The same “Evil Elmo” who became known for anti-Semitic rants in New York’s Central Park and spent time in jail for trying to extort the Girl Scouts, has taken his act to the West Coast, where he is now reportedly protesting near Israeli businesses in San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf district.
Dan Sandler, a panhandler who dresses up as the popular Sesame Street character, had previously said in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle that he just wanted people to leave him alone and let him do his “Elmo stuff,” but reports from locals and police indicate that he has not given up his anti-Semitic tirades.
“As the car pulled out of the station, he started in a loud voice, getting everybody’s attention, saying that he’s boycotting Israeli businesses on Fisherman’s Wharf,” Randy Meyers, 57, who said he rode in the same metro car as Sandler, told the Chronicle.
“He started talking about Fisherman’s Wharf as Jew Town, and the Jews this and the Jews that, in a derogatory, racist fashion,” Meyers added. “I was getting upset. There were kids in the cars, young girls listening.”
However, Sandler clarified that his comments were not anti-Semitic, but anti-Zionist, and he is simply “a Jewish man critical of Israel.”
“I was just saying that people should boycott Israeli and Zionist businesses on the Wharf and Pier 39 because stores connected to Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf are encouraging harassment against me,” he said. “Many of these stores are Israeli-owned.”
“I believe that apartheid in Palestine is wrong and that all businesses that are connected to Israel should be disclosed to the public and boycotted,” he added. “Certain Zionist interests are causing problems for me with the city and directly on the Wharf. I counter it with negative information on Israel.”
Regrettably for local residents, merchants and police alike, there seems to be very little recourse to prevent Sandler’s behaviour…