Does Utah have an Antisemitism problem?

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – By now, you’ve likely heard about the email: a Utah tech mogul claiming that the COVID-19 vaccine is a plot by “the Jews” to “exterminate billions of people.”

“I believe the Jews are behind this,” Dave Bateman reportedly wrote in the email, which was addressed to Utah leaders in politics and business. Bateman, who has since resigned, is the founder of software company Entrata.

Rabbi Avremi Zippel read the email after reports of it surfaced on Tuesday.

“The email is blatantly Antisemitic,” said Zippel, program director at Chabad of Utah.

“It’s all part of one larger problem, and that’s what’s vital,” added Zippel.

“On its face, it’s inherently shocking,” he added.

But it’s not the only Antisemitic incident in Utah over the last year. According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), three incidents in 2020 involved Swastika graffiti in Logan, Sandy, and Salt Lake.

The words in Bateman’s email are “dangerous,” according to Seth Brysk, regional director for ADL Central Pacific Region. He says this kind of speech can — and has — prompted violence in the United States.

Rabbi Avremi Zippel knows this. Last May, Chabad of Utah was vandalized with swastikas on the front door.

“I think Utah has an Antisemitism problem as much as the rest of the world does. And I think that viewing Antisemitism here in the state as being a huge problem or a huge lack of a problem — both of those attitudes are incorrect,” said Zippel.

“Antisemitism is a global issue, it affects every community in every corner of the world and I think it affects our community just the same.”

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