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Lawmakers Urged to Take Meaningful Action Against Rise in Extremist Hate

House of Commons, Committee venue, Wikipedia

May 9, 2022

OTTAWA – A Member of Parliament from Manitoba has expressed shock with the growth of antisemitic incidents in Canada, as outlined in the 2021 Audit of Antisemitic Incidents, produced by B’nai Brith Canada’s League for Human Rights.

Raquel Dancho’s remarks came last Thursday, while a pair of B’nai Brith officials testified as part of an expert panel invited at the House of Commons committee studying ideologically motivated violent extremism in Canada. The two were Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada, and Marvin Rotrand, National Director of the League for Human Rights.

B’nai Brith called on the Government to stress “hate” as much as “racism” in the drafting of its 2023-2026 Anti-Racism Strategy, and to fulfill its election promise to hold social-media platforms accountable for the content they host.

“Jews were the target of a shocking 62% of police-reported hate incidents aimed at religious minorities in 2021, although they comprise only 1.25% of Canada’s population, according to Statistics Canada,” Rotrand said. “The numbers registered are at their highest level since B’nai Brith first began collecting statistics in 1982, and include a major spike in violent incidents. So, we’re very encouraged to see this Committee tackle this worrying trend, and anticipate meaningful action from the Government.”

Much of the discussion focused on the rise in online hate in 2021, as people were largely confined indoors because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Many panelists, including those representing B’nai Brith, told Dancho and the MPs that online content creators are profiting from hate and misinformation. The panelists agreed that social-media companies are doing little to enforce their own platform rules and hate circulates freely online.

“Hate crosses a broad spectrum of motivations, both online and offline, and that broad spectrum deserves urgent action, particularly in light of the spike in hate materials and incidents,” Mostyn said. “We hope the Government will take immediate action in combating the scourge of hate speech on social media platforms, among others.”

Mostyn also highlighted the case of Khaled Barakat, a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist leader who has been living in Canada, and urged the Committee to ensure existing Canadian laws are fully enforced against listed terrorist groups and their members.

Mostyn and Rotrand also urged the Committee to:

  • Improve high school curricula across the provinces, to ensure students are better educated on the Holocaust;
  • Ensure the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is immediately listed as a terrorist entity in its entirety;
  • Have the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance apply to Canadian funding rules for foreign or domestic NGOs.

In addition to testimony, B’nai Brith also provided a submission to The House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security

To read the submission, CLICK HERE