Orange County High School Students Make Nazi Salute While Posing Near Swastika at Party
Newport Harbor High School in California condemned antisemitism after some of its students were photographed making a Nazi salute while posing before a swastika symbol.
In a series of images that surfaced on Saturday and were allegedly taken at an off-campus party that weekend, students from the Orange County public school appeared to be participating in a drinking game with red plastic cups arranged into the shape of a swastika.
At least one individual reportedly responded to the images after they were first posted on Snapchat by writing, “F*ck Jews. Such pieces of sh*ts.”
The incident has provoked a public backlash, with school officials saying in a statement late Saturday night that they were working with law enforcement and condemning the “inappropriate anti-Semitic symbols, and possible underage drinking.” They encouraged students to wear blue on Monday in a display of solidarity with the Jewish community and against antisemitism and other forms of bigotry.
Arlene Miller, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation & Family Services of Orange County, said in a Sunday email message to community members that the group was “deeply disturbed” by the incident, and especially concerned about the students’ “apparent lack of understanding of, or indifference to, the meaning of these Nazi symbols and the impact of their actions on their Jewish classmates, local Holocaust survivors, and the Jewish community of Orange County.”
The Anti-Defamation League civil rights group was “in communication with the school district to develop a strategy to respond to this issue,” she added, before citing ADL statistics showing a 94 percent increase in antisemitic incidents in schools for grades K-12.
The Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center called for disciplinary action on Monday against the students and increased Holocaust education, describing the incident on Twitter “an insult to the #greatestgeneration who fought, bled and died to defeat everything the #swastika stands for.”
Yet in a statement on Monday, Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley discouraged “vilification of these teens,” urging community members to instead consider why they “might think these types of hateful symbols are acceptable or funny and worthy of selfies.”
“We cherish our city’s Jewish community, as well as people of all backgrounds, religions, ethnicity, genders and more,” she added. “This abhorrent anti-Semitic activity is divisive, unbecoming of our community and leads ultimately to hate and discrimination.”
The incident follows the targeting of Beth Jacob Synagogue in nearby Irvine, which was defaced with the antisemitic message “f*ck Jews” in October — days after eleven Jewish worshipers were gunned down at a Pittsburgh synagogue.