A month after a gunman murdered 11 worshipers in a November 2018 mass shooting inside a Pittsburgh synagogue, Miami Police officer Roberto Destephan made international headlines when a 12-second, self-recorded video surfaced and the world was treated to the sight of him tossing sacred Jewish texts and a case inscribed with the Star of David into the back of an empty pickup truck.
“This crap — fuck this,” Destephan says as he hurls the texts into the truck. “Taking out the trash, dawg.”
In January of 2019, over objections from the police union, the Miami Police Department fired Destephan, citing a “moral character” violation. The Anti-Defamation League released a statement saying, “We want to believe that law enforcement will always be there to protect us, regardless of who we are and how we pray. However, this incident erodes that belief and cripples the trust the community places in police.”
Fast-forward to September 2021: New Times received a tip that Destephan was working for another local police department.
Destephan’s reappearance in Biscayne Park after his firing in Miami is no aberration when it comes to police-force career trajectories in general.
According to a 2020 article in the Yale Law Journal, which examined 98,000 full-time law enforcement officers in 500 police agencies across Florida over three decades, determined that during any given year, more than 1,000 full-time police officers working in Florida were previously fired from other police agencies in the state. The article also found that fired officers are typically rehired at smaller agencies with “slightly larger” communities of color than others across the state, and more likely to receive a complaint or be fired for a “moral character violation.”
The village of Biscayne Park is home to about 3,000 people, the majority of whom are white or Hispanic. As of 2019, the police department employed seven full-time officers with an additional 24 reserve officers on staff, according to an annual report.
Source: Miami New Times
DeKalb County and Emory University officials said they have arrested a man in connection with an incident of vandalism at the university.
Roy Lee Gordon Jr. was arrested on Sept. 22. Officials said he is a former part-time/temporary employee at Emory.
On Aug. 9, staff members at Emory Autism Center arrived to find graffiti depicting racial slurs and swastikas and damage to physical property.
“This case was a priority for our entire department, including our security systems team,” says Emory Police Chief Cheryl D. Elliott. “I’m proud of the work from the team and our law enforcement partners to recognize the sensitivity of this case to our community and bring a resolution.”
Gordon was charged with second-degree burglary.
Emory police released a statement saying that the university is an inclusive campus for everyone.
“Acts of racism and antisemitism are painful for the entire Emory community. EPD’s priority is fostering a safe and inclusive campus for all faculty, staff, students, patients and their families, while upholding Emory’s values and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.”
DeKalb County and University officials said they have arrested a man in connection with an incident of vandalism at the university. Roy Lee Gordon Jr. was arrested on Sept. 22. Officials said he is a former part-time/temporary employee at . On Aug. 9, staff members at Emory Autism Center arrived to find graffiti depicting racial slurs and swastikas and damage to physical property. “This case was a priority for our entire department, including our security systems team,” says Police Chief Cheryl D. Elliott. “I’m proud of the work from the team and our law enforcement partners to recognize the sensitivity of this case to our community and bring a resolution.” Gordon was charged with second-degree burglary. Emory police released a statement saying that the university is an inclusive campus for everyone.
A new survey has found an alarming level of anti-Semitism experienced by Jewish students on college campuses in the U.S., with students who claim a strong sense of Jewish identity and connection to Israel feeling unsafe and the need to actively hid their identity.
The survey, which polled 1,027 members of the predominately Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) and the leading Jewish sorority Alpha Epsilon Phi (AEPhi), found that nearly 70 percent of the students surveyed personally experienced or were familiar with an anti-Semitic attack in the past 120 days, with more than 65 percent of these students feeling unsafe on campus and one-in-10 fearing physical attack. Furthermore, 50 percent of students said they have felt the need to hide their Jewish identity.
The poll was conducted between April 14-20 by the Cohen Research Group in conjunction with the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law. It was the first to specifically examine rates of anti-Semitism among college students who claim a strong sense of Jewish identity, with more than 60 percent of the students surveyed belonging to Hillel and nearly half to Chabad on Campus, and more than 80 percent supportive of Israel and 60 percent having visited Israel.
The survey noted that campus anti-Semitism is most often experienced through words and offensive statements targeted at Jews as a community, including comments such as Jews are “greedy” or “cheap.” Additionally, it found that Jews have a collective responsibility for Israel’s military actions was “relatively common,” noting that it was conducted before the May 2021 Gaza conflict, which saw a major spike in anti-Semitism across the United States.
