Egyptian Jews halt public Chanukah celebration, two Jews robbed in NY, more Hillcrest High School hate

Antisemitic incidents roundup, Dec. 8-10.

The main entrance of Rice University in Houston, Texas. Credit: Katie Haugland Bowen/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons.
The main entrance of Rice University in Houston, Texas. Credit: Katie Haugland Bowen/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons.

A 40-year-old Jewish man, Joshua Merenfeld, was beaten, robbed and called a “dirty Jew” in Brooklyn, N.Y., on the first night of Chanukah. On Shabbat, another assailant stole a Chassidic Jewish man’s shtreimel and rode off on a moped. (The traditional fur hats can cost thousands of dollars.)

A synagogue in Cairo, Egypt, reportedly won’t be celebrating Chanukah publicly as a community, fearing rising antisemitism since Oct. 7. “No one is preventing us from celebrating. It’s just that the mood in Cairo is pretty bad because of the war,” a member of the community said.

The supreme court in Finland blocked the extradition of a neo-Nazi to Ukraine, where it said the accused terrorist Jan Petrovsky, who is Russian, would face “degrading” conditions in a Ukrainian prison.

Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.), a member of the so-called “Squad,” joined progressive St. Louis groups, including the anti-Israel Jewish Voice for Peace, for a “Chanukah for ceasefire” event. “Chanukah is the most overtly Zionist holiday on the Jewish calendar,” wrote a prominent pro-Israel social-media account, which called the congresswoman “a clown.” (JVP also held a ceasefire candle-lighting event in Detroit.)

A jury found Brian Dennison, a U.S. Marine who posted online in 2021 that “I’m going to kill jews with my AR-15 tomorrow,” guilty of “transmitting a threatening interstate communication.” The FBI found 1,700 ammunition rounds that could be used in that kind of rifle at his home. He faces up to five years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said that two Ontario men face terrorism charges “after allegedly participating in the creation of manifestos and recruiting videos in support of far-right extremism and the neo-Nazi terrorist movement,” CBC reported.

 In Arizona, police arrested Jaifeng Chen, 27, for allegedly vandalizing the Chabad of Kalamazoo in Michigan.

A swastika and “offensive language” were found on a cafeteria wall at Hillcrest High School in Queens, N.Y., where a Jewish teacher had to hide in her locked office to escape an antisemitic riot.

Andrea Campbell, the Massachusetts attorney general, filed a civil lawsuit against the “self-described neo-Nazi organization” Nationalist Social Club, or NSC-131.

Three workers are out of a job at an Oakland cafe after they were caught on camera having an antisemitic interaction with a customer. The cafe, Farley’s East, had apologized.

On campus

“I have always been proud of being a faculty member at Rice University,” wrote Moshe Vardi, distinguished service professor in computational engineering and university professor, who has taught at the Houston school for 30 years, in the Houston Chronicle. “With deep chagrin, I have to admit that I can no longer say that.”

Vari, who detailed a host of antisemitism on the campus, added: “Rice colleagues and students, I hear your message loud and clear. I am a second-generation Holocaust survivor. I recognize antisemitism when I see it. You do not need to be a user of derogatory epithets to be antisemitic; using double standards qualifies.” He summed up: “This is a profoundly bitter lesson for me. I am not quite sure how to cope with it.”

“Hostility towards Jewish students on American college and university campuses has rightly been in the news,” wrote Andrew Srulevitch, director of European affairs at the ADL. “Less known, but no less worrying, this same phenomenon plagues Jewish students at universities around the world.”

United Kingdom

Two girls, ages 13 and 14, were arrested in London on suspicion of having attacked and robbed a 20-year-old Jewish woman. Although the victim later declined medical attention, witnesses said the attackers left her for dead as she lay motionless in the street.

Police in Glasgow, Scotland, arrested two people for “disorder offenses” at an anti-Israel protest near a fundraiser attended by Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer. “Keir, how many more children in Palestine have to die before you call for a ceasefire?” one protester yelled. Another shouted: “Keir Starmer you are facilitating Israel’s genocide in Gaza. Stop the massacre of over 7,000 babies.”

Anti-Israel protesters also blocked a Glasgow BAE Systems shipyard. Some held a banner stating “Stop arming Israel.”

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