newsAntisemitism

Michigan man gets 26 months for anti-Jewish, racist vandalism

“White supremacist-fueled violence is a stain on our history and perpetrators of such violence will be held accountable,” stated assistant U.S. attorney general Kristen Clarke.

Swastikas on the front doors and adjacent brick facade of the Bagg Street Shul in Montreal, Canada, March 2023. Source: Twitter/Michal Cotler-Wunsch.
Swastikas on the front doors and adjacent brick facade of the Bagg Street Shul in Montreal, Canada, March 2023. Source: Twitter/Michal Cotler-Wunsch.

Nathan Weeden, 24, was sentenced to 26 months in prison and three subsequent months of supervised release on Tuesday for conspiring to discriminate against Jews and black people and for vandalizing a synagogue.

The Houghton, Mich., man, who is a member of the white supremacist gang The Base, did more than just destroy property, stated Larissa Knapp, executive assistant director of the FBI’s National Security Branch. 

“The FBI will not accept hate-driven threats of violence intended to emotionally and/or physically harm victims and will rigorously investigate anyone conspiring to vandalize houses of worship and intimidate others from safely practicing their religion,” she said.

Weeden defaced Temple Jacob, a Reform congregation in Hancock, Mich., with swastikas and other hateful symbols on Sept. 21, 2019 in what he and fellow white supremacists called “Operation Kristallnacht,” according to the Justice Department. The 24-year-old was convicted in January.

Kristallnacht means “night of broken glass” and refers to the murder of Jews and the destruction of their property by Nazis on Nov. 9 and 10, 1938.

“This sentence sends a strong message that threatening and intimidating people because of their religion, race or ethnic characteristics will not be tolerated in this country,” said Kristen Clarke, assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s civil rights office.

“White supremacist-fueled violence is a stain on our history and perpetrators of such violence will be held accountable. No one should live in fear because of who they are, what they believe or where they worship,” Clarke added. “The Justice Department will continue to investigate and prosecute those who desecrate houses of worship and who conspire to intimidate people seeking to exercise the legal rights guaranteed to all Americans.”

“When hateful words become hateful acts, my office will use every tool we have to protect the public and secure justice like we did in this case,” said Mark Totten, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Michigan.

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