B'nai Brith praises cops for quick arrest of man making threats against Jews online

The B'nai Brith organization is praising the Montreal police hate crimes unit for their quick arrest of a Rosemont man who made death threats against Jews online.

55-year-old Robert Gosselin is currently facing charges of inciting hatred online for what he allegedly wrote on Facebook, in the comments section of a Montreal news outlet's page.

The comments in question included graphic references to the Holocaust, and threats of a mass murder at a Jewish girl's school.

They were made last Wednesday, Oct. 24. Gosselin was arrested the next day, after the police hate crimes unit were informed of them.

Gosselin is also alleged to have made threats against the family of Quebec singing superstar Celine Dion.

Steven Slimovitch with B'nai Brith says these kinds of comments aren't new, and neither is online racism. But he says in recent years, the attacks against minorities from political leaders, both in Quebec and elsewhere, have helped embolden racist online commenters.

"When you divide people, when you tell people that there's you and there's us, then you give a certain element of the population a legitimacy, you give them a certain amount of power," Slimovitch says, "and there's no telling what they can do in this day and age."

The suspect in Saturday's Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, Robert Bowers, is believed to have posted anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic rants in the days and weeks leading up to the shooting on Gab.com, a conservative social media forum.

Montreal police say they've stepped up patrols in recent days around schools and synagogues, in response to the Pittsburgh shooting and the online threats.

Gosselin is now free on $500 bail. His case returns to court on Nov. 6.