By Michael Levitt
These are indeed sobering times for Canada that may well determine the future of our country as a pluralist, tolerant and just society. Not to put too fine a point on it, Canada is in the grips of something dark and sinister.
Racial hatred is in the air, in the streets and in cyberspace, rearing its ugly head in ferocious, new and unprecedented ways. The picture-perfect, multicultural mosaic we all take such pride in is now at serious risk of shattering.
We ignore this poison at our peril. Amid an increasingly toxic climate, the rising tide of racism and hate now targeting minorities, if left unchecked, will shred the social fabric of Canadian life.
The horrific Islamophobic murder of a Muslim family in London, Ont., this month makes it painfully vivid. So does the recent, heart-wrenching revelation of the 215 Indigenous children murdered and buried in an unmarked graves at a former residential school in British Columbia. So does the increasing hatred against Black and Asian Canadians.
In the Jewish community, we’re reeling from the antisemitic onslaught of the past two months. It represents a tragic new low in the annals of Canadian antisemitism.
Jews are now being targeted like never before in recent memory, even if you wouldn’t know it from the media. The recent eruption of virulent Jew-hatred has left the Canadian Jewish community shocked and in disbelief. Canadian Jews are shaken by the volume and severity of hatred being directed against them in person and online.
For the first time since the Holocaust, we’re seeing the mainstreaming of antisemitism in Canada. We’re seeing it playing out in more places, more intensely.
No longer veiled, it’s perpetrated openly by certain educators, journalists, politicians, religious figures and other influencers. Their targeting of Jews is often predicated on ignorance, and fuelled by social media epithets and tropes. They pervert and weaponize language in the service of their obsessive disdain for the Jewish state.