‘Unacceptable and all too common’: Dems issue condemnation of antisemitism in Michigan

Statement comes after ‘heavily armed’ man is charged with threatening to kill Jewish elected officials, including Nessel

By: - March 7, 2023 11:06 am

Photo by Michael Thomas/Getty Images

Updated 8:34 a.m., 3/8/2023

Following federal authorities’ announcement last week that a Michigan man was charged with threatening to kill Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and other Jewish elected officials across the state, the Michigan Democratic Party and the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus on Monday issued a formal condemnation amid what they called the growing threat of antisemitism. 

“The threats directed at Attorney General Nessel and all Jewish elected officials are unacceptable and all too common,” said Marla Linderman Richelew, the Interim Chair of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus. “There are places in Michigan where every week, people scream antisemitic hatred at us as we take our children to worship, preschoolers were recently subjected to racist threats at a synagogue, graffiti is found in public places, and neighborhoods are being blanketed with antisemitic propaganda. And yet, in a time where there is an increased dedication to diversity, equity and inclusion, Jews are being excluded from DEI conversations and efforts. Jews are being minimized and marginalized.” 

Nessel revealed last Thursday that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) confirmed she was one of several elected Jewish officials being targeted by “a heavily armed defendant.” Jack Eugene Carpenter III, 41, of Tipton, Michigan, has  been charged with using Twitter to threaten to kill Jewish government officials in Michigan, the U.S. Attorney Dawn N. Ison said.


The FBI said Carpenter, while visiting Texas, used his Twitter page to make multiple threatening posts.

“I’m heading back to Michigan now threatening to carry out the punishment of death to anyone that is jewish in the Michigan govt if they don’t leave, or confess,” he tweeted.

Another tweet read, in part;  “I’ll be coming back to Michigan, still driving with expired plates. You may want to let everyone know, and Wayne County sheriff as well, any attempt to subdue me will be met with deadly force in self-defense.”

When Carpenter was arrested by federal agents in Texas, police say they found approximately a half dozen firearms and ammunition in his possession. He was charged with a single count of transmitting an interstate threat, which carries a maximum five-year prison sentence.

Carpenter remains lodged at the Livingston County Jail after agreeing at a hearing last Friday in Detroit to be held without bond pending a trial.

Many of the conspiracies Carpenter invoked in his online rants are identical to those that Jewish groups and others have been warning of for some time. 

In Monday’s joint statement, Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes said the increase in antisemitic hatred must be forcefully confronted.

“We stand together in condemning antisemitism, just as we condemn other types of racism, homophobia and bigotry of any kind,” she said. “The MDP is committed to ensuring that Jews are included in all of our efforts to foster diversity and inclusivity in our organization and Michigan.”

Richelew noted how the Jewish community across Michigan has proudly stood on the side of civil rights and equality for all, adding that the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus was calling on everyone in Michigan to join in standing up to hate wherever it was found.

Rep. Noah Arbit speaks to reporters following Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s fifth State of the State address on Jan. 25, 2023. (Andrew Roth/Michigan Advance)

“We thank the Michigan Democratic Party for standing by our side in this important time and call on our public officials and community leaders throughout Michigan to condemn this rampant hate with words and action,” she said. “And we call on them to ensure that Jews are included in all efforts to increase diversity, equity and inclusivity in all aspects of our lives.”

The founder of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus, state Rep. Noah Arbit (D-West Bloomfield), issued a press release following news of Carpenter’s arrest, also noting it was consistent with the “unabated” rise in antisemitism, white nationalism, and hate crimes targeting Jews across the country.

“Far too many Jewish elected officials throughout history did not have the privilege I had to run for office unburdened by attempts to hide or downplay my Jewishness for fear of losing votes due to prejudice,” Arbit said. “I ran openly, proudly, Jewishly buttressed by the values my faith and heritage have inculcated in me. Today, I serve in the Michigan Legislature as just one of three Jewish legislators, representing the most heavily Jewish house district in Michigan and I do so openly, proudly, Jewishly.”


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Jon King
Jon King

Jon King has been a journalist for more than 35 years. He is the Past President of the Michigan Associated Press Media Editors Association and has been recognized for excellence numerous times, most recently in 2021 with the Best Investigative Story by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Cleary University. Jon and his family live in Howell, where he also serves on the Board of Directors for the Livingston Diversity Council.