Disturbing antisemitic posters surface again
October 23, 2012 | Rebeca Kuropatwa - Prairies Correspondent
WINNIPEG – An alarming variation on last month’s antisemitic posters has appeared in the heart of downtown Winnipeg, this time with the names of 13 people crossed off.
Featuring a reference to Hitler embellished with a dollar sign, the poster on a pole in the middle of Broadway lists 13 people – most of them Jewish – and speaks of cliques, corruption and organized crime.
“In my personal opinion, from reading the material, yes, it is abundantly clear that this is antisemitic,” said Andrew Swan, Manitoba’s minister of justice and attorney general.
“There are provisions in the criminal code that deal with hate crimes. Hate crimes are really repugnant to the province of Manitoba that welcomes people from all different faiths and races. If the facts are there to support it, cases will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
Martin Glazer is a criminal defence lawyer who has been a victim of antisemitic verbal abuse in court when defending someone in a homicide trial.
Of the resurfaced posters, Glazer said, “It’s an alarming antisemitic incident, and these people should be apprehended and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
“Perhaps the criminal code should be amended to create a new crime called ‘antisemitic attacks,’ as a separate offence . Right now, we have spreading hate literature and such, but it can apply to anything and there aren’t many prosecutions across Canada.”
David Matas, senior counsel for B’nai Brith Canada, said, “Our primary concern about antisemitism is the Jewish community as a whole rather than specific individuals. That is indeed what makes the poster antisemitic – it blames the Jewish community as a whole for what a few individuals may or may not have done.
“The fact that some of the people on the list aren’t Jewish doesn’t change the antisemitic character of the poster. Under Hitler, many non-Jews were killed for being friends with Jews, for having Jewish relatives, or for opposing actively Hitler’s eliminationist antisemitism.
“In the years before the Nazis took power, Julius Streicher, in his publication Der Sturmer, ran lists like this on a regular basis. Streicher was convicted at Nuremberg, sentenced to death, and hanged for his incitement to hatred alone. While I don’t suggest that the distributor of this list be sentenced to death and hanged, it’s impossible to understate the gravity of this behaviour.”
To Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz, “what the names on the list being crossed off means is, of course, subject to interpretation. The key thing is that you can’t let any of these individuals have an impact on you. It’s not like I haven’t been threatened before or that someone hasn’t before offered money to do physical damage to me.
“According to the police, this is a criminal act, they’re taking it seriously and it’s under investigation. They’ve told me that, specifically. They haven’t yet found the individual responsible, but I think we’re all hopefully they will. Then, we’ll see what happens.
“When something like this happens, of course, you’re going to have some fear or concern. I’ve been through this more times than most, so my reaction might be a little bit different. But, there is no doubt that anyone going through this for the first time should have genuine concern.”