Photo Credit: RGS25 / Wikimedia
Point Breeze neighborhood in south Philadelphia, PA -- an area being targeted for gentrification in the city's effort to upgrade its image.

A Philadelphia City Council Member is taking steps to deal with a full display of ugly anti-Semitism that turned a meeting on gentrification of his neighborhood into a free-for-all.

City lawmaker Kenyatta Johnson last week proposed a bill authorizing the Human Relations Commission to publicize and enforce an ordinance to “regulate the conduct” of registered community organizations (RCOs).

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“Organizations with RCO status have an official relationship with the City of Philadelphia, so we must ensure that they operate with a level of decency and order,” Johnson said. “The vast majority of RCO’s work very hard and play a vital function in the development process. This bill will hold all RCO’s to the same standard and ensure that there is a level of accountability.”

The move followed a raucous round of anti-Semitism aimed at Jewish real estate developers two weeks ago at a local meeting about gentrification in the Philadelphia neighborhood of Point Breeze.

“I want to go on record stating that that language is totally inappropriate, and shall not and will not be tolerated, but most importantly, does not reflect the sentiments of the loving and caring people who reside in Point Breeze,” Jphnson said in a statement to media.

“I’ll be the first to say that gentrification is a controversial issue by which people often disagree, and meetings in gentrifying neighborhoods are contentious and emotionally charged. I understand that. But hateful comments about one’s race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity or sexual orientation will not and should never be tolerated.”

Activists with the Concerned Citizens of Point Breeze were clearly angry at the meeting on Feb. 22 about the city’s gentrification project for their neighborhood. They aimed their rage directly at the Jewish real estate developers who were presenting their plans for the project, including one wearing a kippah.

“Go back to Israel!” the developers were told, along with a few other choice insults, according to a report by Philly.com.

“This was not one person with a screw loose. This was a mob mentality,” said local Jewish developer Ori Feibush, who was not presenting at the meeting but was in attendance.

Feibush has dual U.S. and Israeli citizenship, according to the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. He grew up in the city and is a Philadelphia native. “This is not an isolated incident. There’s been a crescendo over the last several years. But this was incredibly antagonistic. No ambiguity: This was 100 percent anti-Semitism.”

According to an eyewitness who asked Philly.com not to use his name, one person yelled, “Go back to Lakewood!” The reference is to a specific, Orthodox Jewish enclave in New Jersey.

The local chapter of the Anti-Defamation League was also informed and had reached out to the various entities involved.

The Concerned Citizens of Point Breeze never returned the call.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Mark Brecker So what is your point, since none of these Jew hating blacks are black Jews!! ?? The original so called black Jews that went to Israel were there for a free ride and did nothing for the nation, but were used as fodder by Jew haters to condemn the alleged bias treatment they got in Israel! Let the bl;acks in the area do something themselves to improve the area!~ Not likely!!

  2. Mark Brecker Apparantly you did not know the more orthodox men are the more racists they are ! (and I say men, because women are not really free to give opinions or to have any.. some even say things like "whats wrong with sitting at the back of the bus ?)

  3. Al Sharpton represent a black nationalist party, they promote themselves, liberals will side with beelzebub if it gave them political power. They do not represent all blacks, moderate or positive examples do not sell advertising spots in the media. Racism effects every race and that hatred blinds them to learning any kind of truth or true enlightenment. God can not develop a higher understanding in you if you do not address your own corrupt nature. Hatred comes easy, exercise and discipline to Godly principles produce moral people.

  4. This is a legitimate issue that should be of concern to all Jews. However, I am disgusted that it degenerated into racism–directed against Black Jews! anti-Semitism and racism are both vile. As Jews we should not turn against other Jews because of racial differences! The referral to Ethiopian Jews in Israel as "so-called Jews", in one post, is very offensive. As is the implication that they do nothing for the State of Israel! Well, one thing they do(among many other things) is serve in the IDF. They risk their lives for the State of Israel! There are Black Jews right here in the USA. They are just as sincere and honorable, as any other Jew. So let us all work together against anti-Semitism. If we turn on one another that is just what the anti-Semites want!

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