A Jewish organization that monitors anti-Semitic activities in Canada said Wednesday the number of incidents last year was the second highest total in the 23-year history of their audit.
B'nai Brith Canada said 829 anti-Semitic incidents were reported to their anti-hate hot line and offices in 2005. A record 857 were documented in 2004.
"We were looking at numbers in the two hundreds a decade ago," said Ruth Klein, director of B'nai Brith's league for human rights. "We show almost the same figure as last year and last year was an all-time high."
Out of the total 829 incidents, 531 were classified as harassment, 273 as vandalism and 25 as violence. Out of the total, 35 were directed at synagogues and 19 at Jewish communal buildings, 113 targeted Jewish homes, 46 occurred in the workplace, 161 related to Internet hate - including 34 cases of targeted hate by e-mail.
The organization says many of the incidents are influenced by neo-Nazi groups and propagandists of the Middle East who are anti-Israel.
Klein said there has been an explosion of hate on the Internet.
"We really have to worry about the next generation because they are certainly not getting Canadian values of tolerance and respect through the Internet," Klein said.
Klein listed a number of examples of anti-Semitic incidents - including students at an exclusive high school in Toronto who created an anti-Semitic Web site and sent hate-filled e-mails to Jewish students who dared to complain - and three teenage girls who attacked an elderly Jewish man outside a synagogue in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
She said the defacing of buildings remains common.
"Sometimes the police don't take it that seriously because they are used to seeing that," Klein said. "It's become routine. You have to fight against that mind-set."
Klein said most of the anti-Semitic activity is reported to their anti-hate line, but they also get their information from police and from calls to their office.
Among other things, the organization is calling on the government to broaden the definition of a hate crime to include Holocaust denial and to fund initiatives designed to fight hatred.
"If we want to see a reversal, every sector of society and every minority group has to get up and say enough," Klein said.
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