Around New England

Israel Flag Proposal Draws Anti-Semitic Slur, Online Swastika, and Nazi Salute In Winthrop, Town Officials Say

December 6, 2023

A proposal to fly the flag of the State of Israel in the town of Winthrop drew an online commenter who “shouted an antisemitic slur, displayed a swastika on their screen, and appeared to give a nazi salute during a discussion regarding the town’s flag flying policy,” town officials said.

“During a civic discussion on the flying of flags on town property, an individual seized the meeting to use it as a platform for hate speech and to display symbols of hate, intimidation and nazism,” said James Letterie, president of the town council, according to State House News Service. “We condemn this act and all acts of hatred in or around our community, and we will always call out and condemn hatred in all its forms. There is no place for it here in Winthrop.”

Winthrop police issued a statement saying they are investigating the incident as a hate crime.

The discussion took place during a meeting of the Winthrop Town Council on Tuesday, December 5.

Several members of the public commented on the flag proposal. Most who spoke said they oppose flying the Israel flag, saying that the town government should fly only the American flag, and not the flag of another country.

Winthrop Community Access Television, which broadcasted the town council meeting and has posted a video of it on YouTube, said it omitted a section of the video “Due to hateful, racist comments and images made by an individual during the original broadcast of this meeting …”

Winthrop is a coastal town of about 18,000 that borders Boston, to the northeast of the city.


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