“The Israelites were sent many, many messengers and prophets. They killed some of them. They even tried to kill Jesus.” These were the words of an Imam who gave a sermon to a room full of children at the Colorado Muslims Community Center in Aurora on Oct. 22. He then told a story of Jewish fishermen who cast nets prior to the sabbath, then retrieved the nets the day after. “What did Allah do to them as a punishment? Yes? Yes. He made them into monkeys. Literal physical monkeys. Monkeys. Does this sound like a people you want to do business with?”
Video of the sermon was livestreamed from the CMCC and was recorded by the Middle East Research Media Institute. The sermon is viewable on their site. And it’s a heartbreakingly ugly lesson in hate being taught to a new generation of children — more than 6,000 miles away from the war raging between Israel and Hamas, yet just a few miles away from my own home.
This is just one of the myriad examples of the conflagration of antisemitism in the United States that was sparked by the Hamas terrorist attack on Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,500 people, including women, children, and the elderly, and taking more than 200 hostage. Antisemitism has erupted in absolute wildfire across the globe, and the United States is no exception. The Anti-Defamation League reported a nearly 400% increase in antisemitic incidents in the first few weeks after the Hamas attack as compared to the same time period in 2022.
On Nov. 7, a 69-year-old Jewish man named Paul Kessler was killed while attending a protest countering a pro-Palestinian rally in Thousand Oaks, CA — a suburb of Los Angeles located northwest of the city. While the investigation is ongoing, early accounts suggest a pro-Palestinian attendee may have struck him in the face with a megaphone, causing Kessler to fall backwards, hitting his head on the ground. The impact appears to have caused skull fractures and brain swelling, leading to his death a short time later.
According to the AP story on what medical examiners have ruled a homicide: “Deputies found Kessler bleeding from the head and mouth and he was conscious as he was transported to the hospital, (Ventura County Sheriff Jim Fryhoff) said. A pro-Palestinian demonstrator stayed to tell deputies he had been involved in the confrontation with Kessler and had called 911 after he fell, Fryhoff said.”
On Oct. 25, a man named Daniel Garcia was arrested by the LAPD after he attempted to break into a Jewish family’s home in the Studio City neighborhood of LA. According to a statement released by the LAPD, Garcia attempted to kick in the door to the home of the family, clad only in his underwear, while yelling, “Free Palestine,” and “Kill Jews, kill Jews.” He’s being held on $225,000 bond at Van Nuys Jail under suspicion of stalking and criminal threats with a hate crime enhancement.
On Nov. 3, a federal grand jury indicted a 20-year-old Palestinian citizen for possession of a firearm by a prohibited person in Houston. According to the statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Southern District of Texas, “Sohaib Abuayyash was an alien illegally and unlawfully in the United States. He knowingly possessed a firearm, namely a Canik, model TP9 Elite SC, 9 mm pistol.” The statement continued: “Abuayyash entered the United States on a nonimmigrant visa, which expired in 2019, and has allegedly been in direct contact with others who share a radical mindset. The charges further allege he has been conducting physical training and has trained with weapons to possibly commit an attack.”
At the end of October, 99-year-old Holocaust Survivor Renée Firestone saw her apartment building in Beverly Hills, CA vandalized with antisemitic messages spray painted onto the building, where she and her daughter Klara both reside. Firestone emigrated to the U.S. at the end of the Holocaust. Firestone had been interred at the infamous Nazi death camp Auschwitz until her liberation in 1948.
“I was delighted that we are going to America because it can never happen again [there],” Renée Firestone told ABC News. “Now, I see that it can happen.” Beverly Hills Police are investigating the incident as a hate crime.
On Nov. 6, the University of Pennsylvania sent an email to staff notifying them that UPenn Police and the FBI are investigating a series of threatening antisemitic emails sent to the university’s staff.
According to the article published by ABC 6 Action News in Philadelphia, “In an email to the university community, Magill said she learned that some Penn staff members received ‘vile, disturbing antisemitic emails threatening violence against members of our Jewish community, specifically naming Penn Hillel and Lauder College House.’ Magill said the messages targeted the personal identities of the recipients.”
On Nov. 7 the NBC affiliate KSNV News in Las Vegas published a story detailing a 1900% increase in antisemitic incidents in the city since the Hamas attack, particularly on school campuses around the city. This includes an incident the week prior where “Death 2 Jews,” was spray painted on a wall in the West Valley neighborhood.
On Nov. 1, one of the founders of the so-called “Goyim Defense League,” Joe Minadeo II, was found guilty in a jury trial in Palm Beach County for littering. The items he was charged with littering were antisemitic fliers that were distributed onto mostly residential properties from the back of a U-Haul truck. He was sentenced to 30 days in in jail.
The Goyim Defense League has been very active in Colorado, and I’ve covered their cowardly propaganda campaigns numerous times in this column. One such column detailed how two members, Vincent and Briana Bertinelli, earn income by working with All Friends Inc. by providing a “host home” for a disabled individual. Vincent Bertinelli has been recorded on video claiming to embrace the Nazi doctrine, which includes the “T-4 Program” which was enacted during the Holocaust, murdering more than 200,000 people with disabilities who were deemed “unworthy of life” by the Third Reich. Additionally, Aurora City Council member Alison Coombs — who was just re-elected to her seat on Nov. 8 — is an employee at All Friends and was aware of this activity long before I published the column back in March of 2022.
The funds distributed by All Friends Inc. to host homes like the one the Bertinellis operate are overseen by the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, which manages the Medicaid funds that are provided by the federal government as well as those collected by the state.
The above list of antisemitic acts are but a fraction of what’s happening on our own shores. Regardless of your opinion of the Israel-Hamas war, what’s happening here — on the other side of the world to people who by and large aren’t even citizens of Israel — is nothing short of a crisis.
I’ll say it again: If you’re wondering what you might have done at the beginning of the Holocaust — you’re doing it right now.