Last February, there were a number of disturbing attacks and threats involving Jewish community centers and cemeteries. Multiple bomb threats were called into Jewish community centers. And over 100 headstones were toppled in a local Jewish cemetery.
I wrote about it at the time, applauding this tweet from Ivanka Trump:
America is a nation built on the principle of religious tolerance. We must protect our houses of worship & religious centers. #JCC
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) February 20, 2017
I did — and do — consider anti-Semitic sentiments and threat abhorrent. However, some of the incidents which were thought to be born of such sentiments turned out not to be so much so.
The culprit in several of the phoned-in threats turned out to be a 19-year-old US-Israeli citizen, as my colleague streiff covered that here. Several more were attributed to former Intercept reporter Juan Thompson, who was reportedly attempting to get back at an ex-girlfriend.
Now, an arrest has been made regarding the vandalism at the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery:
A 34-year-old Florissant man was drunk and mad at a friend when he toppled more than 100 headstones at a Jewish cemetery in University City more than a year ago, according to St. Louis County prosecutors.
Alzado Harris confessed to toppling the headstones at the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in February 2017, causing more than $30,000 in damage, according to court documents.
“He was drunk and mad at a friend,” Magee said. The friend had recently dropped him off near the cemetery, and he took out his anger there, Magee said.
That the destruction wasn’t prompted by anti-Semitism doesn’t render it any less awful. Nor does it negate the fear and apprehension instilled in the community at the time. But it is a relief to know the person responsible will be brought to justice.