Anti-Defamation League Regional Director calls Pritzker comparisons to Hitler antisemitic, vile

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CHICAGO, Ill. (WMBD) — The Anti-Defamation League is speaking out after protesters went to Springfield Saturday saying they want Illinois to re-open.

Some signs at the protest had Governor J.B. Pritzker with a swastika behind him and a Hitler-esque mustache.

Other signs read “Death to Tyrants,” “A virus didn’t ruin my life, liberalism did.”

“Deport Pritzker and wife to Wuhan, China not Florida,” another sign read.

The comparison of Illinois’s democratically elected governor to Hitler is antisemitic – period. Such vile comparisons trivialize and dishonor the memories of the millions killed by Nazi Germany. With antisemitic incidents at an all-time high and up 340% in Illinois since 2016, these protests are becoming rallying points for hate and extremism. We are deeply concerned by the silence of speakers at these protests – including elected officials – who failed to condemn the antisemitism, racism and Nazi comparisons of attendees while stoking the flames of hatred.  Leaders across the state and political spectrum must forcefully and unambiguously condemn this language.”

David Goldenberg | Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Midwest Regional Director 

“According to new data released this week by ADL, the American Jewish community experienced the highest level of antisemitic incidents last year since tracking began in 1979. As detailed in ADL’s 2019 Audit of Antisemitic Incidents, more than 2,100 antisemitic acts of assault, vandalism and harassment were reported nationwide – a 12 percent increase from 2018. Across the Midwest, ADL reported a total of 137 antisemitic incidents, representing a 12% increase from the 122 incidents reported in 2018. In Illinois, ADL tracked a 340% increase in antisemitic incidents since 2016,” the statement continued.

Goldenburg says recent protests, similar to the one on Saturday have caught the attention of ADL’s Center on Extremism. 

“Over the last few weeks, a wave of protests against coronavirus restrictions has swept across the country, with attendees calling for stay-at-home orders to be lifted and state economies to be reopened. ADL’s Center on Extremism has tracked dozens of these rallies and identified members of the Proud Boys and Three Percenters, signs referencing anti-vaccine beliefs and QAnon conspiracies, attendees flashing the “okay” hand gesture (which can have white supremacist connotations), and others decrying the “tyrannical” actions of state governments,” Goldenburg said.

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