Pro-Palestinian protesters deface Jewish club with antisemitic threats; Arbit underscores importance of combating anti-Jewish hate crimes, intimidation, and institutional desecration

WEST BLOOMFIELD, Mich. — On the evening of Thursday, Feb. 15, the Friends of the IDF hosted an event in West Bloomfield. After receiving threats, the event was moved from Knollwood Country Club to another location in West Bloomfield. On Thursday evening, a group of pro-Palestinian protesters mobbed areas around Knollwood Country Club, temporarily blocking the intersection at Maple Road. Officers from the West Bloomfield Police Department were engaged to disperse the crowd. The following morning, messages reading “Fuck the IDF… I hope you die instead” were found to have been spray-painted on the club’s property. The incident is currently under investigation by the West Bloomfield Police Department. In response, state Rep. Noah Arbit (D-West Bloomfield) issued the following statement:

“I am outraged and disgusted by this violation of a Jewish institution in the heart of our community. In West Bloomfield, we pride our rich diversity, and we will never be intimidated or cowed by those who come into our community to commit acts of hate. We owe a debt of gratitude to our West Bloomfield Police Department and Chief Mike Patton for their vigilance in ensuring the safety of not only West Bloomfield’s Jewish residents, but all our residents.

“This despicable incident underscores a growing and horrifying trend of Jewish institutions targeted with grotesque, hateful, and threatening slogans by antisemites purporting to advocate for Palestinians. While it is not antisemitic to express concerns or criticisms about the actions of the Israeli military or government in the ongoing war against the terrorist group Hamas, there can be zero justification and zero tolerance for vandalizing Jewish institutions, threatening and assaulting Jews, or intimidating Jewish students on school campuses.

“The mask is falling from all those who seek to conceal their hatred of Jews beneath a veneer of concern for Palestinian welfare. It is unbelievable that I even have to state this, but threatening or assaulting Jews will not “free Palestine”; desecrating Jewish institutions will not “free Palestine”; and calling for the destruction of Israel and the death of Jews will not “free Palestine.”

“I was elected on a promise to lead the fight against rising hate crimes, extremism, and antisemitism in the Legislature — and this incident highlights just how vital that fight is. My first bill passed into law, the Institutional Desecration Act (PA 277 of 2023), establishes penalties for vandalizing, destroying, or desecrating houses of worship or communal institutions, like Knollwood Country Club. Attacks like these on our institutions send shockwaves throughout the Jewish community and are exactly why my legislation passed with bipartisan support. I hope perpetrators of hateful acts of vandalism like this one can be identified and brought to justice under the full extent of Michigan law, which now includes the Institutional Desecration Act. Above all, I will continue to stand up for my community against rising antisemitism.”