A Calgary man who was the victim of an anti-Semitic verbal assault is speaking out about the disturbing incident.
Gary Broom was walking a client’s dog home in the southwest community of Woodbine on Nov. 12. The professional dog walker said he was verbally attacked by a man who started swearing at him, shouting anti-Semitic language.
Broom’s clients heard the commotion and came out of their house
“He started yelling: ‘The Holocaust never happened. It was a hoax,'” Broom said.
“He hurled so many disgusting anti-Semitic insults and threats of violence that I called the police.”
Broom confronted the man and called the police when the situation started to escalate. The man also directed his anger towards the elderly couple, Broom said.
Police charged with man with criminal harassment.
Broom’s clients are Jewish and live across the road from the man. Their son is a local rabbi.
“My clients obviously feel unsafe in their own home with this guy living directly across the street. They fear for their property, their dog, their personal safety,” Broom said.
Rabbi Cantor Russell Jayne with the Beth Tzedec Congregation says he was shocked to hear this happened to the parents of a colleague.
“I’m glad that the perpetrator is being charged but it really just brings this close to home.
“We have to be vigilant… make sure that we always are cognizant of rooting out any type of anti-Semitic incident when it happens,” Jayne said.
Jayne says everyone needs to be vigilant when it comes to the anti-Semitic beliefs expressed in-person or in digital spaces.
“If we do not call it out for what it is, we only allow lies and falsehood to be perpetuated.
“And, as we know, the more lies and falsehood are perpetuated without being challenged, the more they are seen as being true,” Jayne said. “So even though it’s hard to call out these events when they happen, this is where proper training can help us find the courage to be able to do it.”
In a Facebook post, Broom’s client said she is deeply shaken by the event and is now feeling very vulnerable and exposed “that my home is no longer the place of safety and security it once was.”
Broom hopes his actions send a message to those who feel it’s OK to spew hateful and racist comments.
“I thought there has to be a deterrent. If he believes he can come up and bully this elderly couple and bully anybody else, where is it going to escalate to?” Broom said.
Calgary police say any evidence of hate motivation is considered by the courts after a person is found guilty of the connected crime.
“If the judge decides during sentencing that hate was a motivation for the offence, it is an aggravating factor that can add to the convicted person’s sentence,” reads a statement from the Calgary Police Service.