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Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center Horrified to Learn Winnipeg Court Decides "Let's Burn the Jew" Not Racist

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 01/06/14 -- Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC) is horrified to learn of a recent ruling by Winnipeg provincial court judge that decided the phrase "let's burn the Jew" may be "vulgar and inappropriate" but not racist.

The decision stems from an incident in 2011 in which a Winnipeg high school student approached a fellow student near his locker, pulled out his lighter and singed the then 15 year old victim's hair, saying, "Let's burn the Jew." Despite these words, the judge said the offender, who had previously pleaded guilty to assault with a weapon, did not mean to burn the victim's hair and did not single her out because she was Jewish.

"To ignore the racial overtones - the perpetrator's direct reference to the Holocaust and the burning of six million Jews in the concentration camps - is almost incomprehensible," noted FSWC President and CEO, Avi Benlolo. "This ruling does a terrible disservice to the concept of justice and sends a message of utter disregard to the Jews of Winnipeg and Canada. I cannot imagine the same decision would have been rendered had the perpetrator targeted any other minority group in a similar way."

In her victim impact statement the girl said the incident "changed her world upside down," and that she spent time in therapy to deal with her fear and anger as a result of the assault.

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) is a leading Canadian non-profit human rights foundation directly representing over 30,000 members. FSWC is committed to countering racism and antisemitism and to promoting the principles of tolerance, social justice and Canadian democratic values through advocacy and educational programs including workshops, Freedom Day, Spirit of Hope Benefit, Tools for Tolerance and its widely acclaimed new Tour for Humanity. FSWC is affiliated with the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international Jewish human rights organization headquartered in Los Angeles, which has won two Academy Awards, has built two Museums of Tolerance (with a third being built in Jerusalem) and is an NGO at the United Nations, UNESCO, OAS, OSCE, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament. Visit us at www.fswc.ca.

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