Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
News

Synagogue vandal in Racine, Wis. called it ‘Operation Kristallnacht’

The trial of a young man accused of vandalizing a synagogue has revealed the thought process behind a neo-Nazi group’s decision last fall to accelerate its activities.

Yousef Omar Barasneh, 22, a member of the group known as the Base, pleaded guilty last month to spray-painting anti-Semitic messages and swastikas on the walls of the Beth Israel Sinai Congregation in Racine, Wis. last September. He’s now awaiting sentencing.

The documents describe the Base as “a neo-Nazi group that aims to unify militant white supremacists around the globe and provide them with paramilitary training in preparation for a ‘race war.’”

The vandalism of Beth Israel Sinai was carried out after members of the group made a pact to ramp up their activities that week.

“A purpose of the agreement was to show the strength and cohesion of The Base, as well as to terrorize Jewish citizens so they would fear for their physical safety and refrain from freely exercising their rights to use and hold property in the same manner as non-Jewish white citizens,” the document said.

They called it “Operation Kristallnacht,” a reference to the 1938 German pogrom which ushered the start of the Holocaust.

“Imagine if across the country on local news, everyone is reporting on new Nazi presence,” Barasneh wrote in the group’s chat. “Our op will be a perfect fuck you to these kikes if we become terrorists.”

For his actions and involvement in the group Barasneh could face a maximum of ten years in prison and a fine of $250,000, he is set to be sentenced in November.

Despite his hostility to non-white groups, Barasneh is himself the son of Jordanian immigrants, Ynet reported.

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.