Antisemitic incidents plague United States in last week

USA
A Nazi's salute at a neo-Nazi rally in Kansas City, Missouri.

A Nazi’s salute at a neo-Nazi rally in Kansas City, Missouri. (Dave Kaup/Reuters). (photo credit: DAVE KAUP / REUTERS)

In just seven seconds, a George Washington University (GWU) student has caused ire and anger after posting a Snapchat video filled with antisemitic slurs.

The Snapchat video, which was shared to both Twitter and Facebook last week, shows a female student being asked by a male counterpart, “What are we going to do to Israel?”

She responds, “We’re going to f***ing bomb Israel bro, [get] the f*** out of here Jewish pieces of s***.”

Following the remarks, GWU President Thomas LeBlanc said in a statement that the “comments… posted on social media are disturbing and hateful, and they are antithetical to our university’s core values of diversity and respect.

“We will not tolerate antisemitism or any form of bigotry on our campuses,” he said. “As we continue to gather more information about this incident and provide support to our students, I urge all members of our GW community to take seriously our responsibility to uphold our values and demonstrate them in our words and actions.”

According to the Washington, DC-based university’s newspaper, The GW Hatchet, students reported the video to the student life office and the Office for Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement.

Spokeswoman Crystal Nosal told the Hatchet that the university “notified GW Police Department officers, who conducted interviews and partnered with local law enforcement to identify whether the video posed any safety or security risks.”

She declined to divulge what disciplinary action would be taken against the student.

The Hatchet also reported that the unidentified student was “deeply sorry” for what she’d said.

In a statement posted to Facebook, student organization GW for Israel urged the university “to take sufficient action to ensure that incidents like this are not repeated and that the individuals responsible are held accountable.”

“GW for Israel will always stand by its principles of peaceful discussion and debate, nonviolence and high regard for safety of students on our campus, regardless of their ethnic, religious and racial background or political belief,” the statement said.

The GW Student Association also condemned the student’s comments in a statement.

“The Student Association and the Diversity & Inclusion Assembly of The Student Association strongly condemn the acts of antisemitism displayed by members of the GW community,” the group wrote. “This is the second act of documented hatred that has surfaced in the span of a month at GW.”

The association appealed to members of the GW community “to recognize that these incidents are not isolated or stagnant. Instead, we ask the community to realize that the institutional culture of GW is allowing ignorance, discrimination, and hatred to breed.”

“If we continue to treat these incidents as simple deviations from GW’s values, we are serving an injustice to all those who are affected,” the group stressed, adding that the GW community “needs to be proactive, not reactive.”

Meanwhile, in Omaha, Nebraska, 75 Jewish gravestones were vandalized at the Temple Israel Cemetery between October 31 and November 5, police announced on Friday, confirming that the incident was reported to the police by the cemetery’s executive director.

Pictures circulating on social media showed how the stones had been knocked over and pushed off their bases and the damage amounts to about $50,000. Police have offered a reward of up to $1,000 to anyone with information.

Kara Eastman, a Democrat candidate for Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District, took to social media on Saturday night to condemn this act.

“I am heartbroken about the recent vandalism at the Temple Israel Cemetery in Omaha,” she said. “It is time for us to stand together and stop these kinds of acts from occurring, and tell people, in the United States, we don’t condone this kind of behavior.”

Omaha Crime Stoppers also appealed to the public for information on the matter on Friday.

“We are needing assistance locating the individuals responsible for vandalizing and destroying roughly 75 headstones at the Temple Israel Cemetery,” the group wrote in a Facebook post. “Unfortunately we do not have any suspect information or photos to show but we do have some photos of the damage that was caused.”

In a separate incident in the Borough Park neighborhood of New York City on Saturday night, several Jewish buildings were reportedly egged by a group of youths.

The first incident took place at a synagogue on Dahill Street while people were still inside praying, according to news site BoroPark24.

The group reportedly also taunted the Jews inside the synagogue during the incident.

In a second incident earlier in the evening, several Jewish children were egged close to a religious Jewish school, which was also reportedly targeted by the group. Footage of the incidents released by Borough Park Shomrim, a volunteer neighborhood watch group, show the group hurling eggs at the buildings. In the second incident, Jewish passersby are visibly caught up in the middle of the egging.

This is not the first time such incidents have occurred in Borough Park. Over the last few weeks, several similar acts of antisemitism have transpired.

On Friday night, several windows of the Beis Rivkah school building in Brooklyn were also broken and vandalized by an unknown assailant wielding a gun.

The New York Police Department is investigating the incidents.

In September, the NYPD reported a 63% rise in antisemitic hate crimes in New York City in comparison with last year.

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