Toronto (November 23, 2023) – Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) is dismayed by the recent spike in antisemitic incidents reported in Toronto since the Oct. 7 massacre committed by Hamas in Israel.
Toronto Police Chief Myron Demkiw today revealed a 192 per cent increase in the number of reported antisemitic incidents between Oct. 7 and Nov. 20 compared to the same period last year.
Of the 78 hate crimes reported during this period – a more than 110 per cent increase from the 37 incidents that occurred during the same period in 2022 – 38 were antisemitic, compared to 13 in 2022, and 17 targeted Muslims and Arabs, compared to 1 in 2022.
Since Oct. 7, Jews, who represent approximately 4 per cent of the city’s population, have been the target of 49 per cent of hate crimes reported to Toronto police.
“The numbers are deeply unsettling but not surprising as FSWC receives multiple reports of antisemitism from members of the Jewish community almost every day,” said FSWC President and CEO Michael Levitt. “The latest rise in tensions in Toronto and beyond is unprecedented, as the Jewish community especially has suffered an alarming increase in unjustifiable hate. We appreciate the efforts of Toronto police to keep our community safe, including the placement of mobile command posts and providing the necessary resources to investigate hate crimes. There must be zero tolerance for the divisiveness and hate we are seeing on the streets of Toronto today. We must never allow the safe spaces of our Jewish community to be diminished.”
The Toronto Police Service stated that given the current reality, it has increased the size of its Hate Crime Unit from six officers to a team of 21 investigators, eight Special Constables and an analyst and researcher.
Earlier today, the Toronto Police Service announced its arrest of 11 suspects in connection with the antisemitic vandalism of the Indigo store at Bay and Bloor streets on Nov. 10. The incident is being treated as a suspected hate-motivated offence.