Islam

Two Florida Public Defenders Fired For Anti-Palestinian Facebook Posts

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

Two Florida assistant public defenders were fired Tuesday for calling Palestinians “filthy swine” who should be burned “to the ground” on Facebook.

Broward County’s Bruce Raticoff and Gary Sheres made remarks about a photo showing Palestinians allegedly celebrating the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens. The attack has been attributed to the Islamic militant group Hamas.

"They are the filthy swine they don't eat,” Sheres wrote. “Their ignorance to the world bewilders the dumbest people I have ever met.”

"That's why the Palestinian people are considered the cockroaches of the world,” Raticoff wrote. “Reprehensible and despicable with utter disregard for civility and humanity. Burn them to the ground."

Sheres 'liked' that comment.

Offended users asked if Raticoff would say such a thing to his Palestinian co-worker, Assistant Public Defender Lubna Abualown.

Both attorneys were given until the end of the week to clear out their desks.

“You can’t engage in hate-filled speech that interferes with the mission of this office,” Public Defender Howard Finkelstein told NBC Miami. “It sickens me. I didn’t agonize over this because we represent equal justice.”

Sheres later said that his remarks were only directed at Palestinians who would celebrate murdering innocent children.

"Mr. Finkelstein wrongfully terminated Gary,” Sheres' attorney Jason Blank said. “We will address the matter in an appropriate forum."

Raticoff, who worked as a public defender for 15 years, says he did not even write the post. He says someone used his account to post the comments. His attorney Richard Rosenbaum, showed Finkelstein a sworn affidavit from the mother of the person who used his Facebook account.

"My boss turned around and decided I'm a liar," Raticoff said.

Finkelstein told the Sun Sentinel that Raticoff has a history of making “racist” jokes around the office.

Raticoff says he now plans to go into private practice.

"I said, 'At least I won't be the public defender who wiped his ass with the First Amendment to the Constitution on Independence Day,'" Raticoff told the Sun Sentinel. "Men and women have died in various wars throughout the history of this country defending free speech. He spit on the graves of those men and women."

Sources: NBC Miami, Sun Sentinel