“Students are experiencing traditional anti-Semitism in the form of anti-Semitic tropes and a newer form of anti-Semitism as it relates to Israel,” according to the survey. “It is significant that the anti-Zionism and anti-Israelism reported in this survey was experienced before the recent Israel-Gaza hostilities. It is likely that had the survey taken place in May, the number of anti-Semitic incidents relating to Israel would have been higher and the percentage of students expressing fear of being targeted would have been greater than reflected.”
Source: European Jewish Press
Two NDP candidates have resigned after their Anti-Semitic comments on social media caused an intense backlash.
The party confirms that the two candidates – Dan Osborne from Nova Scotia and Sidney Coles from Toronto – have stepped down.
Federal party leader Jagmeet Singh addressed the resignations during a campaign stop in southwestern Ontario.
“I want to be very clear: their comments were completely wrong and have no place in our party,” Singh said in Essex, Ont., on Wednesday.
“Those messages were completely unacceptable, and the right decision was made.”
Osborne was reported to have Tweeted to Oprah in 2019 asking if Auschwitz was a real place, referring to the Nazi-run concentration camp in Poland during the Second World War.
“I want to offer an apology,” Osborne said in a subsequent tweet Sunday.
“The role of Auschwitz and the history of the holocaust is one we should never forget. Antisemitism should be confronted and stopped. I can’t recall posting that, I was 16 then and can honestly say I did not mean to cause any harm.”
Coles was reported to have posted misinformation about Israel being linked to missing COVID-19 vaccines. Both Coles and Osborne’s Twitter accounts have since been deleted.
“Those comments were wrong, and I’m encouraged to see a clear apology and a complete withdrawal of those comments,” Singh continued.
“In addition, they’re talking about the importance of getting training. Antisemitism is real. We’re seeing a scary rise in antisemitism, and we are unequivocally opposed, and we’ll confront it.”
Yesterday, Singh had said it was enough that the two apologized for their past Anti-Semitic remarks.
Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC) issued a statement on the matter, saying “FSWC exposed and denounced Coles’ tweets in which she repeatedly accused Israel of misappropriating U.S. supplies of the coronavirus vaccine.”
Source: City News
Pope Francis called for an end to antisemitism Sunday during an unusually short trip to Hungary, where he warned that prejudice against Jews was a “fuse that must not be allowed to burn.”
“I think of the threat of antisemitism still lurking in Europe and elsewhere,” the pope said at an ecumenical meeting of Christian and Jewish leaders in the capital, Budapest.
“This is a fuse that must not be allowed to burn. And the best way to defuse it is to work together, positively, and to promote fraternity,” he said.
Francis, on his first international outing since he had intestinal surgery in July, spent seven hours in Budapest, where he presided over a lengthy Mass for a crowd that organizers said reached 100,000 people, before he moved on to a four-day tour of neighboring Slovakia.
He met briefly with Hungary’s populist prime minister, Viktor Orbán, whose hard-line policies on refugees clash with Francis’. The pope has previously said migrants and refugees seeking better lives in Europe should be welcomed. He has also criticized what he has called “national populism” advanced by governments like Hungary’s.
Orbán, who has been in power since 2010, upset Hungary’s Jewish community in 2017 when he used an image of the U.S. financier George Soros, who is Jewish, in an anti-immigration campaign. At the time, he rejected calls from the Jewish community to take the posters down.
Under Orbán’s leadership, Hungary approved a law to force a university founded by Soros out of the country, despite widespread condemnation at home and abroad. Orbán had claimed that Central European University violated regulations in awarding diplomas, an allegation the school rejected.
Orbán was also widely criticized for his comments at rally in March 2018, when he told supporters: “We are fighting an enemy that is different from us. … Not open, but hiding; not straightforward, but crafty; not honest, but base; not national, but international; does not believe in working, but speculates with money; does not have its own homeland, but feels it owns the whole world.”
Last week, the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) welcomed students back to campus. But how welcome can the university’s Jewish population feel sharing a campus with a student group whose members have a long history of horrific anti-Semitic social media posts?
The group, Students for Justice in Palestine, runs a very active chapter at UIC. Even with the COVID-related shutdown of in-person learning in the past academic year, SJP made great headway in its campaign to demonize Jewish students.
