There were a record number of antisemitic incidents reported across the country last year, according to a new audit by Jewish advocacy group B’nai Brith Canada.

The report also states there’s been a major increase in reported incidents in British Columbia, and a surge in violent cases.

Ezra Shanken, CEO with the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, said antisemitism is an ongoing issue, and the community continues to feel frustrated and concerned for their safety.

“It is disappointing that we continue to have to battle this challenging situation,” he said.

The annual audit by B’nai Brith found there were 2,799 anti-Jewish hate crimes last year, including beatings, vandalism of synagogues and the plastering of swastikas in schools.

The report found antisemitic incidents rose overall by seven per cent, but the number of violent incidents rose by 733 per cent, from nine in 2020 to 75 in 2021.

The report also highlighted a sharp increase in BC, with 409 recorded incidents last year — that’s up from 194 in 2020, which is a near 111 per cent increase.

Shanken said the findings don’t surprise him.

“The proliferation of swastikas… has been so stark in these pandemic times,” he said.

“It’s not a subtle message.”

Premier John Horgan addressed the issue at a Holocaust memorial event on Thursday.

“Antisemitism does exist today and we have to collectively work together to ensure that when we see it, when we hear it, we stand together united to say: No. Not here. Not where we live,” he said.

The spread of disturbing images of hate symbols is traumatic for the community, Shanken said, especially for Holocaust survivors.

“When we see these symbols, especially on days like today when we’re in remembrance mode, (it’s) deeply traumatic – deeply traumatic to so many people,” he said.

He added that people need to learn to be more empathetic and that antisemitism and racism should be addressed through education.

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