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Montreal - Increase In Crimes Against Jews Concerns Community

Published on: May 1, 2010 10:04 PM
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Montreal -Some members of Montreal’s visible Lubavitch community residing in the Côte des Neiges district of Montreal are afraid to go out of their homes, even during the daytime, in the wake of a number of reported acts of violence.

In addition, three locations in the Montreal suburb of Outremont – home to a large segment of visible Chassidic Jews – had swastikas spray painted on or near their properties last week.

“I live in the area and if I compare the situation now to five years ago there is a serious problem,” Rabbi Mendel Marasow, executive director of Beth Rivkah Academy in Côte des Neiges, told the Jewish Tribune. “There is a gang atmosphere, with tough individuals walking the streets. Last week a man got mugged walking home from shul at 8:30 in the morning. It is uncomfortable and unsafe out there. Is it antisemitic? Listen, all I can say is that Jews make good targets.”

An email sent out by a member of the small Anshei Lubavitch Congregation set off alarm bells. The sender, whose name is not being disclosed, suggested that local Montreal Police Station 26 has not taken a number of incidents seriously. In the email, the alleged robbery of a 12-year-old boy, acts of vandalism at Jewish homes and the mugging of a pregnant woman were cited. 

Police Station 26 Commander Simonetta Barth said the only incident she was aware of was the robbery of the young boy. She nonetheless insisted that her station is taking all of the allegations seriously and that two meetings will be scheduled with members of the community in early May. The robbery, she pointed out, was not categorized as antisemitic, but rather a random act of violence.

Lionel Perez, an orthodox Jew who was elected for the first time last November as a city councillor for Côte des Neiges/Darlington, told the Jewish Tribune that there is already an excellent police presence in the area. Nonetheless, given the fact the initial email resulted in a chain reaction, he admits this has created some apprehension in the community and that the special meetings with the police will prove beneficial.

“This will be an opportunity for anyone to speak up,” he said. “From the police perspective, they will explain exactly how to make a 9-1-1 call. I think people need to know that when they do report an incident there are reasons why police cannot always come right away. This police station has bent over backwards for the Jewish community. People need to be reminded of that.”

Rabbi Marasow agrees that the police have always been responsive to the community’s needs.

“They are saying that a lot of these incidents are not being reported,” he said. “Well, the summer is coming and we are a bit worried. I do not know how this cookie will crumble. People may not be bullet proofing their windows, but I will say that I am scared to let my own kids outside. The police have a very strong presence when it comes to giving out tickets, so I do not believe it is a matter of manpower. In the olden days we had beat cops. It was a good thing. They were very present. Perhaps it is time to bring that system back.”
Perez noted that last week a swastika was painted on a bench at Nelson Mandela Park in Côte des Neiges.

“The police were there immediately and within an hour the city’s public works department sent someone to wash it off,” he said.

The B’nai Brith Quebec office has been in touch with all parties concerned and will continue to monitor the situation.

The incidents in Outrement were reported at Boulangerie Cheskie on Bernard Street, the Milk ‘N’ Honey Restaurant on Parc Avenue and Congregation Yetev Lev – Satmar on Hutchison Street.

“There has been a spike in reported incidents of vandalism and swastikas to our office over the past two months,” reported Heidi Oppen, director of B’nai Brith Canada’s Quebec Region. “In March, a series of swastikas was reported in suburban Côte Saint-Luc.”

Yossi Ungar, the owner of Milk ‘N’ Honey, said the swastika was painted on the sidewalk in front of his restaurant.

“The Jewish community in Outremont has been getting a lot of media attention,” he told the Jewish Tribune. “I don’t want to see these incidents get too much publicity because it is only going to stir things up more. I did not even report this. Someone else did.”
Ungar said that in his many years operating a business in the area, he has never before been the victim of antisemitic graffiti.

In March Ahavas Yisroel Viznitz Shul on Van Horne and Durocher streets in Outremont was broken into and two swastikas were drawn on the dias. Vandals also threw talleisim (prayer shawls) and sefarim (holy books) on the floor.

