A ‘safe space for racists’: antisemitism report criticises social media giants


There has been a serious and systemic failure to tackle antisemitism across the five biggest social media platforms, resulting in a “safe space for racists”, according to a new report.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok failed to act on 84% of posts spreading anti-Jewish hatred and propaganda reported via the platforms’ official complaints system.

Researchers from the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), a UK/US non-profit organisation, flagged hundreds of antisemitic posts over a six-week period earlier this year. The posts, including Nazi, neo-Nazi and white supremacist content, received up to 7.3 million impressions.

Although each of the 714 posts clearly violated the platforms’ policies, fewer than one in six were removed or had the associated accounts deleted after being pointed out to moderators.

The report found that the platforms are particularly poor at acting on antisemitic conspiracy theories, including tropes about “Jewish puppeteers”, the Rothschild family and George Soros, as well as misinformation connecting Jewish people to the pandemic. Holocaust denial was also often left unchecked, with 80% of posts denying or downplaying the murder of 6 million Jews receiving no enforcement action whatsoever.

Facebook was the worst offender, acting on just 10.9% of posts, despite introducing tougher guidelines on antisemitic content last year. In November 2020, the company updated its hate speech policy to ban content that denies or distorts the Holocaust.

However, a post promoting a viral article that claimed the Holocaust was a hoax accompanied by a falsified image of the gates of Auschwitz with a white supremacist meme was not removed after researchers reported it to moderators. Instead, it was labelled as false information, which CCHD say contributed to it reaching hundreds of thousands of users. Statistics from Facebook’s own analytics tool show the article received nearly a quarter of a million likes, shares and comments across the platform.

Twitter also showed a poor rate of enforcement action, removing just 11% of posts or accounts and failing to act on hashtags such as #holohoax (often used by Holocaust deniers) or #JewWorldOrder (used to promote anti-Jewish global conspiracies). Instagram also failed to act on antisemitic hashtags, as well as videos inciting violence towards Jewish people.

YouTube acted on 21% of reported posts, while Instagram and TikTok on around 18%. On TikTok, an app popular with teenagers, antisemitism frequently takes the form of racist abuse sent directly to Jewish users as comments on their videos.

The report, entitled Failure to Protect, found that the platform did not act in three out of four cases of antisemitic comments sent to Jewish users. When TikTok did act, it more frequently removed individual comments instead of banning the users who sent them, barring accounts that sent direct antisemitic abuse in just 5% of cases.

Forty-one videos identified by researchers as containing hateful content, which have racked up a total of 3.5m views over an average of six years, remain on YouTube.

The report recommends financial penalties to incentivise better moderation, with improved training and support. Platforms should also remove groups dedicated to antisemitism and ban accounts that send racist abuse directly to users.

Imran Ahmed, CEO of CCDH, said the research showed that online abuse is not about algorithms or automation, as the tech companies allowed “bigots to keep their accounts open and their hate to remain online”, even after alerting human moderators.

He said that media, which he described as “how we connect as a society”, has become a “safe space for racists” to normalise “hateful rhetoric without fear of consequences”. “This is why social media is increasingly unsafe for Jewish people, just as it is becoming for women, Black people, Muslims, LGBT people and many other groups,” he added.

Ahmed said the test of the government’s online safety bill, first drafted in 2019 and introduced to parliament in May, is whether platforms can be made to enforce their own rules or face consequences themselves.

“While we have made progress in fighting antisemitism on Facebook, our work is never done,” said Dani Lever, a Facebook spokesperson. Lever told the New York Times that the prevalence of hate speech on the platform was decreasing, and she said that “given the alarming rise in antisemitism around the world, we have and will continue to take significant action through our policies”.

A Twitter spokesperson said the company condemned antisemitism and was working to make the platform a safer place for online engagement. “We recognise that there’s more to do, and we’ll continue to listen and integrate stakeholders’ feedback in these ongoing efforts,” the spokesperson said.

