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Man Who Held Anti-Semitic Sign at Ohio Protest Wanted to Target Jews at Kent State, Report Says

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May 27, 2020
BERLIN, GERMANY – MAY 01: A demonstrator wears handcuffs following his arrest after he took part in a protest against government lockdown measures on May Day during the novel coronavirus crisis on May 1, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. May Day protests are taking place across Germany today, though as gatherings are limited by authorities to a maximum of 20 people per gathering due to coronavirus lockdown measures, many small protests are taking place instead of traditional, large-scale marches. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

A man who held an anti-Semitic sign at an April rally in Columbus, Ohio, reportedly sought to target Jews at Kent State University.

The Cleveland Jewish News reported that the Cincinnati Jewish Federation’s Jewish Community Relations Council Director Jackie Congedo said during a May 21 webinar that the man told a convenience store clerk on May 3 that “he was an Aryan Brother, for those of you who may not be familiar with the Aryan Brotherhood, which is a Nazi organization, and he said that he intended to go to Kent State to find Jews.”

The man also wore a shirt with a swastika on it and was armed with a machete and hatchet when he was at the convenience store. He wanted to target Jews at Kent State on May 4, the anniversary of the 1970 Kent State shooting. Three of the four students killed in that shooting were Jews. The man was subsequently arrested for disorderly conduct and posing physical risk of harm.

Kent State University Hillel Executive Director Adam Hirsh said in a statement to Cleveland Jewish News that law enforcement had notified them about the situation and beefed up security on campus.

“There is a lot of unfounded hate in the world,” he said. “Hillel works to build relationships and hold conversations about issues that divide us. There are also some people that refuse to talk and operate with levels of hatred that we will never understand. That is scary.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center tweeted, “Hatchet and axe bearing Jew-hater is clear and present danger to Jewish community, #FBI should investigate — this anti-Semitic ticking time bomb must be stopped.”

 

The Maccabee Task Force similarly tweeted, “This is incredibly distressing, we are appalled that the safety of our students on campus has been threatened.”

 

During the April 18 protest in Columbus against Ohio’s shelter-in-place restrictions, the man held a sign stating, “The real plague” with a rat wearing a kippah and Star of David. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, condemned the sign in a subsequent statement.

“I am deeply concerned by the anti-Semitic sign at Ohio’s Statehouse during a recent protest rally. The sign was vile and disgusting,” he said. “While even disgusting speech is constitutionally protected, it still demands condemnation.”

The sign-toting man also had been pictured with a man who was arrested in March for allegedly plotting to blow up a hospital, according to Congedo.

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