Portland-based journalist arrested in connection with synagogue vandalism, as reported by his own publication
A suspect has been arrested in connection with a series of incidents of vandalism at synagogues in Portland, Oregon, including the arson attack and vandalism of Congregation Beth Israel.
Michael Bivins, who is said to have worked as a reporter on political extremism for liberal publications including a local weekly independent newspaper, has been charged with one count of arson and three counts of criminal mischief.
The charges relate to one incident in which a rock was thrown through a window at Congregation Shir Tikvah on 30th April and a fire and graffiti at Congregation Beth Israel on May 2nd and 4th, in which the words “Die Juden” (either “the Jews” in German, or “die Jews” in a combination of English and German) were found spray-painted on an outside wall.
It has been reported that the source of information about Mr Bivins’s arrest was the Willamette Week, the same weekly independent newspaper where he has published many of his articles about the treatment of Black Lives Matter protesters and counter-protesters and radical left-wing and right-wing groups by police in Portland.
Mr Bivins was arrested after entering a local television station and asking to speak to a reporter there.
Congregation Beth Israel Rabbi Michael Cahana said that these incidents emphasise how important it is for members of the public and the press to report even apparently minor incidents, writing in a letter to synagogue members that “This series of events, which has shaken our community, is an important reminder that even incidents which seem random and unrelated or too minor to bother with should be properly reported. We are all responsible for one another.”
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