TikTok said in a statement that it condemns antisemitism and does not tolerate hate speech, and proactively removes accounts and content that violate its policies. “We are adamant about continually improving how we protect our community,” the company said.

YouTube said in a statement that it had “made significant progress” in removing hate speech over the last few years. “This work is ongoing and we appreciate this feedback,” said a YouTube spokesperson.

Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, did not respond to a request for comment before publication.

Source: A ‘safe space for racists’: antisemitism report criticises social media giants

Hate Crimes Breakdown 2008-20

The latest breakdowns, including 2020, with almost a doubling of race and ethnicity-related hate crimes, particularly for East Asians, quadrupling and Blacks, almost doubling from 2019 to 2020.

Religiously-related hate crimes continue downward trend for all groups save Jews.

DOJ Declined to Prosecute 82 Percent of Hate Crimes Between 2005-2019

Don’t believe we have national stats in Canada but reader feedback welcome:

The Justice Department declined to prosecute 82% of hate crime suspects between 2005 and 2019, according to a department reportreleased this week.

State of play: Prosecutors declined to prosecute the 1,548 cases for different reasons, but more than 55% of the decisions came down to insufficient evidence, which means that a case could not be proven in court beyond a reasonable doubt.

  • The second most cited reason to decline cases was for the prioritization of federal resources.
  • Prosecutors conducted investigations into 1,878 suspects in potential hate crime cases, but only 17% were prosecuted. Another 1% of cases were dismissed by U.S. magistrates.

Yes, but: The report also said that of those crimes that were reported, the conviction rate increased from 83% between 2005 and 2009 to 94% between 2015 and 2019. About 85% of defendants convicted were sent to prison for an average term of 7.5 years.

The big picture: The report comes weeks after Attorney General Merrick Garland announced a six-step plan to combat hate crimes in the country. He said he would direct the Justice Department to increase resources and coordination to state, local and tribal partners.

  • The plan would also designate an officer to facilitate the expedited review of hate crimes, as well as increase the department’s language access capabilities to make it easier to report these types of crimes.

Worth noting: Reports of hate crimes against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community have increased during the pandemic. Stop AAPI Hate received more than 6,600 self-reported incidents from the beginning of the pandemic until March this year.

  • President Biden in May signed into law the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which would direct the Justice Department to expedite the review of coronavirus-related hate crimes.

Source: DOJ Declined to Prosecute 82 Percent of Hate Crimes Between 2005-2019

Liberals to introduce new hate speech bill, possibly bringing back controversial Section 13

Virtue signalling, given likely election call?

Right before the House of Commons breaks for summer, the Liberal government will introduce a new bill tackling hate speech, which could bring back a controversial law under the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Justice Minister David Lametti has given notice the government will introduce a new bill, dealing with “hate propaganda, hate crimes and hate speech.” Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault has been working on a new online harms bill with Justice and other ministries, though government spokespeople declined to say Tuesday whether that bill is the legislation that will be tabled by Lametti.

One possibility is that Lametti’s bill could leave out online regulation and focus only on changes to hate speech law the government consulted on last year — though if that includes bringing back a civil remedy for hate speech, the bill still stands to garner much opposition.

Source: Liberals to introduce new hate speech bill, possibly bringing back controversial Section 13

To tackle hate-motivated crimes, Canada’s justice system needs to change

Of note even if the proposed solutions are modest and unlikely by themselves to make a significant difference although encouraging minorities and others to increase reporting would be a good step:

As Muslim chairs of police boards in Ontario, we are sadly familiar with hate-motivated crimes, and with the reality that no country is immune. Police services across Canada have been grappling with these issues for some time, and we are vividly aware that we cannot look away from the hatred that stole the lives of four fellow Canadians who died simply because they were walking while Muslim.

While the particulars of criminal investigations cannot be released, London Police Services were clear that our beloved community members were murdered and targeted for their Islamic faith. As hard as that is to hear for many Canadians, the truth is this is not a singular event. Islamophobic incidents happen all the time in Canada.

