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Ohio governor pans ‘vile, disgusting’ anti-Semitic sign at anti-lockdown rally

Mike DeWine says placard depicting Jew as a rat with words ‘The real plague’ was deeply concerning; also criticizes state senator who compared closure measures to Nazi actions

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine gives an update at MetroHealth Medical Center on the state's preparedness and education efforts to limit the potential spread of coronavirus, Feb. 27, 2020, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine gives an update at MetroHealth Medical Center on the state's preparedness and education efforts to limit the potential spread of coronavirus, Feb. 27, 2020, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Ohio’s governor on Thursday condemned the appearance of an anti-Semitic poster during an anti-lockdown protest rally in Columbus this week as “vile and disgusting.”

Mike DeWine also condemned a state senator who compared state efforts to combat coronavirus to actions taken by Nazi Germany.

State Senator Andrew Brenner’s comments “showed a complete lack of understanding of the Holocaust” and were “made even more offensive by posting on Holocaust Memorial Day,” DeWine said.

On the subject of the placard, DeWine said he was “deeply concerned by the anti-Semitic sign at Ohio’s Statehouse during a recent protest rally. The sign was vile and disgusting. While even disgusting speech is constitutionally protected, it still demands condemnation.”

The sign bore the image of the body of a rat standing on its hind legs with a star of David on its back, with the head of a Jewish man with a long pointed nose, rubbing his hands together. The sign reads, “The Real Plague.”

A photo of the sign being held out of the window of a minivan driving near the downtown Columbus protest, taken by Cleveland.com reporter Laura Hancock, was retweeted hundreds of time.

A second photo tweeted by Democratic Ohio State Rep. Casey Weinstein, who is Jewish, showed two men holding the sign outside of their vehicle.

“There are symbols of hatred mixed in,” he told Cleveland.com. “I think it’s important to call that out. I’m not going to let that pass. I’m not. There are people out there exercising their rights. By no means am I saying they’re all anti-Semitic, they’re all racists, but there is an element there.”

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