Chinese and Jewish Groups Condemn COVID-Related Anti-Semitism, Anti-Asian Racism

The Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA) Pittsburgh Chapter and the Community Relations Council (CRC) of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh condemn all forms of anti-Semitism and anti-Asian racism that blames Jewish and/or Asian people for the spread of COVID-19 in our region.

“Going back as early as mid-January, well before coronavirus spread throughout the United States in large numbers, Asians and Asian Americans — our families and our businesses in Pittsburgh and beyond — have seen a significant increase in hate directed toward our community,” said Marian Lien, president of OCA Pittsburgh.

“Asian restaurant workers are being harassed after finishing up their shifts. White supremacists have shouted ‘white power’ at us, and still others tell us we don’t belong. In the last several days, a Pittsburgh city sign in Squirrel Hill was vandalized by a bigot who placed a homemade ‘Nuke China’ sticker on the pole. Many in our community are terrified and intimidated, and we have done nothing to deserve such hatred.”

Marian Lien, president of OCA Pittsburgh

Additionally, the Jewish community has been targeted by anti-Semites, particularly white supremacists who blame Jewish people for coronavirus. These supremacists claim that the virus was created by Jews in order to profit from it and/or to benefit from population control. The FBI has investigated reports of white supremacists seeking to weaponize the virus by spreading it to Jewish institutions, although the FBI has found no evidence of physical attempts to do so in the Pittsburgh area.

“In Southwestern PA white supremacists are ‘Zoom bombing’ virtual meetings at various Jewish institutions,” said Bob Silverman, chair of the CRC. Zoom bombing is a newly coined term for when unwelcome guests hack into online meetings and display hate-group symbols, pornography or other extreme images, in an effort to disrupt and intimidate. “What’s more, hackers have attempted cyberattacks on a number of our organizations, either for financial gain or with the intent to cause harm to our community.”

The Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and the Organization of Chinese Americans Pittsburgh Chapter, representing the two largest minority communities in Squirrel Hill, stand in solidarity with each other against the unfounded hate directed toward both communities in the wake of the pandemic. We recognize the profound impact that COVID-19 has had on all marginalized communities and that Pittsburgh is at its best when it is a welcoming place for all. We encourage all Pittsburghers, no matter their race or religion, to persevere and stay safe as we traverse these trying times together.

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