Anti-Semite gets called out at Occupy Wall St.

Dueling signs at Zuccotti Park

Topics: Occupy Wall Street, Anti-Semitism,

Anti-Semite gets called out at Occupy Wall St. (Credit: Justin Elliott/Salon)

(UPDATED BELOW)

What do you do when a disturbed man shows up at your protest with a giant sign that reads “Google: Zionists control Wall St.” and plants himself at the front of the group for passersby to see?

That’s what happened at Liberty Square in lower Manhattan today. Occupy Wall Street being an entirely open and public protest, no one has the authority to tell the guy with the anti-Semitic sign to leave.

So Stan Rogouski, a protester from New Jersey, decided to make his own sign — “Asshole —>” — and stand as a human rebuke next to the “Zionists” sign guy.

“This absolutely does not represent anyone here,” Rogouski, who is unemployed and has been at the protest from early on, told me. “If I don’t do this then the press is going to seize on [the anti-Semitic sign].”

Indeed, there were passersby and media crowded around the sign, whose holder identified himself to me as David Smith from upstate.

Occupy Wall Street has been accused of being anti-Semitic by conservative blogs, and David Brooks suggested as much in his column this week, in a swipe at the magazine Adbusters, which originally called for the protests. So Rogouski’s concerns seem well-founded.

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Smith, for his part, said, “God told me to make the sign. … This is divine inspiration. I feel that God, the son and the holy spirit want me out here to call out this group.”

UPDATE: Rogouski sends along more pictures of other protesters confronting Smith.

Justin Elliott is a reporter for ProPublica. You can follow him on Twitter @ElliottJustin

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