Victoria’s Jewish community resilient after antisemitic incident

The president of the organizaton representing the Jewish community of Victoria and Vancouver Island praises the police’s response after Victoria’s Congregation Emanu-El received a piece of hate mail earlier this week.

“We appreciate that police and the RCMP have been very responsive to this incident and are actively investigating it,” said David Blades, president of the Jewish Federation of Victoria and Vancouver Island based in Saanich. “We are working to support their efforts as well as the synagogue involved, in co-operation with our security experts and partners in the national Jewish community.”

RELATED: Antisemitic posters turn up at UVic

Congregation Emanu-El is among more than a dozen synagogues across eight Canadian cities, who have received the hate mail.

The letter contained the phrase “Jewry Must Perish.” A bleeding Star of David with a swastika in its centre accompanied it.

A representative from the synagogue declined to comment on the incident, because he did not want to give the letter undue attention.

Blades said it is important to emphasize that this incident is almost certainly part of an annual pattern that takes place during the holiday season.

“We always advise vigilance, and Jewish community institutions have robust security procedures in place,” he said. “That said, the assessment of police as well as security experts within the Jewish community is that this incident does not constitute a security threat.”

Hate crimes aimed at the Jewish population accounted for 13 per cent of all hate crimes, according to Statistics Canada. This figure identifies the Jewish community the most targeted.

Blades said the incient is “offensive and unsettling.” But he also tries to keep things in perspective. “We know that the vast majority of Victoria residents reject anti-Semitism and all forms of hate,” he said.

Some 1,500 people of the Jewish faith live in the Greater Victoria area.


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