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Law enforcement on alert for ‘Day of Hate,’ as Jewish groups call for show of solidarity

It is crucial to stay vigilant, says CEO of Community Security Service Evan Bernstein, but “we cannot let these groups stop us from practicing our Judaism or going to synagogue.”

The National Jewish Security Operations Command Center, or JSOCC, in Chicago. Credit: Courtesy.
The National Jewish Security Operations Command Center, or JSOCC, in Chicago. Credit: Courtesy.

Law-enforcement agencies and Jewish communal security organizations are advising extra vigilance this weekend after several antisemitic groups have designated Saturday a “National Day of Hate.”

The Secure Community Network, which coordinates security for Jewish communities and for the Jewish Federations of North America, issued an alert in January about a “small” neo-Nazi group promoting a “day of mass antisemitic action” on its Telegram channel. Since then, the Goyim Defense League and the National Socialist Movement have added their support.

Michael Masters, national director and CEO of SCN, says intelligence analysts at SCN’s National Jewish Security Operations Command Center are “working around the clock” to keep the community safe.

“It is vital that we implement proactive safety and security measures; continue to foster trusted relationships with our law-enforcement and public-safety partners; and report any issues of concern to law enforcement immediately,” he states.

Historically, hate groups like these promote events like this to “conflate and amplify their minimal reach and impact,” adds the network, and online chatter about the campaign remains limited.

Authorities are not taking chances.

A New York City Police Department advisory states that “the anonymous online organizers of this overtly racist, antisemitic event are instructing like-minded individuals to drop banners, place stickers and flyers, or scrawl graffiti as a form of biased so-called activism.”

Some online users are asking participants to “photograph or record direct actions and submit them online in order to create a compendium of exploits around the country,” adds the department.

Other cities and municipalities with large Jewish populations across the country are pledging additional police coverage this weekend.

StandWithUs is calling for “A Shabbat of Love” on Feb. 24-25, 2023, in response to a “National Day of Hate.” Credit: StandWithUs.

‘We must show the world we are not afraid’
There have been several high-profile antisemitic demonstrations recently. White nationalists protested outside a Broadway premiere of the play “Parade,” about the lynching of Jewish factory manager Leo Frank in Atlanta in 1913. Members of the virulently antisemitic Goyim Defense League stood outside of a Chabad House in Orlando, Fla., yelling antisemitic slurs and “Heil Hitler” via bullhorns at people entering and exiting the building.

Evan Bernstein, national director and CEO of Community Security Service, which trains volunteers to guard Jewish sites, tells JNS that some incidents have been reported, and there are indications there will be more in the coming days.

“A big goal of these ‘announcements’ is to stir up fear and anxiety in the community,” he says. It is crucial to stay vigilant, but, he says, “we cannot let these groups stop us from practicing our Judaism or going to synagogue.”

Many are calling for a day of Jewish celebration to counter such hate speech and action. The Anti-Defamation League is using the hashtag #ShabbatofPeaceNotHate, and StandWithUs encourages inviting friends to join for a “Shabbat of Love.”

CEO of StandWith Us Roz Rothstein noted that “this is an opportunity for Jews around the world to stand tall and proud, and share our culture and traditions with Jews and our non-Jewish friends by inviting them to our Shabbat table and celebrations.”

Club Z, a Jewish teen program, is calling on Jewish individuals and families to attend synagogue services this weekend in a show of pride.

“It is critically important that we do not cower in the face of this virulent Jew-hatred,” says Masha Merkulova, the organization’s founder and executive director. “We must show the world that we are not afraid, we will not be silent, and we will always stand united against hate and violence towards the Jewish people. The people of Israel live. The Nation of Israel endures.”

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