In the City of London and Peel Region, both of which are home to diverse communities with large numbers of racialized citizens, police-reported hate-crime numbers have remained consistent over the last few years. According to Statistics Canada, London’s numbers rose by more than a third from 2015 to 2019, and in four of those five years, the city’s rate per 100,000 population was higher than the national average. In 2019, London police reported that Black, Muslim, Jewish, Middle Eastern and LGBTQ2+ peoples constituted the five most targeted groups for hate crimes. In Peel, meanwhile, crimes motivated by race or nationality increased by 54 per cent from 2018 to 2020, with Black and South Asian people being the most targeted by race or ethnicity. Muslims and Jews experienced the most targeting based on faith.

Yet, despite these numbers, our justice system continues to have an incredibly high threshold for anyone to be prosecuted under hate-related laws, and as a result, it is not achieving its desired aims. There remains no specific definition of a “hate crime” in the Criminal Code as a chargeable offence, and what is laid out only provides a judge the ability to hand down harsher sentences based on his or her ruling around a given perpetrator’s motivations. In Peel, only a third of the Criminal Code offences designated by police as hate- or bias-motivated crimes resulted in Criminal Code charges in 2020.

This outdated model emboldens hateful behavior while doing little to dissuade perpetrators, which in turn normalizes their hate-filled rhetoric and actions. Perpetrators such as Alexandre Bissonnette, for instance, have reaped the benefit of loopholes such as concurrent sentences; Mr. Bissonnette murdered six people in Quebec City in 2017, yet serves time for only one murder. We cannot let this injustice continue in the case of the family killed in London, Ont.

Reporting mechanisms are also a challenge. Far too often, verbal threats and assaults are not brought to the police because victims don’t feel like they’ll be taken seriously, simply don’t want the trouble, or are concerned that their reporting will only further agitate the perpetrators, putting the victims and their families at further risk. This means that any hate-crime numbers are almost certainly underestimated, masking the magnitude of the problem.

Earlier this week, community leaders called for action at the vigil for the family killed on the streets of London, but political gesturing and posturing won’t be enough to help prevent the next hate-fueled mass murder. We must name hate for what it is, stare it down, and work with the affected communities to prioritize change over pandering for votes. All parties must work together to get tougher on hate and extremism. We must end the minimization and denial that has become commonplace in our system and in our discourse. Our politicians and legislators can get the ball rolling by changing hate-crime laws to better protect victims who do report, while holding those responsible maximally accountable.

We must also work with our communities to increase the reporting of such crimes so that we can both identify and engage the perpetrators and provide victims with a sense of safety and support. In addition, our laws must also reflect our society’s values and priorities. If hate crimes are difficult to prosecute and carry minimal odds of conviction, this sends the wrong message.

It’s time to take bolder action against anti-Muslim hate, and all other forms of hate and bigotry that continue to terrorize our communities. It’s time to arm our justice system with the necessary tools to root out hatred, and to hold accountable those who perpetrate hate crimes. It’s time to remind far-right extremists and terrorists that our country will not tolerate their hate-motivated crimes and rhetoric. The human cost of our inaction would be too great to bear.

Javeed Sukhera is the chair of the London Police Services Board and an associate professor of psychiatry and paediatrics at Western University. Ahmad Attia is the chair of the Peel Police Services Board and the CEO of Incisive Strategy.

Source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-to-tackle-hate-motivated-crimes-canadas-justice-system-needs-to-change/

Boessenkool: Crossing the line

Good self- and broader reflections:

As I reflect on vile attack on five members of the beautiful Azfaal family — Salman, Madiha, Yumna, Talat and Fayez — I was initially deeply angered by how quick some were to use this vile, hate-motivated act of terrorism to confirm their political priors. 

And yet. 

The fact that the alleged attacker, Nathaniel Veltman, is a young Dutch blond boy who could well have come from my own religious community hit close to the heart. 

Now let me be clear. I apportion no blame for this act on Conservatives, religion, or even the Dutch privilege in which I assume Veltman, like me, grew up in. If guilty of this crime, Veltman is a hate-motivated terrorist who committed multiple murders. That would be on him. May the justice system rain down. 

