Jewish State Senator Receives Hate-Filled, Anti-Semitic Message

Originally published in Patch on June 22, 2021.

A Jewish state senator says someone sent her hate mail that contained anti-Semitic language and profanity.

GREAT NECK, NY — New York Sen. Anna Kaplan — the first political refugee and Iranian-American elected to the State Legislature — received hate mail that contained anti-Semitic language and profanity, her office said Tuesday.

The offensive message was written on a piece of literature distributed by the senator to Nassau County residents about the COVID-19 vaccine. Her office says the message responds to the information on the mailer "by repeating widely-debunked misinformation about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines."

The message reads, in part: "Not according to VARES — over 5,500 dead — you stupid, dumb, evil c---!!"

The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System — otherwise known as VAERS — is a national database that includes reports of adverse health events that occurred after vaccination. It's co-managed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Reports of death after COVID-19 vaccination are rare, according to the CDC. From Dec. 14, 2020, to June 14, 2021, more than 310 million doses were administered in the U.S. In that time frame, VAERS received 5,342 reports of death following vaccination. The FDA requires healthcare providers to report any deaths after inoculation to VAERS, even it's unclear whether the vaccine was the cause.

The handwritten message goes on to call the Democratic senator an offensive and misogynistic slur — and then signs off with "109 soon 110."

The number 109 is white supremacist shorthand for an anti-Semitic claim that the Jewish people have been expelled from 109 countries, according to the Anti-Defamation League. White supremacists frequently include the number 110 to say that the United States or some other specific location will be the next place to expel Jews, the agency added.

"This incident is a sad reminder that Nassau County is not immune to hatred and white supremacy, and it's our responsibility as a community to forcefully reject this evil whenever it reveals itself among us," Kaplan, who is Jewish, said. "As a former religious refugee who fled anti-Semitism in my birth country, I have seen first-hand how anti-Semitism begins to permeate a society and ultimately lead to violence against Jewish people. That experience has taught me the importance of sounding the alarm against hate at every opportunity, and I hope this incident can be a teaching moment for all of us to remember that we can never stay silent in the face of hate."

The incident has been reported to Nassau County police. Patch has reached out to the police department for comment.