Metro Detroit Jewish advocacy groups fear that antisemitic sentiment in the city is rising after a teenager threatened to “kill all jews” on social media last week.
The FBI notified the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office that a 14-year-old male had posted pictures of three firearms on social media and warned that he would kill unspecified Jewish people. Sheriff’s Deputies responded promptly, arresting the teenager in his home on Wednesday, October 13.
“We will fully investigate every threat against any person, school or institution and seek to hold those that make threats accountable,” said Oakland Country Sheriff Michael Bouchard, who has served as Sheriff of Oakland County since 1999, in response to the incident, as well as two unrelated threats directed towards local schools.
You make threats against a person, school, or institution we’re coming for you said Sheriff Bouchard.Not a threat-it’s a promise.We’ve arrested 3 teens in separate incidents this week.Last one threatened Jewish people-other 2 threatened schools. Parents,please talk to your kids. pic.twitter.com/fahAiLkSpR— Oakland County Sheriff’s Office (@oaklandsheriff) October 13, 2022
"If you make a threat, we’re coming for you,” Sheriff Bouchard continued. "And that’s not a threat; it’s a promise."
"We will fully investigate every threat against any person, school or institution and seek to hold those that make threats accountable."Sheriff Michael Bouchard
Antisemitism in Michigan rises
In an interview with Detroit’s WDIV Local 4 News network, Executive Director of the Jewish Relations Council Rabbi Asher Lopatin expressed deep concern for the teenager who made the antisemitic threat.
“I hope that we can educate the 14-year-old. I hope that we can take him to the Holocaust Center, which we have here,” Lopatin told Local 4.
Lopatin described this event as a part of a recent rise in antisemitism. His statement is backed by the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) report of a 56% bump-up in Michigan antisemitic incidents from 2020 to 2021. According to the ADL, antisemitic harassment in Michigan has increased exponentially over the past four years, from 21 incidents in 2018 to 42 in 2019, 51 in 2020, and, most recently, 112 in 2021.
“I hope that we can educate the 14-year-old."Rabbi Asher Lopatin
Carolyn Normandin, ADL Michigan’s regional director, encourages people to stand up to the burgeoning antisemitism.
“We cannot let this become normalized behavior,” said Normandin. “Let’s make sure everyone holds public officials and civic leaders accountable. They must speak out against antisemitism.”