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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
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Judge: ‘Let’s Burn the Jew’ not Racism, Even if you Burn a Jew

Grabbing a Jewish girl, flicking a lighter next to her hair and saying "let's burn the Jew" is apparently not a racially motivated act in Winnipeg.
Canadian judge ruled flicking a lighter in Jewish girl's hair while saying "let's burn the Jew" not racially motivated

Canadian judge ruled flicking a lighter in Jewish girl's hair while saying "let's burn the Jew" not racially motivated
Photo Credit: Lori Lowenthal Marcus

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A high school student grabbed a Jewish female classmate, held a lighter to her hair and said out loud, “let’s burn the Jew,”  but a Canadian judge concluded that the incident was “not racially motivated.”

The incident between two 15 year old Winnipeg, Canada high school students took place in 2011.

The lawyer for the defendant claimed, essentially, it was the girl’s fault her hair caught on fire.

He said his client grabbed the girl, lit the lighter and made the comments, but her hair caught fire when she pulled away. He also said that referring to the girl as “the Jew” was simply the way people interacted at the school, and the defendant was not the only one who called her that. He referred to his client as “a jerk and a bully,” but said the incident was “impulsive and unplanned.”

The defendant’s therapist claimed the incident was an “impulsive teenage action.”

Winnipeg’s Provincial Court Judge Robert Finlayson, before whom the trial was held, agreed with the defense. While he called the act “totally vulgar and inappropriate,” Finlayson said he was satisfied it was not racially motivated.

Given the judge was unwilling to classify saying “let’s burn the Jew” and then actually grabbing a Jew and burning her hair as anti-Semitic, perhaps he should be praised for also stating that the school culture in which this kind of incident was commonplace was was “unhealthy and dark and there’s no place for it in society.”

The victim claimed the incident “changed her world upside down.” She needed therapy to deal with her fears.  She also believes that the people in the school blamed her for making a big deal of the incident.

The now-17 year old defendant was not given any prison time. Instead, the court ordered him to serve 18 months of supervised probation. He also has to seek out counseling, write a letter of apology to the victim and perform 75 hours of community service work, according to the Winnipeg Free Press. In an earlier stage of the prosecution, the defendant pleaded guilty to assault with a weapon.

This story was corrected to reflect that the incident itself occurred in 2011, not 2010, as originally reported. The sentencing and judgment about racial motivation was entered on January 2, 2014.
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About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


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119 Responses to “Judge: ‘Let’s Burn the Jew’ not Racism, Even if you Burn a Jew”

  1. Joshua Lim says:

    Lori Lowenthal, you make me sick

  2. Marc Boxbaum says:

    Demons will be demons!

  3. What a piece of crap

  4. Kat Walden says:

    i guess the Canadians have judge problems as well.. what a shame.

  5. It's time we acted out like the other groups. Jewish calm and our DNA which says it will all pass no longer serves us well.

  6. cursing themselves with their own mouths…their choice

  7. The boy should be punished as well as the judge.
    Joshua Lim, it’s clear that you didn’t read the article.

  8. Pretty steep punishment for a teenager who was said to be ‘innocent’. If the judge really thought the little devil was innocent, why not just let his bullying mysogenistic ignorant little squat to pee coward go free? The judge is a coward, that’s why!

  9. Disgusting, pc at it’s worst.

  10. What if I grab a non-Jew by the hair and set his hair on fire while saying, “Let’s burn the Gentile.”

    Would that be a racist/hate crime?

  11. The judge must be a Nazi-loving swine.

  12. Joyce David says:

    Mark Brotherton. Judge didn’t think he was innocent – just didn’t think it was racially motivated. Defendant admitted his actions and even plead guilty to the assault. It’s in the article.

  13. Joyce David says:

    Nicholas Lawrence ThePaladin. It could be – depending on what state or country you’re in.

  14. Pedro Acosta says:

    Little prick is an anti-Semite.

  15. Cori LBere says:

    Why did he do this in the first place…? What the hell was going on in that class…? And where was the teacher?

  16. Not yet. I’d love to do that to the judge though.

  17. I’m not a lawyer. But I’ve heard ‘precedent’ as being important in looking at crime. What about premeditation? There is a precedent, a very historical one of Jews being burnt. Accidentally setting someone on fire is much different than going through the steps preparing to burn someone. Because of the precedent the threat was clear. The idea of this kid’s lawyer saying it was the girl’s fault her hair was ignited is outrageous–she wasn’t expected to struggle, resist and get away? People who complain about the category ‘hate crime’ see crime without extenuating circumstances, but that is not the real situation. For hate crime there is a prior history of attacks just as if there were attempted crimes, and then a completed crime. You can find all kinds of precedent for Jews being systematically burned. But can you see them as single, unrelated crimes? Isn’t the boy’s statement clear enough? Why did he express burning in association with a Jewess? At the least he was choosing a very specific way with a specific historical precedent to terrorize her.

  18. Many countries have changed drastically in the last 15 years with immigration at an all time high. High crime rates are beginning to be he normal. Would be interested to know the racial composition of he boy that did this.

  19. This must be stopped and right now!

  20. i am sure if it was an African American and they said burn the N it would be “racially motivated”

  21. Shimon Riak says:

    Very awful and repugnant. For thousands of years men rejoice in putting others down and this explain why the world continue to descend into hedonism. Very shameful.

  22. He should had got time for the hate crime.

  23. Sue Johnson says:

    Anti-Semitism is alive and well in Canada, too.

  24. Moreyn Kamenir says:

    I am irate. Ready to write this judge a letter, call his office-get friends to storm his doors. . . THEN I read the date. It took FOUR YEARS before this article was written? WTF, man…

  25. David says:

    um. you silly fish all gobbling up this bait in a big race-fueled frenzy,

    the heinous person you should be addressing is the person who chose to race-bait your utterly predictable arrogance and group orgy over a thing that happened FOUR YEARS AGO.
    You may want to revisit the definition of “news”.

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