Connect with us
Seder Passover
Israel Bonds RRSP
JNF Canada


A Florida sheriff is on the warpath against neo-Nazi ‘scumbags’ who want him dead

(JTA) – After hate groups in his county on Florida’s East coast projected antisemitic messages onto the Daytona International Speedway, the local sheriff delivered a press conference with one simple message: He’d had enough.

“We put up their photos, talked about their arrest records, and let everybody know what a bunch of reprehensible thugs were in our community, and what they were up to,” Sheriff Mike Chitwood told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency about the February press conference. Standing with local Jewish, interfaith and minority group representatives, the sheriff had announced he would be coming after the “scumbags” who did this. 

“And after that,” he recalled, “all hell broke loose.”

The group that had made its presence known in Volusia County was the Goyim Defense League, one of the country’s most prominent antisemitic organizations, known for harassing worshippers at synagogues and papering neighborhoods with fliers hawking anti-Jewish conspiracies. 

The movement’s leaders recently relocated to the area from California, and they had chosen the Daytona 500, a major NASCAR race that draws more than 100,000 people to the speedway, to make their antisemitic presence known. They didn’t like that the sheriff was now effectively declaring war on them. 

Online after the press conference, several men started making death threats against Chitwood, even harassing his daughter and sending SWAT teams to his parents’ house. Antisemitic groups began planning to hold a public demonstration to oppose him specifically, which Chitwood’s intelligence determined was set for this past weekend in Ormond Beach.

So Chitwood fought back. Last week, thanks in part to his corralling, three men in three different states — California, Connecticut and New Jersey — were arrested and charged with making online death threats against him. Two of the three have already been extradited to Volusia County. 

Volusia County Sheriff Michael Chitwood (right) thanks residents who turned up to counter-protest a canceled demonstration by a neo-Nazi group in Ormond Beach, Florida, April 22, 2023. (Nadia Zomorodian, courtesy of Volusia County Sheriff)

On Saturday the sheriff went to the airport to personally “welcome” one of the men. He hopes to send a message to hate groups more generally that he intends to “keep up the heat” so that they know they will face resistance from law enforcement if they attempt any public demonstrations: “I think that makes it a little bit harder to peddle your wares.”

Amid a national climate of rising antisemitism, one vexing question has been how to tackle antisemitic activity that is trollish but not violent. While European authorities have prosecuted Holocaust denial and other antisemitic sentiments expressed in social media posts, U.S. law is less expansive about what kind of online posts represent criminal activity. Meanwhile, the Goyim Defense League’s most frequent activities — flier drops, banner displays and public demonstrations — make up the fastest-growing type of antisemitic incidents in the United States, according to the Anti-Defamation League, but they do not always violate the law. A citation for littering in Wisconsin last year was the first known charge in the United States related to the Goyim Defense League’s distribution of antisemitic materials.

The issue is especially acute in Florida, where the populations of Jews and avowed antisemites are both growing. Chitwood suspects the state’s rising Jewish population is one of the reasons why white supremacists have also flocked to the area, along with Florida’s relaxed gun laws. 

In this environment, Chitwood’s outspokenness and forceful commitment to eradicating antisemitism — in a county with a relatively small number of Jews — has set a new tone. Raised in a law-enforcement family in Philadelphia — his father was a prominent police officer whose biography chronicles his own battle against “scumbags” — Chitwood speaks in a tough clip peppered with colorful insults directed at his white supremacist opponents (“these clowns,” “little sissies,” “ugly faces”). His passion on the issue is evident when he talks about his desire to be “standing in for John Q. Citizen,” or “some poor son-of-a-gun that’s going to synagogue.” He’s still green enough on the issue that he frequently confuses the Anti-Defamation League with the “JDL,” or Jewish Defense League — a radical violent splinter group of Jewish extremists.

Chitwood has garnered national attention for his actions, as well as the respect of the Jewish community. 

“This sheriff is not like all the others, in a sense,” said Oren Segal, vice president of the ADL’s Center on Extremism. “He’s taking different methods and putting himself out there and showing what one type of response can be.”