And yet. 

My reflection called to mind times when, as a religious social conservative, I should have felt more uncomfortable with some of the things my fellow conservatives have said in recent years about terrorism, culture and religion. Times when we too easily crossed lines that conservatives — and religious conservatives in particular — should not have crossed.  

The line got crossed when some seemed to weigh their critique of a terrorist act based entirely on the motivation for that terrorist act. To put it another way, they became more interested in combatting terrorism motivated by some beliefs than terrorism motivated by other beliefs. Compare, for example, the disgustingly light-hearted condemnation of the far-right, neo-Nazi terrorist act in Charlottesville by the same populist U.S. president that proposed banning all Muslim immigration as part of an effort to prevent domestic terrorism. Or those who called for a “values test” to root out radical Islam one day — and then stood with a street preacher who flagrantly breaks the law the next. 

The line got crossed when we got more concerned with the actions of individuals within the institutions of our liberal capitalist democracy than the ideas underpinning those institutions. As a religious social conservative I hold freedom of religion extremely dear. In my world of competing rights, religious freedom comes out near the top. But that means holding expressions of other religions — like a turban, kirpan, hijab or burka — as dear as holding symbols of one’s own religion. Banning or restricting any of these things should make me deeply uncomfortable. Religious freedom should be religion blind. 

The same goes for religious practices. If something is a criminal act, call it a criminal act and treat it as such. If something is a part of one’s religious practice or tradition, leave it at that and leave it alone. Blurring the lines by referring to “barbaric cultural practices” crosses the line. The use of the word “cultural” kind of gives it away. 

The line got crossed when some tried to use the power of the state to impose their own religious views. Now let me be clear. I attend a Christian church — honestly, I need it more than most — and I hold my religious views as truth. I’d not be much of a religious person if I didn’t. I don’t go to a mosque, a synagogue, a temple, or a Richard Dawkins book club to practice my religion. Yet I want my public square to have room for all of these, and many more.  

The investigation into the horrible attack in London continues. If the early information is confirmed, it appears that Veltman alone is responsible for the hate-inspired terrorism of which he is accused.

But an act this vile, particularly when its perpetrated by a member of your own community also warrants deep reflection.  

I spent the afternoon writing down the lines I have crossed. I pray others do the same. 

Source: https://theline.substack.com/p/ken-boessenkool-crossing-the-line?utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email&utm_content=share&token=eyJ1c2VyX2lkIjoxMDcxOTUwNywicG9zdF9pZCI6MzczNzU5MTUsIl8iOiJ3SVY5SCIsImlhdCI6MTYyMzI1MjA1NSwiZXhwIjoxNjIzMjU1NjU1LCJpc3MiOiJwdWItNzAwMzIiLCJzdWIiOiJwb3N0LXJlYWN0aW9uIn0.VW8EnzY8EetTQ6xFCZuxZ1uSaKQIcC1pmRPzalJCcpc

Farber and Fisman: The overlap between lockdown agitators and hate groups is a threat to us all

Of note:

The pandemic has been a major source of disruption in the lives of Canadians for more than a year, leaving many of us frightened. For some people, that fear means opportunity.

In 2008, epidemiologists developed models of the “coupled” dynamics of epidemics and the fear generated by them, showing that behavioural changes engendered by fear can spread as a parallel epidemic, making the infectious disease worse. When two such epidemics interact, the process is referred to as a “syndemic.”

The pandemic, then, has undoubtedly been a syndemic of infection and fear, preyed upon by well-known internet influencers who sat at the core of hate networks that existed before the first outbreak. Now, we have to reckon with a syndemic of infection and hate in a system too vulnerable to both – or face very real consequences.

According to a recent report in The New York Times, many experts now believe the United States may never reach herd immunity. This is largely due to hesitancy around safe and effective vaccines, which is being driven in part by anti-science and pro-conspiracy beliefs. These movements have only sown confusion as people navigate the informational minefield that is a public-health crisis, and they threaten to keep us all in pandemic limbo for the foreseeable future.

