Holding Antisemites Accountable.

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Minnesota City Council Meeting Interrupted by Antisemitic Comments

Antisemitic comments during a city council meeting has councilors prepared to make changes to public comment protocol.

Monday night’s Duluth City Council meeting, during open public comment, was met with three different instances of anonymous callers, spewing anti-Semitic and racist comments.

“They were awful, vial, hate-filled,” said Duluth City Councilor Arik Forsman.

Open public comment at council meetings was introduced during the pandemic, and continued to be used for residents who were not able to make it to meetings.

According to Forsman, there has never been an issue with the public comment system, until Monday.

“This unfortunately shows the downside when somebody doesn’t have to put a face to a name and can say whatever they want hiding behind a camera,” said Forsman.

The individuals who called in during the council meeting signed up to speak using fake names.

Commenters are often given around three minutes to talk, but the callers were quickly cut off by Council President Janet Kennedy, before they reached the minute and a half mark.

“I’ve never seen a situation in my time on the council where somebody who was speaking during the open comment period had to be stopped,” said Forsman.

Now, the council is planning to make changes to their open public comment policies.

“We don’t want to pollute democracy with disgusting, antisemitic, racist talk,” said Steve Hunegs, the Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council for Minnesota and the Dakotas

Hunegs says that the comments made Monday night are just one instance of a growing problem across the nation.

According to FBI Director Christopher Wray, who went in front of the Senate Tuesday, statistics show that the Jewish community only represents about 2.4% of the American public, but account for about 60% of all religious-based hate crimes.

Moving forward, Forsman says the everyone in the council chambers will do what they can to make sure something like this will never happens again.

“Hate is just not welcome at our city council and our city,” said Forsman.

It’s still unclear what open public comments will look like at council meetings going forward.

However, we’re told a decision will be made sometime before their next meeting.

Source: https://www.northernnewsnow.com/2023/11/01/hateful-rants-interrupt-duluth-city-council-meeting/