Florida Jewish Lawyers Fired For Calling Palestinians 'Swine,' 'Cockroaches'

Bruce Raticoff and Gary Sheres Posted Remarks to Facebook

Firm Stand: Broward County public defender Howard Finkelstein acted to fire two Jewish lawyers after they made inflammatory comments about Palestinians.
Firm Stand: Broward County public defender Howard Finkelstein acted to fire two Jewish lawyers after they made inflammatory comments about Palestinians.

By Reuters

Published July 08, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Two Jewish South Florida public defenders were fired Tuesday after making inflammatory remarks on social media about Palestinians allegedly celebrating the abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers in June.

In one Facebook post attorney Gary Sheres wrote: “they are the filthy swine they don’t eat,” referring to the Muslim custom of not eating pork.

“That’s why the Palestinian people are considered the cockroaches of the world,” lawyer Bruce Raticoff wrote. “Burn them to the ground.”

The public defender’s office first became aware of the comments following an inquiry from the South Florida Sun Sentinel newspaper on July 2 and was soon bombarded with criticism from equal rights groups and individuals.

“If you look at the language that preceded the Holocaust it’s the same language,” Broward County Public Defender Howard Finkelstein said on Tuesday. “It’s the type of language that relegates a whole group of people to being subhuman.”

It wasn’t the first time Raticoff was disciplined for making comments about Muslims and people of Middle Eastern ancestry, according to Catherine Keuthan, a spokeswoman for the Broward County Public Defenders Office.

Neither Raticoff nor Sheres could be reached for comment.

Israeli-Palestinian tensions have risen sharply since three Israeli teens were kidnapped on June 12 and later found dead in the occupied West Bank.

A 15-year-old Florida boy, Tariq Khdeir, was caught up in the violence after he was arrested by Israeli police and allegedly beaten while in detention.

His cousin, Mohammed Abu Khudair, 16, was abducted and killed in Jerusalem last week, sparking violent protests and calls from Palestinians for a new uprising against Israel.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.