Indeed, since the beginning of the global outbreak, conspiratorial anti-establishment movements have only gained momentum, finding common cause in opposing mask mandates and lockdown measures and sucking up oxygen by undermining valid criticisms of government health orders. Rallies and protests have been organized almost every weekend across the country, and those who have found fame in the process bill themselves as defenders of our freedoms. They march with a list of grievances and conspiracy theories, but all believe they are standing up against their misguided idea of tyranny.

Outdoor rallies may not in and of themselves confer much risk on attendees; COVID-19 is some twentyfold less infectious outdoors than indoors as a result of dominant aerosol transmission. However, these gatherings undermine confidence in public-health guidance and promote messaging that is likely to further damage communities already hard-hit by this pandemic.

Ekos Research has found that 8 per cent to 20 per cent of Canadians have views that could be characterized as being distorted via disinformation, with men, minorities and lower-income individuals more likely to be disinformed. We know that minority and lower-income communities in Canada have already been the hardest-hit by COVID-19, and now we’ve seen the promotion of disinformation deepening the problem. Vaccine hesitancy also tracks closely with being disinformed; the promotion of disinformation will continue to injure communities even if it becomes possible to move beyond the pandemic via vaccination.

The principal actors of the anti-lockdown movement have either been or rubbed elbows with some significant haters on the scene. Vancouver neo-Nazi Brian Ruhe, who at one point organized a mock book burning, was involved in its earliest iteration. Quebec’s far-right conspiracy streamer Alexis Cossette-Trudel, a big name among France’s QAnon following, is an important mouthpiece of the francophone anti-lockdown movement. Neo-Nazi Paul Fromm is a fixture at rallies in both Ontario and in Kelowna, B.C. Antimask activist Chris Saccoccia’s social-media feeds feature Holocaust denial and racist posts.

Perhaps one of Canada’s most persistent agitators is Kevin Johnston, who made national headlines in 2017 when he was charged with the willful promotion of hatred against Muslims. In 2019, he lost a $2.5-million judgmentfor his role in racially motivated defamation against Toronto philanthropist Mohamad Fakih in which he repeatedly accused him of being a terrorist; the judge called his comments about Mr. Fakih “hate speech at its worst.” Now, Mr. Johnston is running for mayor of Calgary and has shifted gears by portraying himself as an anti-lockdown and antimask influencer.

The fact that an anti-public health agenda aimed at undermining the Canadian economy and the health and well-being of Canadians has been taken up by a rogues’ gallery with a long track record in disinformation and promotion of hatred should give us all pause. And with our country now approaching 25,000 dead due to COVID-19, Canadians should ask themselves whether the promotion of disinformation – and the undermining of the tools and measures that will permit a return to normalcy – has crossed the line from mere grotesque opportunism to active, malicious harm.

Source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-the-overlap-between-lockdown-agitators-and-hate-groups-is-a-threat-to/

‘Pandemic of hate’: Leaders, experts warn anti-lockdown protests linked to far right

Of note:

Online conspiracy theories about COVID-19 and protests against public health orders are helping to spread dangerous ideas laden with racism and bigotry, says a network monitoring hate groups in Canada.

The executive director of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network said since last year people espousing hateful beliefs have linked themselves to conspiracy and anti-lockdown movements around the novel coronavirus.

“We have two pandemics: We have the actual pandemic and then we have this pandemic of hate,” Evan Balgord said.

“Things are kind of getting worse both online and offline … with maybe one pandemic, we have kind of a solution for, but the hate thing, we don’t have a vaccine for that.

Federal New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh was the latest on Monday to note a connection between anti-mask and anti-lockdown protests and far-right extremism.

His comments came as rallies against COVID-19 health orders are being staged across the country while many provincial doctors battle a deadly third wave of the pandemic.

“To brazenly not follow public-health guidelines puts people at risk and that is something that we’ve seen with extreme right-wing ideology, ” he told reporters.

