Consul General of Israel to Eastern Canada ‘Shocked and Saddened’ by Halifax Entrepreneur’s Antisemitic Comments
The new Consul General of Israel to Eastern Canada on Thursday responded to a slew of antisemitic comments posted on Twitter a day earlier by a Halifax hot dog vendor.
“I’m shocked and saddened to see that there are people who still think that way,” Zev Nevo Kulman said in an interview with Global News. “It’s terrible and you know, if this is the way this guy wants to promote his hot dog stand, I’m lucky to be vegetarian.”
The controversial Twitter messages were posted online on Wednesday by Jerry Reddick, well-known among Dalhousie University students for serving up hot dogs, according to CTV News Atlantic. The hot dog vendor, also known by his Twitter handle @Dawgfather PHD, made a number of antisemitic remarks referring to Hitler, gas chambers and ovens. He also tried to make comedic remarks about Americans who died in the 9/11 attacks.
“Give a Jew an ‘OVEN’ as a gift if you want to make them feel all warm all over,” he wrote on Twitter. He also said, “They say the best cooked Jews can be found in Poland and Germany where the ovens are made from the best clay.#Freedomofspeech?”
Reddick called Jews the “greatest slave traders in history” and said, “How does freedom of expression look when it’s not about Prophet Muhammad, s.a.w. Lets send ovens to all the Jews.#Hitler.” The street vendor continued with multiple antisemitic remarks against Jews, filling his Twitter feed on Thursday with jokes calling Jews “toast” because they “cooked” in Hitler’s ovens. He also mentioned the 9/11 attacks in some of his Twitter posts and joked, “What do you call people in the towers of 9/11? Dead because their flight came in.”
“Last time I saw some good Americans, they were taking flight 9/11 to the ground in 2001,” he also wrote. He then recommended various cartoons about Hitler taking Jews to gas chambers and Americans “trying to catch a flight” from the World Trade Center.
Reddick made the comments on the same day as a new photography exhibit launched in Halifax to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp. Kulman, whose parents were Holocaust survivors, invited Reddick to visit the exhibition. The Consul General told CTV News Atlantic, “maybe he’ll think differently after he sees the facts.”
The Halifax street vendor claimed his tweets were meant to be satirical and that he was simply trying to make a point about freedom of speech.
“They can say anything they want about the Prophet Muhammad, but we can’t say anything?” Reddick said. “I mean, don’t take it serious, because it’s not serious. It’s satire man. It’s satire. Why are you taking it so serious?”
“How can we not understand that I was invoking conversation to prove we can’t have a standard for one people and one for everyone else,” he wrote Thursday on Twitter. “What is hate speech? If I put a bomb on the head of a man who is the leader of 1.4b people am I not calling Him a terrorist by doing so?”
Halifax Regional Police are investigating the tweets as a possible hate crime after receiving complaints from members of the public, CTV News Atlantic reported. Staff Sgt. Donald Mosher said on Wednesday the investigation concerns social media comments “we believe may be [of] an antisemitic nature.”
Reddick turned himself in at police headquarters when he learned police were looking for him. He said he is not concerned about offending anyone or being charged.
“Not at all, because there was something like 40 million Africans died in the slave trade, you know, in the passage in the slave trade. At what point do you draw the line at freedom of expression?” he said. “I’m not at all concerned I’m going to be charged because I have freedom of expression, freedom of speech. I’m not threatening nobody.”