Semitic. The annual event, held across Canada, opposes
Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and calls for boycotts of and
sanctions against Israel.
The coalition’s report recommends the federal government sponsor
conferences at universities to counter these types of events.
Critics of the coalition said the process did not include
dissenting voices. Interest groups, such as the Canadian Islamic
Congress and Independent Jewish Voices, were not invited to make