These demonstrations have been met with frustration from some in the public over what they say appears to be a lack of police enforcement, and a few premiers have promised stiffer fines for COVID-19 rule-breakers.

The far right has become adept at integrating populist grievances into its own narratives and exploiting them to enhance membership, said Barbara Perry, director of the Centre on Hate, Bias and Extremism at Ontario Tech University, in a recent interview.

As a result, members of the far right have turned up at virtually all of the recent anti-lockdown gatherings, “trying to lend their support to that movement, and thereby garner support and sympathy, or solidarity, with their more extreme movement,” she said.

Mr. Balgord said such events make for “fertile hunting” for new recruits because hateful ideas are not being policed, and once someone believes in one conspiracy theory, it’s easy to believe in others.

“We now have a greatly increased number of people who are coming into close contact with racists and bigots of all stripes with more conspiracy theories,” he said.

And more than a year into the pandemic, Mr. Balgord said, organizers behind anti-lockdown protests in Vancouver, Toronto and the Prairies know figures from the country’s “racist right” are involved in their movement.

More recently, he said, some protesters have started showing up with Nazi imagery to depict themselves as being persecuted by the government.

“The racist right that we monitor and the COVID conspiracy movement are inseparable from each other at this point. We monitor them as if they are the same thing because they involve all the same people,” Mr. Balgord.

He said the network’s information is based on what it observes and the far-right figures it follows, but there is a lack of data tracking how conspiratorial thinking around COVID-19 has moved across Canada.

After Mr. Singh’s comments, Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet played down the idea of a connection between the protests and far-right extremism, saying arguments suggesting a correlation were politically motivated.

“I am absolutely certain — absolutely certain — that people which have been involved in such discussions in the last hours and days know very well that there could be no link between … two things that should not be what they are, but are not related,” he said.

The NDP leader said he sees a link between those refusing to follow public-health advice and the ideologies of the extreme right because both show a disregard for the well-being of others and put people at risk.

“There is a connection, certainly.”

Mr. Singh said declining to listen to COVID-19 health orders is dangerous and needs to be called out.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi earlier called such demonstrations “thinly veiled white nationalist, supremacist anti-government protests” on Global’s “The West Block.”

Source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-pandemic-of-hate-leaders-experts-warn-anti-lockdown-protests-linked-to/

In the fight against anti-Asian racism, advocates say federal funds a ‘good start,’ but more support needed

As always…:

The head of an organization tasked with combating racism in Canada says the group is building a collaborative strategy to tackle the issue, but some advocates say more government support is needed to directly address the rise of anti-Asian racism.

Mohammed Hashim, executive director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF), said a centralized plan is needed to create real change, and that his group will consult directly with community organizations across the country to hear what supports are needed.

April’s federal budget allocated $11-million over two years to the CRRF to combat racism and empower racialized Canadians affected by racism during the pandemic. The budget document also specifies that the money can go towards establishing a “national coalition to support Asian-Canadian communities.”

Though many advocates see the funding as a positive step, some say the government is not doing enough to ensure the safety and well-being of Asian-Canadian communities.

“It’s a good start,” said Avvy Go, director of the Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic, “but it’s just as important for the government to support organizations that have a more specific mandate to address anti-Asian racism as an issue.”

Amy Go, president of the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice (CCNC-SJ), said she agrees the funding falls short. “Given that people’s lives are still being threatened – that we are still targeted, that we are being attacked and assaulted – hopefully the government would do more than just the $11-million,” she said.

A report released in March by the CCNC’s Toronto chapter and other advocacy groups found that 1,150 racist attacks against Asian-Canadians took place across Canada between March, 2020, and February, 2021, compiled from incidents reported to online platforms Fight COVID Racism and Elimin8hate. One thousand thirty-two incidents have been reported to date through Fight COVID Racism alone. Verbal harassment, targeted coughing and spitting, and physical aggression made up the majority of the incidents.

