Kimberly P. Yow

Kimberly P. Yow

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Oakland menorah ripped apart and thrown into lake, the latest in string of antisemitic incidents

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Oakland, California, was the site of another suspected antisemitic attack after a menorah was discovered vandalized and destroyed early Wednesday morning.

The 11-foot menorah was erected as part of a display outside Lake Merritt’s amphitheater by the Chabad Center of Oakland. The display was later found to have been torn apart with some pieces having been thrown into the lake.

“I feel afraid,” Rabbi Dovid Labkowski of the Chabad Center told The Oaklandside. “It makes me feel angry that this would happen in Oakland, a place with so much diversity. It’s a place we want to live together in peace.”

City officials later retrieved the pieces, and the Oakland Police Department confirmed to local news the incident is currently being investigated as a hate crime.

CALIFORNIA ORGANIZERS DEFEND PRO-PALESTINIAN ‘TEACH-IN’ AGAINST CRITICISM IT’S ‘ANTI-ISRAEL PROPAGANDA’

The menorah display has been a tradition of the Chabad Center for the past 18 years. The latest display was lit on Sunday with more than 140 people attending the celebration, including Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao.

Following the alleged crime, Thao released a statement on her X account.

“I am outraged by this desecration and act of vandalism,” Thao said. “The Lake Merritt Menorah is a long-standing and important symbol for Oakland’s Jewish community, and it breaks my heart that it was vandalized.”

It continued, “I want to be very clear that what happened was not just an attack on Oakland’s Jewish community but our entire city and our shared values. We stand together against hate, against antisemitism and against bigotry in any form.”

Labkowski told The Oaklandside that the center planned to set up the menorah again Wednesday evening and invited others to join them.

“We’re going to rebuild it bigger and better. We don’t cower from hate,” he said.

In a statement, to Fox News Digital, Labkowski said, “There has been an uptick in antisemitism in Oakland. We call on the City of Oakland to do more to combat antisemitism.”

Multiple incidents of antisemitism have been reported in Oakland since the beginning of the Israel-Gaza war on Oct. 7. Earlier this month, three employees at a Farley’s Coffee shop stopped a woman from entering the restroom to document “Zionism = fascism” graffiti on the mirror frame. The employees, who made offensive remarks, were later fired.

OAKLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT TEACHERS PLAN PRO-PALESTINIAN ‘TEACH IN,’ ASK STUDENTS TO DRAW A ZIONIST LEADER

Teachers in Oakland held a pro-Palestinian “teach in” last week, which asked elementary school-age children to draw what they think a Zionist leader looks like and define a massacre. 

Oakland Unified School District’s superintendent, Kyla Johnson-Trammell, issued a warning to teachers planning to hold the unsanctioned event, stating the curriculum did not align with district educational protocol. Despite the warning, about 100 educators took part in teaching the unauthorized material to students ages 4 to 18, the East Bay Times reported

At a meeting in November, the Oakland City Council unanimously passed a resolution that called for a permanent cease-fire in Gaza. The council also rejected proposed amendments that specifically condemned killings and hostage-taking by Hamas.

During the debate on the resolution, some speakers denied any atrocities committed by Hamas.

“There have not been beheadings of babies and rapings,” one woman told the council. “Israel murdered their own people on Oct. 7.”

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