Rob Lennick, director of the Jewish Federation of Volusia and Flagler Counties, is one of Chitwood’s local allies. The federation is known locally for running several charitable programs, including food pantries, meant to reach people in need across the entire community, and Chitwood has a good relationship with them.

Lennick praised Chitwood for taking “a very strong forward position against these neo-Nazis, against these white supremacist groups coming to our community.” (Lennick arrived in Volusia County last year after leaving the Jewish Federation of New Mexico, which collapsed after employees accused him of misconduct.)

Counter-protesters at a planned neo-Nazi demonstration in Ormond Beach, Florida, thank Volusia County Sheriff Michael Chitwood “for standing against antisemitism,” April 22, 2023. Chitwood has had white supremacists who have threatened him online arrested and extradited to his county. (Nadia Zomorodian, courtesy of Volusia County Sheriff)

In the end, the planned neo-Nazi demonstration against Chitwood on Saturday never took place — though a large group of what the sheriff described as “professional counter-protesters” did show up, flying joint American and Israeli flags and thanking him for standing up to antisemitism. Walking among that interfaith crowd, many of whom had traveled from outside the county to be there, was profound for Chitwood. The experience “was very, very humbling,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve wrapped my brain around it yet.”

Segal declined to comment on the degree to which Chitwood’s office has liaised with the ADL. But he praised Chitwood’s outspokenness, and said he considered it a form of “allyship.”

“It’s easy to speak out against something that breaks the law. It’s not always easy to speak out against something that breaks the value of our communities because it’s hateful, because it scares people, because it makes people feel unsafe,” Segal said. He mused that the fact that so many neo-Nazis now have Chitwood in their crosshairs “creates an inadvertent bond between law enforcement and the Jewish community, that they’re both being harassed by antisemites.”

Lennick had advised local Jews not to attend the site of the protests, not even to participate in the counter-protests. “You’re walking a fine line,” he said. “You don’t want to fuel the bad guys.”

Chitwood, though, has made a point out of naming and shaming the antisemites in his midst, believing that the increased media attention will expose further misdeeds and make it harder for them to hold down employment.

“There is now a national spotlight on these GDL punks,” Chitwood said. “Sooner or later, they’re going to stub their toe. And you have all these entities looking at you.”

The sheriff wants to go further in his crusade. He has pushed for a bill in the Florida legislature that would allow him and other law enforcement in the state to charge people with felonies for distributing fliers and broadcasting messages of “ethnic intimidation” on private property. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis shows off after signing a bill making “ethnic intimidation” displays a felony in his state, during a ceremony at the Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem, April 27, 2023. Randy Fine, a Jewish Republican lawmaker from Florida who authored the bill, stands at left. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

On Thursday, Florida’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, signed the bill into law during a ceremony in Jerusalem after Randy Fine, the Jewish Republican state representative who authored it, delivered it to him there. (DeSantis last year called Nazis rallying in his state “jackasses” but drew criticism for not condemning them more forcefully.) The law was written specifically to address the kinds of activities the Goyim Defense League regularly engages in, including the Daytona message that spurred Chitwood to address the problem head-on, and enjoyed unanimous support from legislators of both parties.

“I guess we need to thank our scumbag Neo-Nazi invaders for uniting our community and the entire state of Florida against hate,” Chitwood tweeted after the signing.

“I see it as another tool in the toolbox,” Chitwood told JTA about his support of the bill. “You go onto private property and drop these leaflets on somebody’s doorstep or in their driveway, that’s now a felony trespass.”

Chitwood acknowledges that law enforcement can often be slow to respond to crimes of ethnic intimidation, and particularly online harassment, which hinders their ability to organize against a common threat. “We are very reactive,” he said. “No matter what it is, even a car break trend, sometimes you have to break into 20 or 30 cars before we detect a trend to go and do what needs to be done.” 

