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Anti-Semitic vandals hit Ontario region

Haters target two synagogues, a park building and a church.

Surveillance video shows a man placing stickers, including some with an image of Adolf Hitler, on the Beth Isaiah Synagogue in Guelph, Ontario, Oct. 5, 2022. Credit: Guelph Police Service.
Surveillance video shows a man placing stickers, including some with an image of Adolf Hitler, on the Beth Isaiah Synagogue in Guelph, Ontario, Oct. 5, 2022. Credit: Guelph Police Service.

Police in Ontario, Canada are investigating several instances of anti-Semitic vandalism that occurred during the recent Jewish holiday season.

On Oct. 12, hate messages were found scrawled on Beth Jacob Congregation of Kitchener-Waterloo, including one that said “ZOG is the real racial supremacists 1488 Hitler did nothing wrong!”

White supremacists use ZOG as shorthand for “Zionist occupied government,” while 1488 is a reference to a 14-word slogan on white supremacy and 88 is code for “Heil Hitler” as “H” is the eighth letter of the alphabet.

On its website, officials with Beth Jacob said the messages were found during Sukkot and are “particularly threatening and serious…Given the dramatic increase in violent anti-Semitic incidents in Canada and worldwide, this incident is being treated with the utmost seriousness.”

Anti-Semitic hate was also discovered on a synagogue in the town of Guelph less than 20 miles away.

There, video surveillance showed a man walking up to the Beth Isaiah Synagogue on Oct. 5 and placing stickers on the building, including ones with an image of Hitler. The man was also seen using his cellphone to take photos of himself with the stickers in a case that local police are calling a hate crime.

According to the Guelph Police Service, the man was wearing a dark jacket with a hood pulled up over his head, black pants, black boots, black gloves, a dark-colored backpack and a ski mask over his face. “The Guelph Police Service will not tolerate hate-motivated acts and will fully investigate every such reported incident,” the service said.

Michael Levitt, president and CEO of Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, said, “This series of anti-Semitic incidents targeting synagogues in the Kitchener-Waterloo-Guelph area is extremely disturbing and a reminder of the growing hatred against the Jewish community that we are witnessing across the country.

“As online anti-Semitism is surging, the real-world consequences in our communities are growing more dire,” he continued in a statement. “Nobody should have to fear going to a place of worship or feel threatened. We are hopeful police will find the perpetrator(s) and send a strong message that such acts of hate are not welcome and will be met with consequences.”

The timing of the incidents was “particularly disturbing,” given that they happened during the holiday season, Noah Shack, vice president of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said on Twitter.

“There should be no place for hate in Canada, and the Jewish community across Canada stands with the Jewish communities of Kitchener and Guelph,” he said.

In addition, swastikas and other anti-Semitic graffiti were found spray-painted on a building under construction in Guelph’s Riverside Park on Oct. 15, and on Monday, anti-black graffiti was discovered spray-painted on a church on Speedvale Avenue East in the city. In both instances, red spray paint was used, and the hate messages were quickly removed by officials.

The Guelph Police Service, which is investigating the cases in its region, said in a statement that it “will not tolerate acts of hate-motivated crime and will fully investigate any such occurrences.”


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