A group of juveniles harassed Jewish community members in the Greenfield neighborhood, asking if they are “fake Jews” and swearing at them, according to Shawn Brokos, director of community security for the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.
Two separate incidents were reported to the police, but because the suspects are juveniles, charging them with crimes is “challenging,” Brokos said. Nonetheless, she added, it is crucial to report these types of incidents to law enforcement.
Brokos said it is unclear whether the suspects are affiliated with the Black Hebrew Israelites, “a fringe religious movement that rejects widely accepted definitions of Judaism and asserts that people of color are the true children of Israel,” according to the Anti-Defamation League. The movement made headlines when Kanye West posted Israelite memes on his Twitter account on Oct. 9, and on Oct. 27 when NBA star Kyrie Irving posted a link to a movie, “Hebrews to Negroes,” which advanced the Israelite theology. On Nov. 21, hundreds of Israelites demonstrated outside the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, chanting, “We are the real Jews.”
The community is urged to call 911 if they are victims of antisemitic harassment, Brokos said.
“That is the mechanism for notifying police — it’s not just for emergencies,” she said. PJC