Rabbi Menachem Feig met with police, but the perpetrators still have not been apprehended.

In a statement B’nai Brith Canada – Quebec Region has raised concerns over the recent spike in incidents targetting the Jewish community in various boroughs of Montreal. Over the past few months, vandalism targeting Jewish schools, synagogues and businesses has been reported at an accelerated rate, such as the smashing of windows at two locations. There have also been reports of vandalism of residences of Lubavitch community members and assaults on visibly Jewish individuals. As well, a surge in the number of swastikas spray painted in parks, on Canada post boxes and sidewalks in Cote Saint Luc, Ville Saint Laurent, Cote des Neiges and Outremont has been recorded.

“The recent wave of antisemitic incidents against Quebec’s Jewish community cannot be ignored,” said Me. Moïse Moghrabi, Quebec Regional Chair of B’nai Brith Canada’s League for Human Rights. “Some community members now reportedly think twice before they leave their homes. The ongoing fear and intimidation suffered by our community is an unacceptable situation in a free and democratic society like Quebec.

“The League for Human Rights has been in touch with the local police to urge them to make this investigation a priority. We call on the community to assist as well by reporting all incidents in a timely fashion to police and to B’nai Brith’s anti-hate hotline at 1-800-892-BNAI begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              1-800-892-BNAI      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Oppen said she has been in close contact with the Montreal Police department, which has opened up a file on the incidents.

Some other incidents that have now come to light include smashed windows at Hebrew Academy in Côte Saint-Luc on March 29. 

“They have it on tape,” said Oppen. “The person got out of their car and smashed windows. It occurred at midnight and was reported to police.

Meanwhile, Rabbi Moshe New of the Montreal Torah Centre in Hampstead said that on the Shabbat of March 27 paintballs were thrown at his building. At the end of January, he said, a brick was thrown through a window.


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Read Comments (15)  —  Post Yours »

1

 May 01, 2010 at 10:22 PM bigwheeel Says:

The question is who the perpetrators of these crimes are. These are certainly not random crimes. The ethnicity of the initiators will determine their motive. Is it our beloved cousins from the mideast or francais-canadiens who feel the Jews are n easy target!

2

 May 01, 2010 at 11:08 PM Shver Says:

In Montreal we live like in Europe. We keep our heads down and we are always scared of showing off. Whether it was the xenophobic parti quebeqouis or unofficial antisemites. The truth is, it's a horrible way to live, and it will only get worse. The amount of Arabs that are moving in the Montreal areas that were considered to be "affluent" Or "Jewish" and it is only going to cause more friction.

3

 May 02, 2010 at 12:06 AM moshem Says:

The cops will never take this seriously as long as only honest people are being victimized. Let the Jews in Montrael arm themselves and blow one of these Arab miscreants away and watch how much police attention will suddenly be focused.

4

 May 02, 2010 at 02:33 AM Anonymous Says:

They need to open a shomrim patrol. Than They
will start to see mass police on the street !

5

 May 02, 2010 at 09:10 AM Anonymous Says:

Montreal, has become a major Islamic center, and the French are very pro arab. Although not as bad as france, it is working it's way to a similar situation.

6

 May 02, 2010 at 03:13 AM y Says:

should take an example on williamsburg new york where satmar has taken care about the problem with the goyim by founding a securityforce from the kehilla who patrol the streets to protect yiddishe menshen

7

 May 02, 2010 at 03:26 AM Australian citizen Says:

Reply to #3  
moshem Says:

The cops will never take this seriously as long as only honest people are being victimized. Let the Jews in Montrael arm themselves and blow one of these Arab miscreants away and watch how much police attention will suddenly be focused.

Racism of any kind is ugly and not to be tolerated. You should acknowledge your own racist attitudes. Young people are robbed of their belongings all over the world - these acts are almost always opportunistic - not racist. You don't even try to hide your racist and bigoted views of the general Arab population and YOUR criminally violent tendencies that fuel attacks.

