Canada is fertile ground for anti-Semitism, especially on university campuses, a parliamentary committee has concluded.
After two years of hearings, the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism in a report released last week called on the federal government to do more to fight anti-Semitism in Canada, which it said is rising, due partly to increased hostility toward Israel.
Over 10 days of hearings between November 2009 and February 2010, the coalition’s 22 members, consisting of lawmakers from all federal parties, heard from 74 witnesses, including federal and provincial politicians, diplomats, university administrators, academics, chiefs of police, journalists and other interested individuals.
Among its dozens of recommendations, which are not binding on the government, the coalition said that police forces across Canada should be better trained to deal with anti-Semitism; Canada’s immigration department should take into account rising international anti-Semitism when designating source countries for refugees; and the Foreign Affairs Ministry should study the United Nations’ criticisms of Israel.
It also said that legislators and others need “a clear and concise definition of what anti-Semitism entails.”
One major concern of the coalition was Israeli Apartheid Week, an annual event on Canadian university campuses.
“We had got several testimonies from students, particularly Jewish students, who were scared,” committee co-chair Mario Silvia, a former Toronto-area member of Parliament, told the Globe and Mail newspaper.
“They were quite fearful of attending classes and going to their campuses because of the fact that they felt they were being targeted for being supportive of Israel.”