He’s frank about the police’s shortcomings when it comes to dealing with such behavior. The fact that he is a sheriff, he said, meant that it was easier to bring the perpetrators of out-of-state online death threats to justice. And, he said, broad coordination across different law enforcement entities for the specific addressing of antisemitism in the state does not yet exist: Apart from communication with some neighboring county sheriffs and the FBI, efforts to collaborate with the broader law enforcement community have been slow.

But, he said, he remains committed to trying to fight antisemitism in his own backyard at the very least. “It is personal,” Chitwood said. “This is my community.”

The post A Florida sheriff is on the warpath against neo-Nazi ‘scumbags’ who want him dead appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply


Canada’s economic growth projected to be about 1% in the first half of 2024

Canada is a country with a thriving Jewish community and has traditionally offered the security of a strong economy for residents. The national economic outlook is naturally something that everyone in Canada’s Jewish community keeps track of – especially those involved in business in the various provinces.

With this in mind, the July 2023 Monetary Policy Report from the Bank of Canada made for interesting reading, projecting a moderate economic growth figure of around 1% for the first half of 2024. This is in line with growth figures that had been forecast for the second half of 2023, and sees the country’s economy remain on a stable footing.

Steady projected growth for first half of 2024

Although projected economic growth of around 1% in early 2024 is not as impressive as figures of around 3.4% in 2022 and 1.8% in 2023, it is certainly no cause for alarm. But what might be behind it?

Higher interest rates are one major factor to consider and have had a negative impact on household spending nationally. This has effectively seen people with less spending power and businesses in Canada generating less revenue as a result.

Interest rate rises have also hit business investments nationally, and less money is being channelled into this area to fuel Canada’s economic growth. When you also factor in how the weak foreign demand for Canadian goods and services has hit export growth lately, the projected GDP growth figure for early 2024 is understandable.

Growth in second half of 2024 expected

Although the above may make for interesting reading for early 2024, the Bank of Canada’s report does show that economic growth is expected to pick up in the second half of the year. This is projected to be due to the decreasing effect of high interest rates on the Canadian economy and a stronger foreign demand for the country’s exports.

Moving forward from this period, it is predicted that inflation will remain at around 3% as we head into 2025, and hit the Bank of Canada’s inflation target of 2% come the middle of 2025. All of this should help the country’s financial status remain stable and prove encouraging for business leaders in the Jewish community.

Canada’s economic growth mirrors iGaming’s rise

When you take a look at the previous growth figures Canada has seen and also consider the growth predicted for 2024 (especially in the second half of the year), it is clear that the country has a vibrant, thriving economy.

This economic growth is something that can be compared with iGaming’s recent rise as an industry around the country. In the same way as Canada has steadily built a strong economy over time, iGaming has transformed itself into a powerful, flourishing sector.

This becomes even clearer when you consider that Canadian iGaming has been a major contributor to the sustained growth seen in the country’s arts, entertainment and recreation industry, which rose by around 1.9% in Q2 of 2023. The healthy state of online casino play in Canada is also evidenced by how many customers the most popular casino platforms attract and how the user experience these operators offer has enabled iGaming in the country to take off.

This, of course, is also something that translates to the world stage, where global iGaming revenues in 2023 hit an estimated $95 billion. iGaming’s global market volume is also pegged to rise to around $130 billion by 2027. These kinds of figures represent a sharp jump for iGaming worldwide and show how the sector is on the ascent.

Future economic outlook for Canada in line with global expectations

When considering the Canadian economic outlook for 2024, it is often useful to look at how this compares with global financial predictions. In addition to the rude health of iGaming in Canada being reflected in global online casino gaming, the positive economic outlook for the country is also broadly in line with expectations for many global economies.

Global growth is also predicted to rise steadily in the second half of 2024 before becoming stronger in 2025. This should be driven by the weakening effects of high interest rates on worldwide economic prosperity. With rate cuts in Canada already expected after Feb 2024’s inflation report, this could happen in the near future.

The performance of the US economy is always of interest in Canada, as this is the country’s biggest trading partner. Positive US Q2 performances in 2023, powered by a strong labor market, good consumer spending levels and robust business investments, were therefore a cause for optimism. As a US economy that continues to grow is something that Canadian businesses welcome, this can only be a healthy sign.

