By Bill Gladstone
Anti-Semitic incidents in Canada increased by five percent in 2000, according to a report released this week by B'nai Brith Canada.
The frequency of incidents - there were 280 overall - rose substantially during the last three months of the year, apparently in reaction to the renewal of Israeli-Palestinian hostilities in September.
It was in Montreal where the troubles in the Mideast appeared to spill over most into Canadian streets. The audit revealed 71 reported incidents in Montreal - a figure 92% higher than last year's tally, reported JTA.
The most violent incident described in the report took place in October in a Montreal subway station, where two men identified as Arab youths viciously beat a Jewish student wearing a kippa (skullcap). The victim was knocked unconscious and would have been thrown onto the rails had two passengers not intervened.
In the Montreal suburb of Saint-Laurent, which has large Arab and Jewish populations, a Jewish elementary school's windows were smashed, students verbally abused and swastikas painted on walls.
At Montreal's Concordia University, a large Arab student population has been particularly vocal in its condemnation of Israel, with actions bordering on violence toward the school's Jewish students.
The report also documented the proliferation of an anti-Semitic "kosher tax" myth, which saw unsuspecting consumers being advised to go through their cupboards and estimate the worth of all groceries bearing "hidden" kosher symbols in order to attain an alleged government tax refund.
B'nai Brith officials estimate that about 10 anti-Semitic incidents occur for every one that gets documented.