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We will also post relevant news worthy items and information on Human rights issues, racism, extremist individuals and groups and far right political parties from around the world although predominantly Britain.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Web-based hate activity on the rise; A report (Canada)

Anti-Semitism has gone digital as social media and new technologies provide an easy way to spread hate messages, according to a 2010 audit conducted by a human rights organization.

The League for Human Rights of B'nai Brith Canada released its annual report Monday. The Audit of Antisemitic Incidents has been tracking anti-Semitic incidents across Canada for the past 29 years.

The League received 564 reports of Web-based hate activity with a Canadian connection in terms of content, perpetrators and/or victims last year, up from 435 reports in 2009 and 405 reports in 2008, according to the 2010 report.

"It has become so easy to make a hate comment, there's so much expression on the Internet "said Allan Adel, the League's Montreal-based national chairman.

"There seems to be a banalization of racist or anti-Semitic expressions, (an adoption) of the idea words don't hurt," Adel added. "Our position is that's the wrong approach."

Adel urged policy-makers, police and everyday Canadians to adopt a zero-tolerance policy wherever they see anti-Semitism, whether it be in the community or online.

"This kind of hatred is infectious and insidious," said Frank Dimant, CEO of B'nai Brith Canada. "It destroys the very fabric of Canada's multicultural society, and those that would deny its gravity are part of the problem, not the solution," he said.

A total of 1,306 incidents - 965 cases of harassment, 317 cases of vandalism and 24 cases of violence - were reported to the League in 2010, a 3.3-per-cent increase over 2009 and, a fourfold increase over the past decade.

Although Montreal saw a slight decrease in anti-Jewish hatred with 277 incidents reported in 2010, down from 310 incidents in 2009, the city is in no position to celebrate, the report's authors noted.

One third of all hate crimes reported to Montreal police in 2010 were against Jews. And in a section of the report highlighting anti-Semitic incidents across the country, several examples from Montreal were included.

Among them: the April 2010 mugging of a pregnant Jewish woman in Montreal's Vézina Park; the January 2010 smashing of windows at Hebrew Academy in Côte St. Luc; an anti-Semitic YouTube video posted by a Montrealer in May 2010; and slurs hurled by passersby at a Holocaust commemoration event on the steps of Montreal's city hall in April 2010.

"The paradox is that Canada had made such progress and now the Internet is turning the clock back," said Chaim Steinmetz. Steinmetz is the rabbi of Congregaton Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem in Côte St. Luc, one of six Montreal synagogues that had its windows broken one night this January.

"The footprint of hate on the Internet is very large," he said.

Montreal Gazzette