VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Police-reported hate crimes are on the rise in Vancouver and one city councillor is bringing a motion forward that she hopes will allow the city to fight back against a rising tide of anti-Semitism.
Councillor Sarah Kirby-Yung is bringing a motion to the July 23 meeting asking the city formalize a definition of anti-Semitism so hate crimes can be identified and combated.
“Acknowledging what anti-Semitism is really the crux of what this motion is about,” she says.
Her motion points to data that shows an increase in reported hate crimes targeting the Jewish community nation-wide.
“In 2017, police-reported hate crimes targeting members of the Canadian Jewish community reached 360 and rose by 60% in a single year, according to Statistics Canada. An anti-Semitic hate crime takes place once every 24 hours in Canada,” it says.
It also says anti-Semitic hate crimes comprise the largest number of hate crime reports to the Vancouver Police Department, according to data from the department’s Hate Crimes Unit.
“It’s important we have these conversations, it’s important we know what’s happening in our own backyard and that we talk about what it is,” she says.
Kirby-Yung wants the city to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism which says: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
The IHRA provides a list of examples of anti-Semitism ranging from spray painting swastikas on property, to denial of the Holocaust, to inciting violence against people because they are Jewish.
The federal government adopted this definition in its recently published anti-racism strategy.