Despite record-high fears of antisemitism, new study reassures that most Canadians do indeed still like Jews

According to Robert Brym, a sociology professor at the University of Toronto, while two-thirds of Canada’s Jews currently feel unsafe and victimized in this country, and think it will get worse, his new study also shows most non-Jewish Canadians actually have positive feelings about Jews.

His research was published before B’nai Brith Canada released its annual antisemitism audit earlier this week, in which the organization cited at least 5,791 incidents of violence, harassment, online attacks and threats against Jews in Canada in 2023—the highest level recorded since it began documenting this phenomenon more than 40 years ago. The worrying trends were also noted in a global report by the Anti-Defamation League and Tel Aviv University, which indicates “that the war in Gaza helped spread a fire that was already out of control.”

But Brym calls both those reports “misleading” and he questions their “very flawed” methods.

His findings, published in the spring 2024 edition of the academic journal Canadian Jewish Studies, measure people’s attitudes to Jews and Israel, not antisemitic incidents. While he found 83% of Canadians hold positive feelings about Jews, the antisemitism comes primarily from four specific groups in Canadian society—Muslims, white supremacists and leftists, non-Jewish university students, and Quebecois.

As Brym tells The CJN Daily, his study should also be a wakeup call for Canadian Jewish leaders that they’re tackling the problem of antisemitism the wrong way.

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