The Cummings Centre for Jewish Senior Citizens defaced by a swastika - Thursday, December 28, 2006
The above are pictures of the latest Jewish institution to be defaced in Montreal. The Cummings Centre provides services for senior citizens, including kosher meals, lectures and social activities. The swastika pictured above must have been spray painted in the evening of Thursday, December 28, 2006. There are almost certainly Holocaust survivors among the people who will be visiting the centre this Friday morning. The Jewish community in Montreal has been feeling under fire since the outbreak of the second intifada. There have already been several attacks on Jewish schools in Montreal, including a firebomb attack on a Jewish school reported on in this blog last September. Lately, an inordinate amount of media attention has been focused on Jewish issues: much of this attention is unfortunately negative. The reaction to a recent report by a Montreal police committee that issued "cultural advice" to improve community policing is especially instructive. In the report, a cultural advisor from the police department suggested that in cases where police had to intervene in Orthodox Jewish communities (something that is in any case rare), male police officers talk to Orthodox men and that female officers address Orthodox women so as to show sensitivity to religious customs. As far as I could tell, the report simply intended to make community policing more effective - it was not triggered by any refusal on the part of Orthodox men to speak to female police officers. Nevertheless, the lines of French-language talk shows in Montreal were jammed by callers complaining about the alleged refusal of Jews to conform to Quebec's "tolerant" values and the whole affair was cast as a surrender by the Montreal police to sexist demands by the Jewish community.