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19 Oct, 2023 11:01

Canada facing ‘very scary rise of anti-Semitism’ – PM

Prejudice against Jews existed before the conflict in Gaza escalated and has increased since, Trudeau said
Canada facing ‘very scary rise of anti-Semitism’ – PM

Anti-Semitism in Canada has increased following the escalation of the Gaza conflict, the country’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, said on Tuesday. He noted that there had been a “steady rise” in prejudice against Jews before the current hostilities between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

Addressing a conference in Ottawa on combating anti-Semitism, Trudeau said that “since this conflict broke out, there has been a very frightening rise in anti-Semitism here at home.” 

According to the prime minister, Canada had already seen a rise in anti-Semitism before the situation in the Palestinian enclave deteriorated. He cited reports of a possible hate crime at a Jewish high school in Toronto last week, shared that he had heard “stories of people wondering if they shouldn’t wear their Star of David necklaces in public,” relayed concerns expressed by synagogue-goers, and noted the “hateful rhetoric” online. On October 12, three men were arrested for making threats at the Community Hebrew Academy, Toronto police reported.

On October 7, Hamas fired hundreds of rockets at Israel and sent commandos into nearby Jewish villages. The Israel Defense Forces responded by dropping bombs on Gaza and cutting off water and electricity supplies.

The death toll in the Palestinian enclave has risen to 3,478, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. In Israel, more than 1,400 people have been killed in the conflict.

Commenting on the situation in Gaza, Trudeau emphasized that “Canada will always be a friend of Israel.” Recently, however, Canadian PM had to apologize for an episode that caused outrage among the Jewish community.

In September, the Canadian Parliament gave a standing ovation to 98-year-old Ukrainian Nazi veteran Yaroslav Hunka during a visit by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky. The honoring of the World War II Nazi collaborator sparked an international outcry and condemnation from Russia, Poland, and Jewish organizations.

Anthony Ross, the leader of the Canadian House of Commons, resigned after taking responsibility for inviting the Nazi. Trudeau officially apologized for inviting Hunka, calling it “a horrendous violation of the memory of the millions of people who died in the Holocaust.”