8

 May 02, 2010 at 08:38 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
Shver Says:

In Montreal we live like in Europe. We keep our heads down and we are always scared of showing off. Whether it was the xenophobic parti quebeqouis or unofficial antisemites. The truth is, it's a horrible way to live, and it will only get worse. The amount of Arabs that are moving in the Montreal areas that were considered to be "affluent" Or "Jewish" and it is only going to cause more friction.

how come I am not scared?? It so happens that the goyim on my block are peaceful ppl. (uptown) A few tennagers should not scare anyone!

9

 May 02, 2010 at 09:59 AM rsm Says:

Cote des Neiges is a slum. The cramped slummy apartment buildings are not going away, and neither are their inhabitants. Nonetheless, it is not as bad as thirty years ago. Personally, I've been yelled at by 'african-american' children, 'f'n Jew' and a group of young 'african-american' girls yelled 'heil Hitlr' at me (I was impressed they knew that much history), adults haven't yelled at me or bothered me (for the most part they are friendly and I've had many friendly 'hello's, and 'shaloms' from people). .. (i think children realize you can't hit them without getting arrested, slum people often know the laws pretty well). One big 'african-american' person walked behind my daughter saying anti-semitic things, but didn't follow her when she turned a corner. So, so far, no problems from French Canadians (who almost don't exist in CDN) nor from Moslems for me.

10

 May 02, 2010 at 02:51 PM Anonymous Says:

Yes, even back in 1990 when I learned in the Yeshiva on Westbury, the problems came from the apartment buildings. The perpetrators, brave men who indeed picked on young children, were toughs from Jamaica from what I was told. The apartments were also known as centers of drug activity, sadly some of which was perpetrated by Israeli gangsters who sold to the lowlives. I had a friend who was a young, relatively new rav in the area at the time, and when I was shocked to meet him in front of one of the buildings on my way to the CDN mall (he was very eidel and a relatively small man and I worried for his safety), he told me he was going to visit a Yid who had been released from prison.

11

 May 02, 2010 at 05:28 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #7  
Australian citizen Says:

Racism of any kind is ugly and not to be tolerated. You should acknowledge your own racist attitudes. Young people are robbed of their belongings all over the world - these acts are almost always opportunistic - not racist. You don't even try to hide your racist and bigoted views of the general Arab population and YOUR criminally violent tendencies that fuel attacks.

So you're acknowledging and justifying the attacks and which quarter they emanate from. You're just like the neo-nazis (why should you be different?!) On the one hand they're denying that a holocaust ever took place. On the other, they tell you exactly what they would (heaven forbid) do to the Jews. And the historical truth is that the arabs (Yes. the arabs) always went along with the nazis. Even in Israel. They were the fifth column. Waiting and hoping for the nazis to make an entry into Eretz Yisrael during World War II! From them come the biggest terrorists and murderers. Yet they claim to be the victims.

12

 May 02, 2010 at 06:17 PM JackyvCOP Says:

Reply to #4  
Anonymous Says:

They need to open a shomrim patrol. Than They
will start to see mass police on the street !

I am pleased to tell you that in Cote St Luc , which is 70% or more Jewish we have such a program which is in operation , for three years now . It is called vCOP , = Volunteer Citizens on Patrol , we patrol the entire city and pay special attention to all our Jewish institutions , shuls, schools etc, any sign of trouble we call central who immediately send out Public Secururity or Police.

13

 May 02, 2010 at 07:25 PM Alan Says:

Quebec has tried to become a third world country with all the same attitudes and problems found in eastern and southern Europe. While they haven't been able to break away from Canada yet...this rise in antisemitism shows that they are on the way.

14

 May 03, 2010 at 12:52 AM Anonymous Says:

Technical note to Nazi wannabees:
The legs on the swastika are supposed to go to the right.

15

 May 13, 2010 at 04:21 PM Anonymous Says:

Alan....Quebec has the lowest signs of antisemitism in canada ...Ontario comes first than B.C, Alberta. The french Quebecers are peacefull people , most of the antisemite troubles and acts have happened on the west side of Montreal wich is mostly english

16

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