The CCNC-SJ’s Ms. Go said while the report presented a starting point for understanding anti-Asian racism during the pandemic, the incidents are underestimated because many cases go unreported. “That’s just the tip of the iceberg,” she said.

She added that the creation of a national coalition, as suggested in the budget, risks erasing the differences between Asian communities and not addressing their diverse needs and concerns. “We are not one monolith,” she said, adding that many heritages and backgrounds exist within Asian-Canadian communities.

Mr. Hashim said the CRRF’s plan is to consult with local groups across the country to understand their needs, and also empower them to do their own work. The $11-million in funding will go towards researching and developing a strategy to combat racism, with a portion also allocated to community organizations.

“A Crown corporation is not going to solve racism,” he said. “It’s going to work in collaboration with community groups, who are deeply connected to the people that they serve.”

Xiaobei Chen, a sociology professor at Carleton University, said she wants to see the government invest in public education on the existence of anti-Asian racism and rising hate crimes against Asian-Canadians during the pandemic.

“People don’t think it’s serious,” Prof. Chen said. “People don’t think that it’s something that we actually need to think about, what we can do to actually invest seriously in solving.”

Investments to combat anti-Asian racism should take many forms, CCNC-SJ president Ms. Go said, adding that money isn’t the only thing Asian communities need from the government.

“We need to think more broadly – along the lines of the systemic policies that will bring about long-term change.”

Source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-in-the-fight-against-anti-asian-racism-advocates-say-federal-funds-a/

Germany Sees 72 Percent Increase in Anti-Immigrant Crimes

Of note:

Germany recorded a 72.4 percent increase in anti-immigrant crimes in 2020 – up to 5,298 total cases – as officials warned Tuesday that the country is experiencing a dangerous rise in far-right violence.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said in total, far-right crimes rose 5.65 percent in 2020, and accounted for more than half of all “politically motivated” crimes.

“This shows again that right-wing extremism is the biggest threat for our country,” Seehofer said Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.

In February 2020, the country saw its deadliest anti-immigrant attack when nine immigrants were killed near Frankfurt, Germany, after a gunman opened fire and called for the “complete extermination” of many “races or cultures in our midst,” the AP reported.

Authorities have since raised concerns that the far-right Alternative for Germany party, or AFD, which placed third in the country’s 2017 election and has grown in influence, has played a role in stoking a climate of hatred toward immigrants and the government.

German security agencies have warned of the growing threat of violent far-right extremism. In July 2019, a regional politician from Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s party was killed by a neo-Nazi; three months later, a gunman tried to force his way into a synagogue on Yom Kippur, killing two people.

Seehofer said antisemitic crimes in Germany were up 15.7 percent in 2020 over 2019 with 2,351 total incidents — 94.6 percent of which were committed by a far-right suspect.

Of the total, 62 were acts of violence while the majority were antisemitic hate speech and other related crimes, frequently on the internet or over social media, Seehofer said.

“This development in Germany is not only troubling, but in view of our history, deeply shameful,” he said.

Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, said the German numbers highlighted a broader issue.

“This is a wake-up call, not just for Germany, but for the whole world,” he said. “These figures should ring alarm bells, because we are seeing similar trends across the Western world.”

Many in the AfD have expressed support for, and participated in, the regular protests in Germany against lockdown measures, organized by the Querdenker movement. The demonstrations have become increasingly violent, and the country’s domestic intelligence service last month said it had put some members of the movement under observation.

The protests have brought together a broad range of demonstrators, including people opposing vaccinations, those who deny the existence of the coronavirus, mask opponents, conspiracy theorists and others.

Seehofer said the protests have also attracted neo-Nazis and other right-wing extremists, and have regularly become violent, targeting police and the media. Seehofer said of the 260 reported crimes against journalists, 112 were related to protests against coronavirus restrictions.

“I want to say here very clearly: These acts of violence are no longer about exercising a constitutional right (to demonstrate), but are acts of violence of a criminal nature that I condemn in the strongest possible terms,” he said.

Source: Germany Sees 72 Percent Increase in Anti-Immigrant Crimes