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UF, UGA and Jacksonville leaders denounce antisemitic comments projected on stadium wall

University of Florida Twitter
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The University of Florida and Jacksonville leaders are among those condemning an incident of hate speech toward Jewish people outside the Florida-Georgia football game on Saturday night.

At some point during the football game in Jacksonville on Saturday night, the phrase “Kanye is right about the jews” was projected on the outside of one of the end zones at the TIAA Bank Field stadium in Jacksonville.

That message also was projected on a building elsewhere in Jacksonville Saturday night, and people holding antisemitic banners were seen earlier in the day at an overpass of Interstate 10.

It was a reference to recent antisemitic comments that the music mogul Ye has made on social media and in interviews — comments that have led to him losing partnerships with Adidas and several other companies.

The University of Florida and University of Georgia issued a joint statement Sunday morning condemning the hate speech on the stadium and “the other anti-Semitic messages that have appeared in Jacksonville.”

Jacksonville has been the longtime home of the annual football rivalry game, where more than 75,000 fans were expected to come to the city to attend Saturday's game.

The schools also said they “together denounce these and all acts of anti-Semitism and other forms of hatred and intolerance. We are proud to be home to strong and thriving Jewish communities at UGA and UF, and we stand together against hate.”

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said on social media his northeast Florida city is “made better because of its diversity. Those who spread messages of hate, racism and antisemitism will not be able to change the heart of this city or her people. I condemn these cowards and their cowardly messages.”

And Shad Khan, the owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, who play in the TIAA Bank Field stadium, said on social media that he was “personally dismayed” by the rhetoric, calling it, “hurtful and wrong.”

“It has to stop. I'm asking everyone to make it their mission to end the ignorance and hate,” Khan said. “Let's be better.”

Charlie Crist, the Democratic candidate for governor, issued on Sunday an open letter denouncing antisemitism and hate speech. Gov. Ron DeSantis, who did the coin toss at the Florida-Georgia game, had not made any comment about the messages as of late Sunday afternoon.

Last year, the Anti-Defamation League recorded 2,717 incidents of harassment, vandalism or violence targeting Jews — the highest annual total since it began tracking these incidents in 1979.

The recent antisemitic incidents come four years after the deadliest attack on American Jews, when 11 people were killed at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, and just days before the contentious midterm elections throughout the U.S.

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