Jewish couple receives racist letter after hanging Black Lives Matter flag
Sonya and Mikey Franklin, a Jewish couple living in Rockville, Maryland, received an antisemitic note days after they put up a Black Lives Matter flag at their home, Buzzfeed reported on Sunday.
“Hello, it has come to our attention that you support the racist terror group that is blataly [sic] anti white and anti police, of course we are talking about #BLM,” the note read.
“You have kept your racist & anti white / cop hating banner even after Dallas and the totur [sic] of the disablde [sic] white guy, Austin Hillbourn by 4 black #BLM members. This is in the name of Austin and the dead police officers. Your lack of care and racism is very annoying and disgraceful. And for this we would like to award you a gold star. Enjoy the mayhem.”
— Mikey Franklin (@mikeyfranklin) January 7, 2017
The note was unsigned and accompanied by a drawing of a gold star with the World War II-era “Jude” caption, as well as SS, Nazi, and anarchist insignia.
The Franklins said toilet paper and eggs had also been thrown in their yard and at their car.
The Franklins took down the flag after their property management company had notified them that personal items could not be hung in the front of the building.
“The purpose was to scare us, and they succeeded because we’re scared,” Mikey Franklin said. “Not that people will harm us, but that there are people that would do this in our very diverse area.”
— Mikey Franklin (@mikeyfranklin) January 5, 2017
Sgt. Christopher Peck of the Rockville Police Department told Buzzfeed that the note was not antisemitic, and that he did not know what “Jude” meant.
However, the police department has since described the letter as “containing references of and symbols of antisemitic hatred.” Police Lt. Brian Paul said that the incident was being investigated as a possible hate crime.
Based on the handwriting and juvenile spelling in the note, police suspected children were behind the incident.
According to Mikey, “It had to be someone who knew that we were Jewish.”
Sonya, whose family escaped from the Soviet Union, felt similarly. “It’s just upsetting because this is something we lived through. Somehow, putting a yellow star on it, it’s made it more personal.”
There has been a rash of antisemitic and racist incidents over recent months. In November, Southern Poverty Law Center looked at 867 hate incidents that occurred in the 10 days following the United States elections. Of those, over one hundred were cases of antisemitism, representing about 12 percent of the incidents. The acts targeted various minority groups, including Jews, immigrants, African-Americans, Muslims and the LGBT community.
Incidents counted had been submitted through the watchdog’s website or reported in the media.
Of the 100 incidents classified as antisemitic, 80 were “vandalism and graffiti incidents of swastikas, without specific references to Jews,” while others targeted Jews more overtly, such as the harassment of individuals or vandalism of a synagogue, the report said.
JTA contributed to this report.