Sunday, December 04, 2022

Bloomfield Antisemitic Incident Nicely Downplayed By Local Media

On Friday December 2, a fellow in a white van drove into the parking lot of Temple Beth El Synagogue, while kids were being let out of religious school, and apparently started shouting such pleasantries according to people who were present, as "Death to the Jews"; "Kanye was right"; and that perennial favorite "Death to Israel".

Temple security responded, and police were contacted. 

Bloomfield Township Police stopped and identified him and then let him go.

News reports have actually underplayed this activity as  "arguing about the support of Israel" which is a rather quaint if not absolutely BS way to describe the event.

However, "arguing about the support of Israel", even on private property not your own, doesn't get you criminally charged, and now he has been, and is now identified and charged with ethnic intimidation:  Hassan Yehia Chokr, 35 of Dearborn, Michigan.

Local 4: Man charged with ethnic intimidation after antisemitic incident at Bloomfield Hills synagogue

Oakland County Prosecutor, Karen McDonald, says the charges stem from the 35-year-old making antisemitic and racist threats to parents, young children, and security personnel at a preschool and synagogue. 

Yep, that's not "arguing about the support of Israel" at all, now is it?

Well, he is now getting the pleasure of spending the rest of the weekend in the Oakland County jail pending arraignment.

Apparently they finally decided to charge him after they found he posted a video of his actions online which apparently doesn't support the just "arguing about Israel" line at all.  Can't find the video yet and it appears he or someone else may have locked down his social media accounts some time after doing so.

Update:  Found his Instagram account with some interesting videos on it:


pigpen51 said...

I must say, I have pretty mixed feelings about this. While I find it abhorrent that anyone attempts to intimidate someone else based on either their religion or their ethnicity, especially the Jewish people, I also am a strong supporter of our first amendment rights, which include not only religious freedoms, but the freedom of speech, which has slowly been put upon over the past couple of decades over such issues as hate speech and such things.
Of course, freedom of speech doesn't protect just pleasant speech but actually must be a protection of speech that enflames or angers others. Not an outright attempt to provoke someone to break the law or to harm another, as that could be considered an actual crime in and of itself. But we have to understand that words can and have been just as dangerous as weapons, and we must still allow for those words to be spoken, in our desire for freedom. Because in order for us to be free, we all must be free. Even if it means allowing free speech to those whose speech we find goes against our own ideas of decency and fairness.

Aaron said...

pigpen51: In general I agree with you but this goes beyond a general situation. If he was on public property or his own property shooting his mouth off that's one thing. You don't go on someone else's private property and make death threats against them - people tend to take exception to that.

However, he chose to drive up to parking lot in a van, dressed up rather terrorist-like and start screaming terroristic threats at people as the school was getting out. In short it looked like a dry run or he was warming up to a van ramming attack or otherwise. In short, he went beyond merely words on this one.

He also charmingly referred to at least one of the Black security persons at the synagogue using the N word.

He also seems to be off his rocker and well on the way to further acts. I've been able to find two of his Instagram posts and he's rather definelty on the about to go off side of the spectrum.

ccm2361 said...

Anti Semite from Dearborn? What a surprise. Who could have seen that coming?

Why no one I tell you..... well except for maybe anyone who has driven through Dearborn in the last 30 years. But really thats it. Tiny minority of folks could have predicted this.

I was born in Dearborn & lived there until 1979. Its no surprise to me.
There is almost nothing left of my home town that I recognize. Only Harry's Army Surplus & English Gardens.

Matthew W said...

"Ethnic Intimidation"

Can you quote that law??

Aaron said...

ccm2361: Yep, not surprising at all.

Matthew W: You can see the statute here: MCL 750.147b Ethnic intimidation.

pigpen51 said...

Aaron, I admit I didn't understand just how awful the acts that this loser did were. The first amendment does not, and should not, defend acts of such intimidation. Free speech doesn't seem to be the issue here at all. The terroristic threats issue is certainly a far blast radius away from freedom of speech. And as you said, freedom of speech extends to public and federal places exclusively. Private places should not cover and do not cover any of these types of things.
One question, what are your legal thoughts regarding things like twitter and other social media censorship? It would seem that they are privately owned, and so they also have the right to censor at will. Unless they get declared a public utility. And then the fed gov should be able to force people to pay for access to them. It is the hot topic of the day, and I just wondered about your thoughts.
I also know about Dearborn, and while at first glance, it seems a bit unsettling, the truth is, I think that for the most part, people that live there want the same things that people who live on this side of Michigan, in Muskegon want. To live free of government intrusion, to raise their kids in accordance with their own religious beliefs, and to be able to work and live without fear of being in danger for their religion or way of life.
I have known a few Muslim's and never felt that they were any different than I. Of course, just like there are Catholics who are much more militant, shall we say, and Jews who are much more concerned with following the Torah, there are Muslim's who are much more concerned with following the teachings of Muhammed than others, and so we have to be careful we don't paint anyone with too broad of a brush.

Matthew W said...

Looking at the law, all of (a), (b), and (c) look like existing laws that you could enforce without making up a silly law of "Ethnic bla,blah,blah"
"Hate" crimes are patently violations of free speech. Before anyone gets silly, free speech does not include inciting or encouraging violent actions.