Antisemitic graffiti was reported at yet another Toronto-area school on March 10, similar to the graffiti that was found at three schools in the city the week before. The most recent graffiti was found at Birchmount Park Collegiate Institute in Scarborough, and, like the previous instances of graffiti, it promoted the antisemitic website GoyimTV, which is operated by a hate group called the Goyim Defense League.
The Goyim Defense League is based in the United States and has been responsible for dozens of antisemitic propaganda incidents. Noah Shack, vice- president GTA for the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said the hate group promotes the worst kinds of antisemitic tropes, including that Jewish people created COVID and that Jewish people are responsible for slavery.
“It’s really a catch-all for all different kinds of manifestations of antisemitism,” Shack said. “It’s much more pernicious than a simple swastika or ‘F the Jews.’ This is much more sophisticated, much more insidious, and something that’s very alarming and concerning.”
The police’s hate crime unit is actively investigating said Constable Caroline de Kloet, media relations officer for the Toronto Police Service. They are looking into the potential links between this incident and the previous three, which were all committed overnight and not during school hours. Police also released a description of the suspect for the first three incidents.
Shari Schwartz-Maltz, media relations and issues manager for the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), said that it is likely the graffiti at Birchmount was done by the same person as the previous three schools, since the images and links to GoyimTV were the same. Also, based on the description of the suspect and the time of the original incidents, the suspect is not believed to be a student.
Even though the suspect is likely not a student, Schwartz-Maltz said it is important to respond proactively, especially since there were students exposed to the hateful graffiti.
Holocaust educator Michelle Glied-Goldstein will be doing her program Carrying Holocaust Testimony from Generation to Generation at the affected schools. Schwartz-Maltz said Glied-Goldstein has already done the program at dozens of schools since the beginning of the school year, and it has proven very effective.
On March 12, Toronto Police Chief James Ramer tweeted that police had responded to reports of hate-motivated graffiti on signs outside of the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre (MNJCC) in downtown Toronto. Jo Michaels, director of marketing and communications for the MNJCC, said the reported graffiti was a small swastika on a lamppost flyer on the street nearby. As such, it does not appear as though the MNJCC was directly targeted, Michaels said, but there is still an ongoing police investigation into the graffiti.
Another instance of antisemitic graffiti was reported at the Taylor Creek Trail system in Toronto on March 13. Police did not give further information about the nature of the antisemitic graffiti found there.