Jan 18, 2023 - News

South Florida outraged over string of antisemitic incidents

Illustration of a fragmented star of David made of scraps of paper.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Police are investigating a string of antisemitic incidents in South Florida over the weekend that have sparked outrage among community members.

Driving the news: Someone used a light projector to display a swastika and antisemitic rhetoric onto a building in downtown West Palm Beach on Saturday.

  • One day later, Boca Raton homeowners reported finding plastic bags filled with antisemitic propaganda and wood pellets thrown onto their front yards.
  • West Palm Beach police said the incidents appear to be connected, and the department has referred the swastika incident to the state attorney’s office to determine if a crime was committed, WPTV reported.

The big picture: Florida has seen a large spike in antisemitic incidents in recent years.

  • The Anti-Defamation League found that the number of reported antisemitic incidents increased 50% between 2020 and 2021 — rising from 127 incidents to 190.

Zoom in: Jacob Solomon, president and CEO of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, told NBC 6 last year that South Florida sees antisemitic incidents roughly every week.

  • "Most of it, thank God, is not violent, but as we know words lead to action," Solomon said

What they're saying: Josephine Gon, a member of the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County, tells Axios that "these few extremists are not welcome here."

  • Gon, who's vice president of the federation's Jewish Community Relations Council, said the federation works closely with local and national law enforcement agencies to offer security resources and protocols for the synagogues and faith groups in Palm Beach.
  • "It takes each person's involvement and dedication to ensuring we have an educated and empowered community that stands together to say 'never again,'" Gon said.

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