Canada set for further growth in 2024

Local news around Canada can cover many topics but the economy is arguably one of the most popular. A projected GDP growth figure of around 1% for Canada’s economy shows that the financial state of the country is heading in the right direction. An improved financial outlook heading into the latter half of 2024/2025 would make for even better reading, and the national economy should become even stronger.

Continue Reading


The Legal Landscape of Online Gambling in Canada

Online gambling has grown in popularity around the globe in recent years. While many jurisdictions have legalized land-based gambling, it hasn’t applied to online platforms. Nonetheless, Canada is one nation that has legalized online gambling with their provinces’ licensing and regulating sites.

Nonetheless, Canadians of legal age can enjoy playing their favourite online games where available. So many games like slots, blackjack, and roulette still maintain their popularity even in the digital sense.  Want to learn about what’s legal in Canada for online gambling? Let’s take a look.

What is legal for online gambling in Canada?

What is the best online casino in Canada? The list we provide you here should be a good start. It’s also important to note that most Canadian provinces do not have laws that prohibit offshore online casinos.

Many provinces provide licensing to online casinos. They even regulate them as well. For example, Alberta and British Columbia have sites regulated by their respective governing bodies. The Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC) allows legal online gambling and oversees the services it offers to Maritime provinces such as New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

However, there are some caveats to address. In Newfoundland and Labrador, online gambling that is not offered by the ALC is considered illegal. Therefore, it is the only Canadian province as of 2024 that prohibits offshore options.

In terms of the legal age, there are three provinces where the legal age is 18: Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec. The remaining provinces establish 19 as the legal age for gambling including online.

Who are the regulatory bodies for gambling in Canada?

At the Federal level, the Canadian Gaming Association is the regulatory body for gambling in Canada. Thus, they cover both land-based and online gambling in the country. There are also provincial and regional regulatory bodies such as the Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC) – which covers the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador.  

The Western Canada Lottery Corporation covers Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and the Yukon Territory. A handful of provinces also have their regulatory bodies covering lottery and gaming.

Canada requires online casinos that wish to accept players from the country to adhere to regulations and licensing. These licenses are provided by provincial regulatory bodies. When licensed, online casinos must follow the regulations and security standards.

However, there is the belief that many of the laws about gambling in Canada may be outdated. This could be because these laws were created long before the advent of the Internet. Therefore, such laws may need to be modernized. Nonetheless, online gambling for the most part is legal, just dependent on the province.

Are there any legal grey areas to discuss?

The grey area that is considered a concern pertains to the use of offshore sites. As mentioned earlier, Newfoundland and Labrador is believed to be the only province that prohibits it. Even online casinos with no licensing by Canadian or provincial authorities accept residents of the country.

On the players’ end, many Canadians are allowed to play at online casinos. However, they may be restricted from certain platforms. This is to ensure that the players themselves are protected from unknowingly playing on platforms that may be illegal. 

What are the other laws and regulations about online gambling in Canada?

Online casinos have implemented measures for responsible gambling. This includes providing support and resources to problem gamblers on their site. They are also restricted regarding the marketing and advertising aspects of promoting their platform. 

One restriction of note is that marketing that is targeted at minors is prohibited. Another prohibits professional athletes from appearing in online casino ads in Ontario.

Even offshore casinos must adhere to these laws and regulations. Especially if they have obtained a license from the provincial bodies that allow them to operate.

Canada’s online gambling is legal – but will things change

As it stands right now, the legality of online gambling in Canada seems to fall under the purview of provincial laws and regulations. Canadian citizens must perform their due diligence further to see which online casinos are allowed by their respective provinces. Just because it may be legal in one province, it may not be the same in others.

Nonetheless, the question is: will any laws relax certain restrictions? Will Newfoundland and Labrador change their tune regarding offshore casinos? It’s unclear what the future holds – but watch this space for any changes about online gambling in Canada.  

