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Antisemitic Graffiti Accusing Jews of Cannibalism Found in Toronto

Toronto police are investigating a report of antisemitic graffiti outside the Toronto United Mennonite Church on Queen Street East in The Beaches neighbourhood.

Bryan Kramer told Global News he was out walking his dog Monday evening when he first noticed the graffiti “At that point in time, I took a picture and posted on the Facebook Beaches group to see if anyone filed a police report … no one had done anything so I filed a police report,” he said.

Kramer said he was “shaken” to see the vandalism, adding “this type of behaviour doesn’t belong and it kind of sets us back in regards to our neighbourhood.”

Dennis Giesbrecht, board member of the Toronto United Mennonite Church, was alerted to the presence of graffiti via text message Tuesday morning.

“It’s something I haven’t experienced before and it’s quite distressing,” he said, adding, “I have no idea why someone would place this in front of our church or in front of any place, it just doesn’t belong in our community at all.”

Giesbrecht wanted to share a message with the public about this incident.

“We are very much inclusive in our congregation of all different races, nationalities, ethnicities, abilities, sexual orientations and we particularly think that the Jewish community is a blessing to Toronto, so it’s quite distressing to see this,” he said.

“We need to be taking antisemitism and Jew hatred seriously,” said Michael Levitt, president and CEO of Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies. Levitt called it a “very dark year for Jews in Canada and globally” with a growing number of antisemitic incidents.

The American Jewish advocacy group StopAntisemitism tweeted about the vandalism, stating they “hope Toronto Police find those responsible & prosecute to the fullest extent of the law!”

Published in April by Jewish advocacy group B’nai Brith Canada, the annual audit of antisemitic incidents in 2021 found there were 2,799 recorded incidents of antisemitism in Canada that year. Nearly eight had occurred every day, according to the report.

“We don’t have official numbers for 2022 (but) we are seeing an increase in hate crimes against Jewish people year over year,” said Richard Robertson, research coordinator at B’nai Brith Canada.

Robertson said incidents of physical graffiti in residential neighbourhoods are especially unsettling for the Jewish community because they raise public safety concerns.

“This particular incident was especially problematic as it’s perpetuating a false narrative about Jewish people and disseminating such a narrative has the propensity to create additional acts of antisemitism,” he said.