Bias Crimes Reported To SLP Police Over ‘Free Palestine’ Posters

St. Louis Park police said that they received two reports of bias crimes related to antisemitic posters that were put up in the Fern Hill neighborhood, around 26th and Quentin. The posters, seen in the image above, were taken down by police.

Dan Plekkenpol, the community security director at the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, said that there has been a “large uptick” in antisemitic behavior and sentiment since the most recent fighting between Israel and Hamas started.

“We’re getting lots of reports of posters and flyers about free Palestine and against Zionism,” he said. “Some of it is antisemitic, and some of it is political rhetoric. There’s a difference between the two and we’ve gone to great lengths to talk about and identify (the difference).

In the case of the posters in St. Louis Park, what crosses the line, Plekkenpol said, was its placement in a well-known Orthodox Jewish neighborhood.

Plekkenpol said that the difference between antisemitism and political rhetoric comes down to three things: proximity, means, and intent. There’s a difference between putting a poster that says Free Palestine at a gas station in Savage, Minn., he explained, from putting one up on a street corner in an Orthodox neighborhood.

“They had the means and the proximity to put it in the eruv, because they know what that’s about,” he said. “Putting it there is really intentional and then it’s antisemitic. They’re trying to cause fear and bias. That’s where the difference lies.”

In a statement released yesterday, the JCRC said it was “alarmed by the spikes in antisemitic violence and rhetoric being directed at Jews and Jewish institutions by anti-Israel activists. The perpetuation of conspiracy theories, antisemitic tropes, and unhinged vitriol directed at Israel from celebrities and politicians to activists on every corner of social media has sadly led to the scapegoating and targeting of Jews from London, Los Angeles, New York City, and Minnesota as well. As we continue to uphold the JCRC’s community security mission during these turbulent times, we echo Rep. [Dean] Phillips demand that ‘it’s time for “progressives” to start condemning antisemitism and violent attacks on Jewish people with the same intention and vigor demonstrated in other areas of activism. The silence has been deafening.’ We join our partners at Zioness in calling for elected leaders to stand with the Jewish community against vitriolic antisemitism.”

The ADL’s Extremism Blog website has been noting many pro-terrorist messages at some of the many anti-Israel protests around the country in the past couple of weeks. 

“Whenever anti-Israel actions target synagogues, Jewish community centers, kosher restaurants, Jewish owned businesses, or individual Jews – in other words, holding Jews collectively responsible Israel’s actions – ADL considers such incidents as antisemitic,” the organization wrote on its site. “These actions intimidate Jews and prevent them from living openly and freely as Jews.”

Both the JCRC and ADL statements said they welcomed the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, which was agreed to last week.