Florida public defenders dismissed for disparaging Palestinians on Facebook

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — Two public defenders in Florida were fired after posting denigrating comments about Palestinians on Facebook.

Bruce Raticoff and Gary Sheres lost their jobs as Broward County assistant public defenders over the posts of  July 2, according to Broward County public defender Howard Finkelstein.

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The firings came after the Sun Sentinel newspaper published an article containing the remarks, according to the newspaper.

The remarks were made on the men’s personal Facebook pages.

“They are the filthy swine they don’t eat,” Sheres posted, according to the Sun Sentinel. “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 responded, according to the newspaper. “Reprehensible and despicable with utter disregard for civility and humanity. Burn them to the ground.”

Sheres “liked” Raticoff’s post.

The men were responding to another Facebook post linked to an article about Palestinians allegedly celebrating the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens whose bodies were discovered June 30 after an 18-day search.

The men had a Palestinian co-worker; she reportedly was upset by the postings.

Raticoff told the newspaper that he had not posted on his account, and that someone had accessed the account and posted under his name. Finkelstein did not believe him, however, and told the newspaper that Raticoff had emailed a racist joke involving “extreme Muslims” in 2005.