Two Liberal candidates re-campaigning in the 2021 Canadian federal election had their Montreal campaign posters vandalized with antisemitic hate symbols.
Candidates Rachel Bendayan and Anthony Housefather tweeted photos of their campaign signs in their electoral districts defaced with swastikas over their face and body on Tuesday.
Bendayan and Housefather are both campaigning in their ridings of Outremont and Mount Royal respectively — areas that are home to large Jewish communities.
“Whatever your political views, spreading hateful and violent messages is not the way to go,” Bendayan wrote.
“We’ve seen the road that the politics of the far right leads us to in the U.S. and around the world. That is not us. That is not our Canada.”
“Pretty sad to see #antisemitism hitting the campaign on day 3,” Housefather wrote.
“I can assure whoever did this that no swastika is going to scare me or stop me from speaking up for Jewish Canadians.”
In an interview with Global News, Bendayan said she thinks it’s important to keep an eye on these incidents, “not because it represents the views of the majority, certainly this is a very small minority of people that are spreading hateful messages, but if we don’t take the time to call out hate for what it is, then it spreads,” she said.
Jewish advocacy organizations CIJA and B’nai Brith Canada released statements calling the incident unacceptable and enraging.
“Another Jewish Canadian candidate in Montreal targeted with swastikas on election campaign posters. Stay vigilant and report hate incidents immediately to police and to us,” B’nai Brith Canada said.
Bendayan added that she is concerned not just about hate crimes against the Jewish community, but also for other communities that are victims of similar crimes, including Canada’s Asian community which has experienced a big spike in anti-Asian crimes this past year.
Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC) also denounced the antisemitic vandalism, calling the act “absolutely sickening” and “vile antisemitism.”
“This symbol of hate and genocide must be rejected by all Canadians,” said Michael Levitt, president and CEO of FSWC.
Montreal police have been made aware of the incident but did not provide Global News with a comment.
It is unclear when exactly the campaign signs were vandalized.