Rideau-Rockcliffe Councillor Rawlson King seconded and commented on a successful motion introduced by Somerset Councillor Ariel Troster denouncing Antisemitism in the City of Ottawa that was introduced on January 25, 2023, two days ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
I thank Councillor Troster for introducing this motion that unequivocally condemns expressions of racial and religious intolerance that incite and normalize hostility toward Jews.
As a Council, we must strongly condemn the increasing incidents, threats, and explicit expressions of Antisemitism that have intensified across our city, including in our schools.
These incidents reflect ideologies of intolerance and hate that are systemic and longstanding. In recent months, however, there has been a noticeable escalation of Antisemitic rhetoric and symbolism throughout the city and country.
Recent statistics in Canada have shown that religiously motivated hate crime is up by 67 percent and that incidents of Anti-Semitism are up 47 percent.
Indeed, Statistics Canada have found that police-reported hate crimes against Jewish people accounted for the high number of religion-based hate crime in Canada.
As a part of the City’s community consultations on its Anti-Racism Strategy, the city held sessions with Jewish residents as well as engaged in multiple discussions with community partners, including local Rabbis and leaders from Jewish organizations.
During these consultations, participants noted that safety and security were key issues, with hate crimes increasingly directed towards Jewish communities and synagogues.
Consequently, it will be important for our Police Service to continue to track hate crimes to help protect communities against hate violence and discrimination and for the city to continue to develop anti-hate resources.
It will also be important to support Jewish organizations to combat Anti-Semitism, along with United For All, a coalition of 44 organizations representing over 150 partners who are all committed to overcoming hate-based violence, racism, and extremism in Eastern Ontario.
Antisemitism has a long and ugly history. As a city, we must stand steadfastly against it and re-commit ourselves to protect our diverse communities and continue to lead the fight against racial, ethnic, and religious hate wherever it emerges.