Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday January 25, 2022
More tools needed to fight hate crimes
It’s a sad sign of the times that Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, has taken to telling interviewers that “our clergy not only need to be versed in Torah, they need to be versed in tactics.”
The tactics to which Greenblatt refers are those necessary not just to combat hate crimes, but quite possibly to engage in combat with those who are committing them.
Greenblatt made the comments in response to this month’s hostage-taking at a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas. And while we might prefer to think it couldn’t happen here, police and Jewish community leaders clearly think otherwise.
Concerned about a copycat attack, some community leaders have encouraged heightened vigilance, and police have increased their presence in the vicinity of some synagogues.
The concern is understandable given that the Colleyville attack occurred at a time when hate crimes have been increasing dramatically throughout North America. Data from 2021 is not yet available, but Statistics Canada says there were 2,669 police-reported hate crime incidents in 2020, up 37 per cent from the previous year. And while crimes against certain groups, notably Asian-Canadians, increased exponentially during that period, Jews continue to be the most frequently targeted group.