JACKSONVILLE, Florida. – Anti-Semitic messages were broadcast in Jacksonville over the weekend – and even projected from the back of a videoboard at TIAA Bank Field amid game day celebrations between Georgia and Florida.
Councilman Matt Carlucci says it puts Jacksonville in the national spotlight for the wrong reason.
“It was a blatant act by a fringe element somewhere and it doesn’t reflect who Jacksonville is,” Carlucci said. “It doesn’t reflect our heart, our soul and who we are as a people.”
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On Monday, the FBI, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and the State’s Attorney’s Office all said the posted messages did not appear to violate the law.
Jacksonville resident Carissa Marquez said she saw several men holding signs on a busy overpass.
“Disgusted,” she said of the signs. “Afraid for, like, people who are part of the Jewish community.”
The posts sparked outrage in the community and beyond.
Governor Ron DeSantis’ team released a statement saying, “Governor DeSantis rejects attempts to scapegoat the Jewish community – it has no place in Florida.”
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We do not know who is behind the acts.
“Don’t come to Jacksonville and put a mark on us,” Carlucci said. “Don’t insult the integrity of the people of Jacksonville.”
“Shocked and saddened”
Rabbi Jonah Zinn is the executive director of the University of Florida Hillel, a religious organization that serves many Jewish students on the university’s campus. He talked about the digital message that was projected from the side of TIAA Bank Field.
“When you think about football and friendly competition, it’s a fun and enjoyable part of the college experience,” he said. “So to see what is normally a community building experience kind of shattered by that – it was disheartening.”
Zinn said community members can take action.
“We need the support of allies, people from all walks of life, people of good faith to work together to help create an environment where all people, including the Jewish community, feel welcome and included,” he said. he declared.
Non-profit organization OneJax plans to hold a candlelight vigil Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at James Weldon Johnson Park. The public is invited to attend.
JSO said it encourages everyone in the community to continue to report any future incidents at 904-630-0500 or JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org.
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