A new report released by the anti-hate watchdog group Canary Mission found “disturbing” levels of anti-Semitic activity by this group going as far back as 2015.
The report broke this activity down into three categories: a campaign to attack and malign Chicago’s largest Jewish charity; an effort to bully “Zionists”; and spreading anti-Semitism, support for terrorism and hatred of Israel on social media.
Additionally, the report takes a look at the evolving strategies used by SJP.
Attacking the Chicago Federation
The 2020-2021 academic year saw SJP UIC take their attacks into the larger Jewish community of Chicago for the first time. In the hope of appealing to their intersectional allies, the group branded the Jewish United Fund (JUF) of Metropolitan Chicago, Chicago’s Jewish Federation, as “racist,” “Islamophobic, anti-Arab, transphobic and homophobic” and a “hate group.”
Among its other activities, the Federation provides food, refuge, health care, education and emergency assistance to 500,000 Chicago residents of all faiths and funds a network of more than 100 agencies, schools and initiatives.
As documented in Canary Mission’s report, in February 2021, SJP UIC began a two-month campaign to pressure UIC to cut ties with the JUF for sponsoring a Zoom talk by an Israeli professor Gabi Bin Nun of Ben-Gurion University at the university’s School of Public Health.
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) deleted a tweet Wednesday that compared vaccine passports to the identification numbers Nazis forcibly tattooed on concentration camp prisoners during the Holocaust.
Screenshots of Massie’s tweet circulated on Twitter shortly after its deletion and sparked backlash. The original tweet shows a black-and-white photo of a clenched fist with numbers tattooed along its wrist. It was accompanied with the caption: “If you have to carry a card on you to gain access to a restaurant, venue of an event in your country … that’s no longer a free country.”
According to a screenshot shared by CNN reporter Andrew Kaczynski, Massie posted the tweet at 3 p.m. and took it down by 11 p.m. that same day.
Roughly 400,000 Holocaust victims and survivors at the Auschwitz concentration camp complex received tattooed serial numbers, which were used as a means of identification and dehumanization.
Massie’s caption refers to vaccine passports currently under debate in Kentucky and across the country. Kentucky does not require residents to show paper documents that indicate they have been vaccinated against COVID-19, but private workplaces and venues may require proof of vaccination.
Andrew Zirkle, who identified himself on Twitter as an intern for Massie’s office, said Thursday that he quit his internship in response to Massie’s tweet.
“The tweet that Congressman Massie posted last night, in which he compared vaccine passports to the Holocaust, was insensitive to not only survivors of the Holocaust, but the millions who perished as a result. The anti-semitic nature of the post is beyond apology, and as a result, I cannot in good conscience continue at my current position,” Zirkle said in a statement posted to Twitter.
Massie’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
Source: The Hill
A New York man has been sentenced to three years in federal prison on hate crime charges in connection with making anti-Semitic death threats to a Stratford resident, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut.
Christopher Rascoll, 49, of Blauvelt, was also sentenced Wednesday to three years of supervised release following the prison term, officials announced. Rascoll was arrested in June 2020 following an investigation by the FBI with assistance from the Stratford Police Department.
Authorities said that in November 2019, Rascoll began to threaten a woman, who is Jewish, through numerous text messages, voicemails and Facebook posts. In several text messages and voicemails, which continued until June 2020, Rascoll threatened to kill or seriously injure the victim, according to authorities.
He also threatened to blow up the victim’s house and car, authorities said.
“Some of Rascoll’s threatening text messages contained anti-Semitic references to the Holocaust,” officials wrote in the news release. “On December 23, 2019, the first day of Hannukah, Rascoll sent the victim a message that included the words ‘Suns about to go down. It would be a shame if your house were used to light the menorah. Or turned in a gas chamber.’ On April 8, 2020, the first day of Passover, Rascoll wrote ‘I’m going to kill you. You better be gone because if you’re in [the victim’s housing community] Easter weekend I’m going to stick you in an oven. Or I’m going to shoot you . . . . I should send you to a concentration camp.’
“On June 26, 2020, only a few hours before he was located and arrested by the FBI, Rascoll left the victim a voicemail message stating, ‘The police are not going to help you. The courts are not going to help you. . . . I will kill you.'”