International partnership aims to address rising rate of antisemitic crimes in Canada - up 18.3% from 2019
(February 14, 2022) – JewBelong, a nonprofit resource dedicated to fighting antisemitism in partnership with StandWithUs Canada, a nonprofit that combats antisemitism and educates about Israel, are launching a billboard campaign in Toronto to raise awareness about the rise in antisemitic incidents in Canada and worldwide. JewBelong's hip signature pink billboards with bold slogans, which aim to educate the general public about combating antisemitism, will be visible from February 28 through March 27, 2022. JewBelong's billboards will premier in Canada, having already appeared in US cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas, Boston and Orlando. StandWithUs has a long history of running educational billboard campaigns about Israel throughout the US, Israel, South Africa and Vancouver, Canada.
The provocative slogans: “We’re just 75 years since the gas chambers. So, no, a billboard calling out bigotry against Jews isn’t an overreaction.” and “Does your church need armed guards? ‘Cause our synagogue does.” will be visible in three locations: Spadina, 75 M. North Of Queen, West Side and Avenue; Don Valley Pkwy 70m N/O Queen St East and Gardiner Expy 25m E/O Fraser Ave.
The billboard debut follows the release of B'nai Brith Canada's annual 2020 Audit of Antisemitic Incidents report, which found that 2020 was the fifth consecutive record-setting year for antisemitism in Canada, an 18.3% increase over 2019. This includes harassment, vandalism and even violence during the Covid-19 pandemic in communities throughout the country. “Antisemitism has become tolerated and normalized in far too many circles in both the US and Canada.” says JewBelong co-Founder, Archie Gottesman. “The type of hate leveled against Jews followed by the deafening silence from supposedly good people should be abhorrent to anyone who stands for justice. The time of Jewish people being silent in hopes that the hate will disappear has long passed. JewBelong is proud to partner with StandWithUs and bring this critically important awareness to Canada.” Rebecca Katzman, StandWithUs Canada senior campus director stated, "In the past few months alone, we've had to respond to instances of antisemitism by members of the Toronto District School Board and a BDS campaign at the University of Toronto Scarborough student government. These are just examples of what has become routine practice. They underscore how critical this ad campaign is in educating about the danger of anti-Jewish bigotry. We are proud to join JewBelong on this awareness campaign. Billboards are immediate, visible and impart a message that is quick and easy to understand whether driving down a highway or waiting for public transportation."
About JewBelong JewBelong.com is a non-profit online resource that offers easy explanations and meaningful DIY rituals for Jews, allies and anyone who has felt like a Jewish outsider or feels disengaged from the religion. JewBelong’s Judaism always stands for inclusion and welcomes everyone wherever they are (or aren’t) on their Jewish journey - JewBelong exists to help you find the joy, meaning, relevance and connection that Judaism has to offer. Due to the current climate, as of March 2021, JewBelong has pivoted their platform to focus on the fight against antisemitism. Launched in 2017, JewBelong is dedicated to promoting inclusion around Judaism to welcome people of all backgrounds and show them the joys, meaning and connections Judaism has to offer.
About StandWithUs StandWithUs (SWU) is an international, non-profit and non-partisan Israel education organization that works to inspire and educate people of all ages about Israel, as well as challenge misinformation and fight against antisemitism. The StandWithUs Canada office opened up in 2014. Through university fellowships, high school internships, conferences, materials, social media, educational films, and missions to Israel, StandWithUs supports people around the world who want to educate their schools and communities about Israel. SWU Canada combats anti-Israel rhetoric, trains student leaders in high schools and on campuses and educates Canadians about supporting Israel. Founded in 2001 in Los Angeles, StandWithUs has programs on five continents, with chapters and offices throughout the U.S., in Israel, the UK, Canada and Brazil.
For the last ten years, SWU has consistently received the highest possible ratings from the US charity watchdog groups, Charity Navigator (4 stars) and Guidestar (Platinum).