Antisemitic posters turn up at UVic

The Facebook group ‘Anti-Racist Action UVic’ sets up meeting to discuss anti-racist strategy

A poster promoting white supremacist groups was discovered on the University of Victoria campus last week.

Antisemitic posters that have sprung up around the University of Victoria campus has caught the eye of a national Jewish advocacy group.

Posters were observed on the UVic campus last month saying “(((Those))) who hate us will not replace us,” and providing links to white supremacist websites. The posters also said “Defend Canadian heritage” and “Fight back against anti-white hatred” in what is said to be “A message from the Alt-Right.”

The university says campus security was informed of the posters Oct. 18, responding to find that students and a teaching assistant had already removed the posters.

The posters drew public attention after being exposed by the Facebook group Anti-Racist Action UVic, which is calling on students to attend a Nov. 15 meeting to discuss a campus anti-racist strategy. The group advises anyone to see similar posters to “promptly rip them down.”

“We were obviously very concerned when we learned about this,” said Daniel Koren, media co-ordinator with B’Nai Brith Canada.

He said the triple parentheses are frequently used by online neo-Nazis to identify Jews, adding the wording “is an obvious nod to the slogans the white supremacists were chanting during the infamous torchlight rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.”

Campus security conducted a search of buildings across campus and found no other posters. The investiation continues, and anyone with information is asked to contact campus security.

“The University of Victoria has a deep commitment to being a diverse and welcoming community,” said Cassbreea Dewis, acting director

of equity and human rights at UVic. “We are profoundly disappointed that anyone would post offensive discriminatory material like this; at the same time, these incidents reinforce EQHR’s commitment to expanding and deepening our work.”

While many might see antisemitism as more of a 20th century issue, with Muslims a more likely target of racists today, Koren says that isn’t the case. He said statistics compiled by his organization show that members of the Jewish community are most targeted for hate crimes.

“It also shows that Muslims are definitely the fastest rising group in terms of hate crimes. But Jews, even though we’re just a fraction of the Muslim population in Canada, we are still the most targeted for hate crimes,” said Koren, adding that their audit shows that 2016 was the worst year for antisemitism since they started keeping track 36 years ago.

Koren says posters targeting Jews have appeared at American universities, however, this is the first incident he is aware of in Canada. Posters promoting Holocaust denial were placed around the University of Calgary in February.

He called on the university administration and student groups to publicly condemn the antisemitic rhetoric.

“When we see such types of hatred – whether it’s targeting Muslims, Jews, members of the LGBTQ community – our organization believes it’s important to stand up against this type of hatred. This is not what we believe should be taking place in Canada in 2017.”

Dewis said the university takes incidents of racism, discrimination and harassment very seriously, and are committed to responding through the hard work of offices across campus and a suite of university policies that guide our response.

“EQHR is partnering with offices and groups across campus to raise awareness and encourage dialogue about addressing the root causes of all forms of discrimination and racism in society.”

A racist social media post believed to be from a UVic student drew a reaction from university administration in September.

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