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 house in the southwest community of Woodbine on Nov. 12. The professional dog walker said he was verbally attacked by a man who began swearing at him and shouting anti-Semitic language.
Broom’s customers heard the commotion and came out of their house
“He started shouting: ‘The Holocaust never happened. It was a hoax,” Broom said.
“He hurled so many disgusting antisemitic insults and threats of violence that I called the police.”
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Broom confronted the man and called the police when the situation began to escalate. The man also directed his anger at the elderly couple, Broom said.
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Broom’s customers are Jewish and live opposite the man. Their son is a local rabbi.
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“My clients obviously feel unsafe in their own home with this guy who lives right across the street. They fear for their property, their dog, their personal safety,” Broom said.
Rabbi Kantor 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 hits home.
“We have to be vigilant … make sure we’re always aware of rooting out any type of anti-Semitic incident when it happens,” Jayne said.
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Jayne says everyone needs to be vigilant when it comes to anti-Semitic beliefs expressed in person or in digital spaces.
“If we don’t call it out for what it is, we’re just allowing lies and falsehood to be perpetuated.
“And, as we know, the more lies and falsehoods are perpetuated unchallenged, the more they are taken to be true,” Jayne said. “So even though it’s hard to call these events out when they happen, that’s where proper training can help us find the courage to do so.”
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In a Facebook post, Broom’s client said she was deeply moved by the event and now feels 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 okay to spew hateful and racist comments.
“I thought there had to be a deterrent. If he believes he can bully this elderly couple and bully anyone else, where is this going to escalate?” Broom said.
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Calgary police say any evidence of hate motivation is considered by the courts after a person is found guilty of the related crime.
“If the judge decides at sentencing that hate was a motivation for the crime, that is an aggravating factor that can contribute to the convicted person’s sentence,” said a statement from the Calgary Police Service.
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