Hate speech is increasing in Pennsylvania and reaching our elected officials
As our Commonwealth continues to struggle with COVID-19 and wrestle with a hostile political season, acts of hate speech are increasing. Recently they have arrived at the door – literally the door — of a Jewish elected official.
This past Monday, Pennsylvania Representative Aaron Kaufer (R-Luzerne), the only Jewish member of the House Republican Caucus, received the following note on the door to his district office, invoking references to Nazis and fascism in a vitriolic rant.
The Jewish Community Alliance of NEPA joined with the Anti-Defamation League (Philadelphia Office) and the Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition to issue the statement below:
Jewish Community Leaders Concerned About Threatening Flyer Sent to State Representative Aaron Kaufer
Philadelphia, PA, October 12, 2020…Today, the ADL, the Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition and the Jewish Community Alliance of Northeastern PA issued the following statement upon learning of an offensive flyer left at the office of State Rep. Aaron Kaufer:
We are deeply concerned that a threatening handwritten flyer, which reportedly included swastikas and messages calling the Republican Party “Nazis” and “like Hitler,” was anonymously left at the office of Pennsylvania State Rep. Aaron Kaufer. We are grateful for law enforcement’s swift response. No Jewish elected official should have to tolerate being targeted by antisemitic hatred, especially accusing him or a political party of being like “Nazis.” This is deeply offensive and a perversion of history.
ADL’s latest data shows that antisemitic incidents in Pennsylvania rose to their second-highest level in the past 40 years and hit record-breaking highs nationwide last year. Recent studies have also shown widespread ignorance about the history of the Holocaust. In this environment of rising antisemitism, we must remain ever vigilant in rejecting hate wherever and whenever it arises.