POTOMAC, Md. (WNEW) — Police are investigating a possible hate crime after a man threatened a Potomac restaurant owner’s life for hanging an Israeli flag outside his Montgomery County business.

Benny Fischer says he hung an Israeli flag, along with an American flag, outside Benny’s Bar & Grill earlier this week to show his support for Israel during the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

The first night the flags were up, Fischer says he received an anonymous phone call around 3 a.m. while sleeping. The caller threatened Fischer’s life if he did not immediately remove the Israeli flag and also made numerous other anti-Semitic comments to Fischer.

The caller, who muffled his voice and used a blocked number, called a second time moments later continuing his anti-Semitic rant.

Fischer, who says he is no stranger to anti-Semitism, told the caller that he was nothing more than a coward by calling in the middle of the night and hiding behind an unlisted phone number.

Police say they are investigating Fischer’s phone records in an effort to track down the caller. They are also investigating the calls as a possible hate crime, but declined to go into further detail.

Fischer, a long time resident of Potomac, says he is undaunted by the harassment and is moving forward with a fundraising event next month at his restaurant to raise money for Magen David Adom, an Israeli organization similar to the American Red Cross.

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WNEW’s Chuck Carroll contributed to this report. Follow Chuck and WNEW on Twitter.


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