Early in the morning of November 17, 2016, Oberlin (OH) police were called the the home of Oberlin College professor Benjamin Kuperman, after someone damaged some items on his porch and left an antisemitic note behind a Mezuzah on his porch.

The incident ignited a lot of national attention. Yet there was something very peculiar about the circumstances, as I discussed in a prior post, The very curious antisemitic attack on an Oberlin College professor:

The manner in which this hate crime was carried out is very unusual.

First, the perpetrator must have known the Kupermans or at least known about them, in some general way if not personally. How or why else to target them specifically? This was not directed at a public space, such as a Synagogue or cemetery, where the text would be seen by many people.

Second, this was not a spontaneous drive-by attack. Someone had to prepare the note carefully, cutting out letters to paste. Had there been something spray-painted or written in marker, it would be more usual.

Third, who uses a torn piece of paper for such a note? That in itself is odd.

Fourth, if the note were so small that it could tuck behind a mezuzah, the perp might have known of the existence of the mezuzah beforehand. How else to be sure there would be a place to put the note (many are flush with the doorway on which mounted, leaving no space)? It’s possible a larger piece of paper was torn on the spot because there was no place to put a larger paper, but why then put the lettering beforehand on just one part of the paper?

So all of this points, in the absence of other evidence, to a premeditated and planned attack by someone familiar specifically with the Kupermans, and their front porch.

I also noted how the incident was being used politically:

The immediate finger pointing has gone in two directions. I’ve seen many Facebook postings suggesting this is part of an (alleged) wave of hate crimes caused by Trump’s election. That is a convenient, but dubious, political narrative unless there is some connected explanation as to why the Kupermans would be targeted as opposed to some more public space or more high profile political person on campus.

I’ve also seen the claim that this likely was done by a supporter of recently fired professor Joy Karega, who posted antisemitic conspiracy theories on Facebook and was a BDS supporter. Certainly, Oberlin has a very sordid recent history of antisemitic agitation — usually under the banner of the BDS movement — something which earlier this year caused over 200 alumni to send a letter to Oberlin’s president. But why would a Karega supporter target Kuperman? He was not on either of the committees that recommended discipline.

No one seems to be considering a third option — that this was a hoax by a student or activist wanting to create a narrative of antisemitism, for whatever the political purpose (anti-Trumpism, anti-Koregaism, etc.).

Oberlin has a history of such trolling of the campus.

Since the initial burst of publicity, there has been almost no media coverage of the investigation.

I have been in contact with the Oberlin Police Department to check on the status of the investigation.

According to Public Affairs Officer Lt. Mike McCloskey, the note had been removed from the door post by the time officers arrived, and was handled both by the homeowner and the police. There currently are no suspects or even leads. The neighborhood has been canvassed by investigators, and there were no eyewitnesses. When I asked specifically whether this was being investigated as a hoax in light of an infamous 2013 racism hoax at Oberlin College, McCloskey indicated that investigators are considering all possibilities including a prank, but there currently is no evidence to suggest any particular motivation.

McCloskey provided an image of the note [see featured image, text added]. McCloskey indicated in an email today:

No usable fingerprints were found on the note. No other information is available at this time. Because the matter the matter is still under investigation, no investigative supplements or witness statements can be released at this time. The initial report is the only thing public at this time and is available online. (report 1600636)

[The substance of the police report was quoted in our prior post.]

It appears, at least at this time, that this will be an unsolved incident, unless of course, the image of the note sparks a memory in a member of the public.