Antisemitic incidents fall into two categories: the ones people want to discuss for political reasons and the ones they don’t want to discuss for political reasons. File this one under another one of those the media would rather not discuss for political reasons. The setting is Dearborn, MI, where going on half the city is Arab.
And, much as in Europe and the Middle East, the rest naturally follows.
A Dearborn man has been charged with two counts of ethnic intimidation in what officials said was an antisemitic attack at a historic synagogue and preschool for Jewish students in Bloomfield Township.
Hassan Yehia Chokr, 35, was arrested by police after antisemitic and racist threats were made Friday against children, adults and security personnel outside Temple Beth El, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said.
“He was hostile and verbally abusive, shouting profanity about ‘F Israel’ and ‘F the Jews’ — and threatening people, yelling at them that if they support Israel, they will pay or he will get them,” Rabbi Mark Miller, Temple Beth El’s senior rabbi, told the Detroit Free Press.
Chokr was driving in a white van screaming expletives and derogatory remarks against Jewish people, according to the group StopAntisemitism, based in New York City. The group that combats antisemitism had posted a tweet and photo of the incident that was retweeted hundreds of times. On Sunday, the group said the suspect had visited another synagogue and noted he was making violent threats on his Instagram page.
A review of what Jewish leaders said was the suspect’s Instagram account shows that he has made violent and explicit remarks about committing sexual assaults and attacks against Jewish people.
One man spewing hate is not so extraordinary, but what really got people’s attention was the police response and what it suggested about the local state of governance.
Some Jewish advocates have raised concerns that Bloomfield Township police officers who responded to the incident Friday did not take him into custody and seemed to act in a friendly demeanor toward Chokr.
Agreeing not to return to the synagogue that day, he then says, “I’m headed to another synagogue.”
At the end of the traffic stop, Chokr is told he is free to go as an officer gives him a fist bump and he is told, “Do us a favor and don’t go back.”
The fist-bump and seemingly genial exchange ignited concerns from local Jews and national antisemitism watchdogs concerned that officers had not responded adequately.
Asked about the behavior of the officers at the scene shown on the video, Lt. Jason Murphy of the Bloomfield Township police told the Free Press: “There are some concerns about that.”
There ought to be. West Bloomfield is the same place that this happened.
A Bloomfield church is canceling an anti-Muslim event scheduled for Wednesday’s 9/11 anniversary after facing condemnation from Michigan representatives and organizations.
Bloomfield Hills Baptist Church announced in a one-sentence email that it will cancel the two-day “9/11 forgotten? Is Michigan surrendering to Islam?” event that was originally scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.
Need we even ask?
Chokr was already in trouble and yet the cops were exchanging fist bumps.
Chokr was already out on a personal bond of a charge of assaulting a Detroit Police Officer in July 2020. He was due for a trial next year.
Michigan isn’t surrendering, it has surrendered.