Continue Reading



Wiseman, Nathan Elliot
1944 – 2023
Nathan, our beloved husband, Dad, and Zaida, died unexpectedly on December 13, 2023. Nathan was born on December 16, 1944, in Winnipeg, MB, the eldest of Sam and Cissie Wiseman’s three children.
He is survived by his loving wife Eva; children Sam (Natalie) and Marni (Shane); grandchildren Jacob, Jonah, Molly, Isabel, Nicole, and Poppy; brother David (Sherrill); sister Barbara (Ron); sister-in-law Agi (Sam) and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Nathan grew up in the north end of Winnipeg surrounded by his loving family. He received his MD from the University of Manitoba in 1968, subsequently completed his General Surgery residency at the University of Manitoba and went on to complete a fellowship in Paediatric Surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital of Harvard University. His surgeon teachers and mentors were world renowned experts in the specialty, and even included a Nobel prize winner.
His practice of Paediatric Surgery at Children’s Hospital of Winnipeg spanned almost half a century. He loved his profession and helping patients, even decades later often recounting details about the many kiddies on whom he had operated. Patients and their family members would commonly approach him on the street and say, “Remember me Dr. Wiseman?”. And he did! His true joy was caring for his patients with compassion, patience, unwavering commitment, and excellence. He was a gifted surgeon and leaves a profound legacy. He had no intention of ever fully retiring and operated until his very last day. He felt privileged to have the opportunity to mentor, support and work with colleagues, trainees, nurses, and others health care workers that enriched his day-to-day life and brought him much happiness and fulfillment. He was recognized with many awards and honors throughout his career including serving as Chief of Surgery of Children’s Hospital of Winnipeg, President of the Canadian Association of Pediatric Surgeons, and as a Governor of the American College of Surgeons. Most importantly of all he helped and saved the lives of thousands and thousands of Manitoba children. His impact on the generations of children he cared for, and their families, is truly immeasurable.
Nathan’s passion for golf was ignited during his childhood summers spent at the Winnipeg Beach Golf Course. Southwood Golf and Country Club has been his second home since 1980. His game was excellent and even in his last year he shot under his age twice! He played an honest “play as it lies” game. His golf buddies were true friends and provided him much happiness both on and off the course for over forty years. However, his passion for golf extended well beyond the eighteenth hole. He immersed himself in all aspects of the golf including collecting golf books, antiques, and memorabilia. He was a true scholar of the game, reading golf literature, writing golf poetry, and even rebuilding and repairing antique golf clubs. Unquestionably, his knowledge and passion for the game was limitless.
Nathan approached his many woodworking and workshop projects with zeal and creativity, and he always had many on the go. During the winter he was an avid curler, and in recent years he also enjoyed the study of Yiddish. Nathan never wasted any time and lived his life to the fullest.
Above all, Nathan was a loving husband, father, grandfather, son, father-in-law, son-in-law, uncle, brother, brother-in-law, cousin, and granduncle. He loved his family and lived for them, and this love was reciprocated. He met his wife Eva when he was a 20-year-old medical student, and she was 18 years old. They were happily married for 56 years. They loved each other deeply and limitlessly and were proud of each other’s accomplishments. He loved the life and the family they created together. Nathan was truly the family patriarch, an inspiration and a mentor to his children, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, and many others. He shared his passion for surgery and collecting with his son and was very proud to join his daughter’s medical practice (he loved Thursdays). His six grandchildren were his pride and joy and the centre of his world.
Throughout his life Nathan lived up to the credo “May his memory be a blessing.” His life was a blessing for the countless newborns, infants, toddlers, children, and teenagers who he cared for, for his colleagues, for his friends and especially for his family. We love him so much and there are no words to describe how much he will be missed.
A graveside funeral was held at the Shaarey Zedek cemetery on December 15, 2023. Pallbearers were his loving grandchildren. The family would like to extend their gratitude to Rabbi Yosef Benarroch of Adas Yeshurun Herzlia Congregation.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba, in the name of Dr. Nathan Wiseman.

Continue Reading

Copyright © 2017 - 2023 Jewish Post & News