Vacation home of former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel vandalized with word 'Nazis'

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Monday, November 20, 2023
Hateful graffiti found on vacation home of former Mayor Rahm Emanuel
A Michigan vacation home owned by former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was vandalized as a fence was spray-painted with the word 'Nazis,' police said.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A home owned by former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel appears to have been targeted by vandals.

The fence outside Emanuel's Michigan vacation home was spray-painted with the word "Nazis." It was discovered by a neighbor in the beach community in Union Pier, about 75 miles from Chicago.

Emanuel was in Chicago over the weekend. He was not at the vacation home at the time of the incident.

Emanuel, who now serves as the U.S. Ambassador to Japan, issued a statement thanking local law enforcement in southwest Michigan for how they handled the case.

"Our family is very proud of how our friends neighbors and the community have rallied to our support and in a singular voice in condemning hatred and bigotry," the statement read in part.

The writing has since been removed.

The Anti-Defamation League condemned the act as a hate crime Monday. Antisemitism and Islamophobia have been on the rise since the war between Israel and Hamas began six week ago.

"Unfortunately, it's not that surprising," Anti-Defamation League Midwest Regional Director David Goldenberg said. "The brazenness with which people are expressing their antisemitism, and their hate has gone up dramatically."

Goldenberg called the vandalism directed at Emanuel deplorable. Chicago's former mayor is one of the most prominent Jewish political figures in the country.

The hateful word directed at him comes less than a week after a major pro-Israel rally in Washington DC, and at a time when fear is rising in Jewish communities.

"We hear stories of Jewish individuals who are afraid to wear their yarmulke or tuck their Stars of David underneath their shirts," Goldenberg said. "We're hearing stories of Jews who are changing their names on their Uber and Lyft profiles because they don't want to be recognized as somebody potentially Jewish."

Jeff Schoep, a former, and now reformed, Neo-Nazi Leader and founder of Beyond Barriers, who consults with the FBI and others on extremism, offered insight into the message behind the message.

He said pro-Palestinian demonstrations are, intentionally or not, fueling antisemitism.

"A lot of the Neo-Nazi groups, I believe, are emboldened by that, because they're seeing the mass demonstrations in the streets that are denouncing Israel," Schoep said.

The defacement of Emanuel's fence, calling him a "Nazi," is the ultimate insult to a Jewish person, Schoep said.

"It's something that's intended to get under their skin," Schoep said. "It's intended to be insulting. It's extremely hateful and vile, and that's the intention behind it."

With there also being concerns about a rise in Islamophobia Monday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations condemned what happened at Ambassador Emanuel's home, saying Americans should join together in solidarity whenever a community is targeted by hate.